As technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial for legal professionals to stay updated on the latest legal advancements and their implications on the law-Akshay Bhambri,Founder at AK Bhambri and Associates

This interview has been published by  Priyanka Karwa and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you share with us what initially inspired you to pursue a career in  law? What led you to specialize in areas like Cyber Crimes, IT & Cyber  Security, Arbitration, Customs, and Criminal & Matrimonial Litigation? 

As a practicing cybersecurity advocate, a career in law was never planned nor I  ever dreamed of it. “I prominently believe everything happens to be  destiny. Whatever happens, happens for a reason!” My journey sounds too  cinematic. Growing up, I was fascinated by technology and electronics, which  led me to pursue a degree in Computer Science. However, my father had different  plans for me, and he enrolled me in a Political Science program against my  wishes. At first, I was resistant to the change, but I eventually found myself  becoming increasingly interested in the subject matter. The coursework provided  me with a deep understanding of society, politics, and the justice system, which  sparked my curiosity and drive to learn more. Then came a pivotal moment in my  journey. My friends encouraged me to take the LLB entrance exam during my  penultimate year, and against all odds, I secured a seat while they did not. Little  did I know that this decision would shape my destiny as a legal professional. Today, I stand here with qualifications in LLB, LLM, Cyber Law, Intellectual  Property Rights, Arbitration, and International Law and Diplomacy. My deep rooted passion for technology and computer knowledge led me to specialize in  Cyber Security and Gaming Laws. With only a handful of professionals in the  field, I saw an opportunity to fill a gap and make a real difference. Additionally,  my extensive experience in customs litigation has become another area of  expertise for me. 

Looking back, I realize that life doesn’t always turn out as we plan it. Sometimes,  unexpected opportunities arise, and it’s up to us to seize them. My journey may  have started unconventionally, but it’s taught me to embrace the unknown and  trust in fate. Today, I proudly serve as a cybersecurity advocate, helping  individuals and organizations navigate the complex digital landscape and protect  themselves from threats lurking in the shadows of the internet. 

My story serves as a reminder to every first-generation lawyer, that sometimes  the most unlikely paths lead to the most fulfilling destinations. So, my message  to you is this: Embrace the unexpected twists and turns in your journey. Trust in  destiny’s plan and allow it to lead you to greatness. Who knows, you might just  discover your true calling in the most unexpected places.”

With your diverse academic background and numerous certifications,  including being a Gold Medallist in Cyber Law, could you tell us how your  education has shaped your legal career and expertise in these fields? 

As I mentioned earlier, my journey into law was not a premeditated plan but  rather a series of destiny’s intriguing twists and turns. I began my academic  voyage with a foundation in Computer Science, guided by my innate curiosity  and fascination with technology. While this might have seemed like an  unconventional start for a future lawyer, it laid a solid groundwork for what was  to come. This diverse subject knowledge has enabled me to better comprehend  the legal implications of cybercrime and the importance of robust cybersecurity  measures. 

My passion for technology, combined with my computer knowledge, naturally  led me to specialize in Cyber Security and Gaming Laws. I recognized the  scarcity of Cyber Advocates in our country and thus realized how to make a profound impact on India’s digital Legal Cyberspace. My journey has been filled with  unexpected opportunities and challenges, each contributing to my growth as a  practicing Cyber Security Advocate. The Gold Medal in Cyber Law is a symbol  of dedication, hard work, and a commitment to excellence in a rapidly evolving  field. It is a testament to my dedication and commitment to excellence. It has  given me a unique edge in understanding the nuances of cyberlaw and its  applications in various jurisdictions. My certifications in Cybersecurity, Data  Protection, Artificial Intelligence, Crypto and Bitcoin industry have further  strengthened my ability to provide comprehensive legal solutions to clients. 

As technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial for legal professionals to stay  updated on the latest legal advancements and their implications on the law. As a  practicing cybersecurity advocate, I remain dedicated to continuously updating  my knowledge and skills to provide the best possible service to my clients. 

