“ADR is the present and also the future, and the earlier we understand this, the chances of growth will be faster. ADR is not only efficient but also cost-effective.” – Nivedita Shree, Founding Partner of Shree & Associates

This interview has been published by Namrata Singh and The SuperLawyer Team

You’ve had a diverse and extensive career in law. Could you share with us how you ventured into the legal profession and what inspired you to specialize in litigation? Could you please walk us through your journey from your college days to where you are today?

As I was pursuing my high school in Bhavan’s Gandhi Vidyashram, Kodaikanal, like any other family, I was also asked to pursue my career in engineering. However, I was clear I wanted to be a lawyer and fancied those black gown and the band. Pursued my B.A.LL.B from Bangalore University and LL.M from Hidayatullah National Law University. I was placed in a law firm dealing with international trade. Despite the work being amazing, somehow it did not satisfy my desire for the band and those “My Lord” moments. I later on switched my job but finally I started with my career in litigation and since then there has never been a day that I have regretted my decision.

Shree & Associates is renowned for its expertise in Civil, Corporate, and Family Law among other areas. What motivated you to establish this boutique law firm, and how do you differentiate your services from larger firms?

When I started my career in litigation, I was overwhelmed by the work and pay disparity. And then while practicing I realized that only two things work:- Dedication and timely delivery of solutions to the client. Clients need to be satisfied and we being lawyers have to be very good listeners. I remember while dealing with matrimonial disputes, I have even acted and taken up a title as a marriage counselor. Just having knowledge of law will not suffice. One has to be lawyer with empathy and should also be ready to understand the agony of client. It has also taught me to be resilient.

While practicing in district court, one should be ready to face a high profile client and also a client from village who speaks only the local dialect. The spectrum of clientele is big and so is the paying capacity. Having a fixed fees does not work in lower courts and to start the career, fees should not be priority. Number of cases matters as you get to research and learn and present the best you can at that moment of time.

When I started practicing the big advantage I had was the knowledge of local language and the local history pertaining to land, So when somebody referred to a particular document I knew what exactly did he want to say. In Jharkhand a lot of old documents pertaining to land is written in “Kaithi” which is in devangiri script but tough to understand and read. So knowledge of that helped to gain a lot of civil matters. It is very surprising that even today in few district courts computer literacy of lawyers is quiet low.

Client nowadays need speedy disposal of their cases and if we are in a position to convince the parties to go for mediation or arbitration, it is a win win for all.

Shree & Associates is a boutique firm and the lawyers in the firm are very well versed with the local laws and also updated with technology and ready to work and settle the dispute by alternative methods.

Your involvement in Corporate Law, particularly with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority and the National Company Law Tribunal, suggests a broad scope of legal expertise. How do you manage to navigate such diverse legal landscapes effectively?

Firm assists clients in establishing sound corporate governance structures, ensuring compliance with regulations, and fostering ethical business practices. Our team is very closely knitted and takes care of needs and specific details of the client while dealing with the boards of directors and executive teams. We can relentlessly work to create a framework in a company to enhances transparency, accountability, and overall organizational effectiveness. We have been very fortunate to not have lost any matter in NCLT so far. NCLT

With the growth in Real estate sectors in form of apartments, even  in small town, it has opened new avenues. Before RERA, matters were usually sorted out amicably wherein a lot of time the buyers were not very satisfied with the service provided by builders or the land owners, but with new laws in force, the scenario has changed and the buyers are now more vigilant pertaining to their rights. Real estate litigation is complex and involves multiple parties, extensive discovery, expert testimony, and specialized legal issues. It’s essential for parties involved in real estate disputes to seek experienced legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal process and protect their rights and interests. We at our firm have specialized team working specifically in this field to provide the best remedy and solutions to the client.

Our team has been very dedicated team of young energy and expertise of senior lawyers. Despite being a firm working at grassroot level and growing upwards, our sole moto of client satisfaction has also been taken care of.

 In addition to your professional achievements, you’ve presented papers on Corporate Governance and participated in international conferences. How do you balance your legal practice with academic pursuits?

I am also a Guest Faculty in University Law College, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag, where I (when time permits) take classes on the practical application of procedural laws, usage of evidence act in trial and also in civil matters and the importance of Local land laws for proper understanding of  roots of the civil dispute.

One must invest in continuing legal education and be updated with current development in laws. This will definitely give a niche above others.

 Your bio indicates a passion for mediation and arbitration. How do you believe alternative dispute resolution methods contribute to the legal landscape, and what advantages do they offer over traditional litigation?

