Associates, In-House Counsels & Advocates

Adyasha Das, Associate Khaitan & Co., on Corporate Law, getting a PPO and moots

Adyasha Das graduated from the 2013 batch of National Law Institute University. She is one of the most diligent and illustrious scholars of NLIU and has a noteworthy academic, mooting and debating record. She was also the Convener of Moot Court Society, NLIU (2012-2013). Currently she works as a Corporate Law associate at Khaitan & Co. She has gone about achieving things on the sole basis of her merit.

We asked her to share her experiences and strategies she used over the years. In this interview, she tells us about:

  • Work experience as the Convener of Moot Court Society, NLIU
  • Her journey from being an intern to getting job offer from Khaitan & Co.
  • Importance of academics, internships, debates and moots

 

What motivated you to choose law as a career?

Considering the number of lawyers and people from the legal background that dominate the corporate, social, and political scenes of the country, I don’t agree that there is currently any prejudice against law as a career in India.  If there were any apprehensions against the profession, the emergence of CLAT, national universities and lucrative job offers are fast changing perceptions about the profession.

That said law wasn’t my first career choice. Although I did not come from a background that was prejudiced against law as a career, I wasn’t aware of the opportunities, relevance, and prominence of a legal career. In fact to be honest I inadvertently stumbled upon law, but that is a long story. However, what made me continue the pursuit was that law indulged my curiosity and engaged my attention.

 

Tell us about your time at NLIU, Bhopal and the highlights of your college life and achievements?

Time at NLIU was life aptly described by Calvin and Hobbes “Life’s a lot more fun when you aren’t responsible for your actions.” College is place that redefines the phrase spoilt for choice in every conceivable way. I made some incredible friends, learnt a lot and mostly enjoyed my time there.

I am from a small city and hence for me the biggest highlight of NLIU was that it made me come across so many people, ideas, influences, thoughts, and possibilities. To add to that, I was always fortunate to have mentors (professors, seniors, and peers) to guide me around.  I believe that universities are not institutions devoted only to traditional education but rather help broaden the horizons of the students. NLIU, apart from being responsible for my basic understanding of law, has also substantially influenced  knowledge and views on music, books, movies, culture, social issues, political orientations, economic rights  etc. through its numerous committees that I was associated with throughout the five years.

 

What skills did you get to hone while managing the NLIU moot court society?

Mooting was my love in college. Consequently, everything associated with moots became a passion. Convenership was a great experience for me but that can mostly be attributed to the fantastic team and faculty I had to work with.  I would not be able to put in words all that I gained from this experience but among other things it taught me: “How to work with a team with differing expectations, unequal levels of execution and opposite countenances”.

 

Having participated and won Best Speaker awards in a few moot competitions, what would be your suggestion to budding mooters?

As I already mentioned, mooting was love for me. All my hard work and preparation was entirely influenced by how much I loved the activity itself. I could go days without food, sleep, classes and friends if a particular question of law caught my fancy. Good research and hard work are almost synonymous with a moot win. Based on my experience my only advice would be that participants should invest more interest in the moot they pick.

Speaker awards are hugely dependent on articulation, persuasion, and spontaneity of the speaker. It is important to gauge the judge and engage his/her attention with the right arguments and points of law. This can be easily achieved by practising the orals in advance. Plus no amount of effort for a shiny trophy at the end is a bad investment.

 

How does one make a winning memo? According to you, what is the difference between a great and an average memo?

The answer is ‘Research’. I cannot emphasise the importance of good research any further. Good research has to be understood in context of the fact that almost every student now has access to a huge pool of resources and therefore any average memorial would contain the standard statutory provisions and case laws. What makes a difference is identifying the issues correctly and addressing them with support of authority. You will be surprised at the scope of creativity available within law.

 

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You had also participated in the ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition. How was your experience?

Mediation competitions are fairly different from moots and require preparation of a separate set of skills. Mediations generally test the commercial bent of a participant and her persuasion and negotiation skills. Understanding the people sitting on the opposite table plays a key role in tackling competitions like this.

Although ICC International Commercial Mediation Competition was a brilliant opportunity for me, it was also a revelation of the fact that Indian teams required a lot more preparation considering we do not have enough mediation competitions in the country.

 

What are your thoughts on activities like mooting, debating and publications in journals? How important do you think are these activities in shaping the legal career of a law student?

Concentrating only on academics in a course that runs for half a decade can become quite mundane. Extra-curricular like moots, debates, model united nation competitions, publications; sports etc. provide an effective way to not ‘make Jack a dull boy’. The numerous kinds of extra-curricular available these days to students are also sufficiently varied to pique anybody’s interest. Plus these activities are a never ending source of new things to learn.

Even objectively, recruiters across the country would not generally ignore a CV reflective of five years of constant activity. Therefore I don’t see any reason for not pursuing either one or all of the available extra-curricular that any university has to offer.

 

How did you manage to keep up your grades?

I am not aware of other colleges’ schedules but NLIU generally did not have a very hectic curriculum. So maintaining grades and doing well in moots remained two mutually exclusive fields. It did not require any more strategy than keeping aside 2 weeks for exams which included the week of actually writing the exams.

 

Tell us about your internships. What skills have you acquired from these internships and how helpful have they been in your legal career?

Technically my only corporate law internship was at Khaitan & Co. All my other internships have ranged from UNICEF, State Information Commission, an accountancy firm, a shipping company to working with a media consultant and I wasn’t interning as a law student under anyone of the above.

Internships, of all kinds, are a great way of learning the practical aspects of law. For students, it provides an excellent work-life perspective and helps them make an informed choice about the kind of work and lifestyle they intend to choose after college.

 

Did you have an interview before you were offered the PPO from Khaitan & Co.? Tell us about the interview process and how did you prepare for it?

Yes I had to undergo an interview before getting the PPO. The interview was substantially the same as a campus interview. I had prepared for the interview by reading up subjects that were mentioned in my CV and things I had worked on while interning at Khaitan & Co.

 

What are the things you consider sine qua non for positive feedback or a “call-back” from an internship?

I am not the right person to ask this as it is really the recruiters’ decision. However anyone who shows interest in the work given to them and pays attention to the work submitted inevitably gets the attention of the seniors. Apart from that, sincerity, accountability, punctuality, and hard work always earn you brownie points.

 

If you could re-live your five years in Law school, is there something you would do differently?

I am not unhappy with how I spent my 5 years in college but if I could re live it, I would definitely have a lot more fun, would read a lot more than I did and do Jessup again.

 

What would be your message to your juniors from law school?

Work hard and have fun while you are at it.

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