Associates, In-House Counsels & Advocates

Adab Singh Kapoor, Managing Partner, Adab Singh Kapoor & Associates, on starting his own firm, and pursuing a Ph.D

Adab graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune in 2009. During his graduation he also completed the Company Secretary Course and diplomas such as Diploma in International Business Laws and Corporate Laws, Advanced Diploma in Taxation laws, Diploma in Cyber Law, Diploma in Intellectual Property Law. Subsequently, he completed his LLM in Energy Laws from UPES in 2015. Immediately after graduating, he started working with Paras Kuhad and Associates at its Delhi office, followed by a brief stint at DSK Legal at its Delhi office. In December 2011, he set up his law firm, Adab Singh Kapoor and Associates. 

In this interview we speak to him about:

  • His time at Symbiosis
  • Setting up his own firm
  • Pursuing a Ph.D

When did you decide to take up law as your profession? 

I was a science student and was contemplating a career in engineering, as was the sentiment amongst most of my batch mates then in St. Patrick’s School, Asansol, West Bengal. However, after class 12, I did not see myself pursuing further studies in Engineering. It was at that time when I figured that I should pursue a career which resonated with my strengths and interests. I was into public speaking and enjoyed it and felt that I should pursue a career which required public speaking and good communication skills. It was at this point that a career in law started making sense and I decided to pursue it.


Tell us a bit about your time as an undergraduate student at Symbiosis International University.

The five years were the most formative years of my life. Not only were we trained academically but were also given opportunities to take several initiatives. As such it contributed to our all around development and has stood me in good stead. Certain bold and brave decisions taken early in my professional career may have been more difficult to take had it not been for the initiatives which were taken in Symbiosis and which were duly encouraged by the management. Symbhav ‘09 was one of them! Organizing the fest on a magnified scale, that too for the first time, presented its own set of challenges. It was our staunch belief in the cause that made the fest a success and now a legacy! The cardinal lessons that I learnt on entrepreneurship, teamwork as well as marketing played their part when I started my own practice.

I was also fortunate to have stayed at the Symbiosis International Hostel for five years wherein I had the opportunity to interact with several international students and learn about their culture and backgrounds. Also, staying on campus gave me the opportunity to witness several programs held at the Vishwabhavan Auditorium, thereby further enhancing my learning experience.


What are the activities that you took up in law school?

I was fortunate to be involved in several extra curricular and co-curricular activities in Law School. I deeply value the trust reposed in me by Dr. Shashikala Gurpur (Principal), Dr C J Rawandale (Vice Principal) and the faculty of Symbiosis Law School, Pune and for their constant support and guidance. I was the First President of the Student Council in 2009, Convenor of the first edition of Symbhav, 2009, which, was the first cultural-cum-sports fest of Symbiosis Law School, Pune and which is continuing till date. Besides, I was the founding member of the Tech Legal Cell as well as the Sports Committee of the Law School. I also initiated the Make a Difference (MAD) project, under the aegis of the Human Rights Cell, at Law School, which was an initiative to teach under-privileged children.

At Law School, I always focused on maximizing my time by ensuring that I remain productive. With respect to balancing academics and the different co-curricular activities, my approach had always been to direct my energy into doing what I was doing with whole-hearted devotion and dedication. If I was keen to participate in an extra-curricular or a co-curricular activity, then with single-minded focus I worked towards doing it well. A few weeks before the examinations, the focus shifted to studies. Over the years, I have realized the importance of having a schedule and trying to stick to the schedule, whether daily or weekly. That way, one can lead a more balanced and fulfilling life.

What were you areas of interest during your legal education? 

At law school, I was always open to explore different areas of legal practice. That is one of the reasons I pursued courses and diplomas in different areas. I believe that one should have a varied skill-set and therefore ought not specialize too early.

I continue to have interest in varied fields of practice and apart from running a full-service law firm, I am also continuing with my academic pursuits.   


What are the causes you feel strongly about? 

Women empowerment is a cause I am passionate about. I have worked for this cause in association with various NGOs both in India and abroad. Also, I used to offer weekly legal counselling and awareness sessions to the marginalized women on issues of domestic violence. I am also founder of a trust by the name Punyakarta that inter alia addresses the cause of women empowerment.


Could you tell us about the internships you took up, and what you learnt from those experiences?