ADR is the present and also the future and the earlier we understand this, the chances of growth will be faster. ADR is not only efficient but also cost effective. In today’s time, nobody wants to get “tarikh pe tarikh”. One is ready to spend a little higher to get quick, easy and effective solutions to their problem. In such a situation, the best option is that of mediation and arbitration. Best part of ADR is that it can be tailored to the specific needs and preferences of the parties involved.

Given your vast experience in the legal profession, what do you believe the current generation of aspiring lawyers can do to carve out successful and fulfilling careers in law amidst evolving societal and technological landscapes?

I have also recently posted on my Linkedin profile regarding the same. There are a lot of  pointers but the few are hard work, professional ethics, managing client expectations, being resilient, being updated with new laws and cases are important for learning and growing. The current generation are technologically way more advanced and this will help them to work smartly. Aspiring lawyers needs to have at least few pointers mentioned above to have a positive trajectory of growth in field of litigation.

You’ve been actively involved in legal practice across different regions of India. How do you adapt your approach to suit the unique legal environments and cultural contexts of each location?

I alongwith the team, travel a lot and appear in various courts all over India both physically and virtually. Every court has its own way of working and pace to resolve the cases. One important point is to always have a local team or a lawyer to understand the local scenario of courts and work culture, until we branch out to various places. It has also given our firm cases and matters which would not have been accessible otherwise.

 Apart from your legal expertise, what are some personal hobbies or interests that you enjoy outside of work, and how do they contribute to your overall well-being and professional effectiveness?

I spend my time exploring new places, spending quality time with my kids and paint when ever I can. I love cooking  as well so when ever I am not loaded with work I try allocating time and enjoy my fullest. It is more like setting a reset button. I love the work I do so there is no “job stress” and thus makes me little more efficient in the work I do.

Your educational journey has taken you to various parts of India, including Nepal. Could you share how these diverse experiences have shaped your perspective, and what factors led to your decision to settle in Jharkhand, establishing your practice there?

Well, my father was an employee in State Bank of India. I pursued my primary and middle school education in various small towns in Jharkhand. Later since my father was being transferred every 3 years, I was put in boarding School, Delhi Public School situated in Dharan, Nepal, where I completed my 10th std. While in 10th std. I came to know about Bhavan’s Gandhi Vidyashram located in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu through a brochure given by my parents. I was very keen in joining for many reasons but one most important being my love for south Indian cuisine. Pursued my High School in Kodaikanal. Thereafter, since, I wanted to pursue B.A.LL.B, Bangalore was my first preference then. Got my degree from Bangalore Institute of Legal Studies, Bangalore.

I always had desire to earn a specialization in corporate and also have a masters degree, I applied for few Universities in United Kingdom. I got offer letters from Edinburgh University, Manchester University and also from Cardiff University. However, that was the year when CLAT(PG) had also started for the first time and I like any other law graduate aspiring for masters, appeared in the test. Got AIR 162 and got into Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur. Since I could not get a scholarship and the fees being high in Universities in U.K., I preferred joining HNLU, Raipur and I think it was a great decision. Got placed before completion of my course and since then I have never looked back.

While travelling to different places, I learned various languages and I am now proficient in Nepali, Tamil, Kannada and ofcourse my mother tounge, Maghi. Since I have travelled so much in India, it has expanded my horizon. Experiencing different ways of life and witnessing socio-economic disparities has lead to perspective shifts and introspection and these factors affect positively, while we deal with clients in the firm.

Since, Jharkhand is my home state, I wanted to establish my practice base in Jharkhand. Staying close to family and loving the work I do, is nothing less than bliss and I am filled with gratitude.

With your extensive experience and expertise, what qualities or characteristics do you typically look for in students who apply for internships or seek training opportunities at Shree & Associates? How do you nurture and mentor aspiring legal professionals to help them thrive in the field?

Well, the firm has been very open in getting interns every now and then. We have a selection process wherein we look into the academic background and  schedule an interview via meet or if possible personally in the office. The most important aspect that we look is the desire to learn. A person has to have a desire to learn and grow and then ofcourse the mundane questions of reason for joining the firm etc.

The new members joining us as an associate, are firstly provided with clear objective as to what are motive and vision is and the work ethics and environment in the firm. Emphasis is given on continuous learning and by providing constructive feedback so that they can self assess and learn.

Beyond your primary areas of legal practice, such as Civil, Corporate, and Family Law, are there any specific niche areas or emerging legal domains that particularly pique your interest or passion? How do you see these areas evolving, and what draws you to explore them further?

With the advancement in technology and advent of Artificial Intelligence in law, Technology law along with AI  and Robotics law is one evolving area which I would like to explore and have a dedicated team for this.

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