Internships are an opportunity to observe real-life practitioners in action and gain an insight into competitive and unpredictable world that is not as forgiving as the professors in law-school. My internships were diverse. I would attribute significant elements of my assimilated courtroom craft to the mentorship that I received from Senior Adv. Mr. Arun Jaitley, Senior Adv. Mr. Ashok De and Adv. Mr. Tapan Chatterjee. I also assimilated assorted legal acumen due to my internships at Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners. My internship with Hon’ble Mr. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, was a very enriching experience as well.


From a law student to a lawyer, how will you describe the transition?

My transition from a law student to a lawyer is analogous to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly! In hindsight, I realize that participating in varied set of activities at law-school such as mooting, debating apart from actuating societies such as Tech Legal Cell infused the necessary practical skills, which were required to sustain myself at the time when I was stepping into the profession.

Tell us about your early professional experiences at Paras Kuhad & Associates, Advocates.

My stint with Paras Kuhad & Associates will always remain special, as it was my first job. I was selected through the campus recruitment process during my final year at Law School. I would like to reiterate the fact that no matter how prepared you think you are for the legal profession, and as clichéd as it might sound, reality hits you only when you actually start working. Remarkably, at Paras Kuhad, I was afforded the opportunity to argue even in the Supreme Court, which is uncommon for someone who is new to the practice. Apart from instilling tremendous confidence in me, this further fortified my conviction that I was meant for litigation.

What motivated you to quit your job at Paras Kuhad & Associates, Advocates to take up a position with DSK Legal? 

I had a short stint with DSK Legal where I was given an opportunity to work upon regulatory matters. Working at DSK Legal made me realize the importance of Energy laws as an upcoming field, after which I decided to pursue an LLM in Energy Laws from UPES, Dehradun.


What tips would you give students and young lawyers who are inclined to research and academic writing?

I think that it is imperative for any researcher to develop his own perspective on concurrent and pervasive legal issues as well as the courage to bring into light his own independent thought process through his articles. Essentially, law students should try to find existing gaps in the academic sphere and try to fill those gaps as opposed to rehashing what is already available.


What are the challenges and learning opportunities that you were faced with while starting your independent practice in 2011?

The real challenge for me, after starting my individual practice lied in multi-tasking. There lies a certain level of formidability in delivering quality work while you are balancing the entrepreneurial aspects of the job. However, if you are determined to be a little different from the established firms out there, you tend to thrive in the challenge. Additionally, finding the right people is also a quandary, which vexed me during my initial phase of my independent practice. Having said that I believe that if one keeps a professional approach and is determined to make it somewhere, these hurdles can easily be crossed.

Can you please share with the readers your work profile so far? 

Firm administration, Personnel Management, Business Development, apart from the work itself are some of the regular chores that one has to go through. I also believe that one should be nimble-fingered while following the whole process of assigning and delegating tasks to the right people. Other than developing my own practice, it is also important for me to ensure that there is holistic development of all the firm members. I try to work from the perspective that everyone evolves into a better professional.


What motivates you to continue your formal learning, how do you make time for it given your busy schedule?

(Adab has pursued an LLM in Energy Laws and is presently pursuing a PhD in Legal Studies.)

Lawyers never stop learning! As banal as that it may sound, it holds true. I still consider myself to be a learner of law and in my view the whole process of formal learning ensures that my perspective is broadened.


On what parameters do you choose the cases you work on? 

Initially, I accepted whatever work came to me. Subsequently I focused more into dispute resolution. In my opinion, when starting up, one should not be too selective in choosing the work and should see to it that he/she is able to obtain as well as work upon a variety of client deliverables.


Did you have a mentor or guide during the formative years of your career?

The significance of mentorship cannot be undermined in our profession and I believe that every young law student/ lawyer should make sincere efforts to foster a relationship with the right kind of people in the legal industry.

I would always be grateful to the mentorship that I received from Senior Adv. Mr. C.M Lall. It is his ability to maintain a healthy work-life balance is what amazed me the most. In addition to being adroit at courtroom craft, he is also an excellent family person.


What books, judgments that you have read would you say have played an integral role in shaping your legal philosophy?

 I was greatly inspired by movies such as A Few Good Men and Chariots of Fire. I still remember the quote from the movie Chariots of Fire; “I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel his pleasure.” This quote is significant because it cleared my head that I should pursue a career in litigation.


What advice would you like to give our readers, who are mostly law students and young lawyers?

Do not join the bandwagon. Do what you believe in. Through the profession also devote time to serve the society and humanity. 



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