To those who aspire to follow a similar path, I would advise you to be open to  exploring diverse academic disciplines and certification programs. Embrace  lifelong learning and stay committed to developing your skills and knowledge.  With persistence, dedication, and the right guidance, you too can build a  successful career in cybersecurity law and make a positive impact on upcoming AI,  Metaverse and Cyber nauseas. 

Your experience spans working with prominent law firms, senior  advocates, and even in-house internships. How have these experiences  influenced your perspective on the legal profession, and what valuable  lessons have you learned along the way?  

Throughout my legal journey, I had the opportunity to collaborate with  prestigious law firms, senior advocates, and in-house legal teams. To be candid,  my interactions with senior advocates and law firms were not always positive. As  a legal associate, I came to understand the stark difference between employment  and exploitation. In many instances, I felt more exploited than employed. I  witnessed that some lawyers, often with privileged backgrounds, ventured into  legal practice without truly grasping the challenges faced by first-generation  lawyers like myself – the struggles, the emotional toll, and the pressures from our  families. Unfortunately, much of my early litigation work did not offer significant  financial support; instead, it exploited me both financially and mentally. 

It became evident that many senior advocates did not provide fair compensation,  and I encountered lawyers who failed to even reimburse basic office expenses or  travel costs. Some would demotivate or discourage newcomers, insisting that  litigation is a brutal profession and advising us to switch careers. The toxic work  culture, demanding hours, late-night commitments, and instances of sexual  harassment involving female students and lawyers revealed some harsh realities  within the profession. 

However, not all experiences were negative. I learned that, as junior lawyers, we  don’t expect much from our mentors – all we seek is respect, adherence to  professional ethics, and a valuable learning experience. Ironically, professional  ethics often seemed like a theoretical subject during law school but held  significant importance in litigation practice. Fortunately, there are professionals  who uphold these values and serve as exceptional mentors. Some treat you like  family, some as employees, and some younger advocates mentor you as a friend,  guiding you through the basics of the legal profession. No matter what they will  be at your back and will teach you nitties gritties of this profession. 

All you need is a great mentor, unfortunately I haven’t found any during my  learning span but these experiences have underlined the critical role of  mentorship and the importance of learning from seasoned professionals. They’ve  taught me that the legal field is far more nuanced than it may appear at first  glance. As a practicing cybersecurity advocate, I will continue to uphold these  principles and inspire others to do the same.

As the founder of AK Bhambri & Associates, what motivated you to  establish your own law firm? Could you tell us about the key focus areas and  goals of your firm? 

The Motivation was driven by a desire for independence, creativity, and  autonomy. I always wanted to break free from the constraints of traditional law  firms and create a space where I could practice law & learn on my own terms.  This sense of freedom and litigation spirit is something that resonates deeply with  me in order to establish my own path in the litigation practise. The challenges I  faced in my early career served as a catalyst for this decision. 

My firm’s primary focus areas reflect the lessons I’ve learned and the traditional  principles I hold on to. Our firm aims to provide legal services that prioritize  fairness, transparency, and ethical conduct. Our goals include advocating for  justice, particularly in areas where I’ve witnessed exploitation and challenges  faced by new entrants to the legal field like litigation interns and fresh law graduates. We strive to create a work environment that fosters mentorship,  learning, and professional growth, addressing the lack of support I experienced  during my journey. We aim to be a beacon of hope for young advocates, offering  them not just legal guidance but also a sense of belonging and support. 

Our firm places a strong emphasis on adaptability, recognizing that the legal  landscape is ever-evolving, especially in areas like Cyber security and IT, A.I and  Metaverse. We aim to stay at the forefront of legal developments and provide  cutting-edge solutions to our clients. 

Overall, AK Bhambri & Associates serves as a model for what can be achieved  through hard work, determination, and a willingness to take risks. It inspires me  to pursue my dreams and create my own success story in the legal profession stems from a deep-rooted commitment to justice, mentorship, and making a  positive impact in the legal profession, particularly for those who, like me, have  faced adversity along the way. 

You’ve been actively involved in seminars, webinars, and authored  publications in the field of Cyber Law. Could you share some insights from  your experiences as a speaker and author in this domain? 

I have had the privilege of sharing my insights and expertise with diverse  audiences through various platforms, including webinars, seminars, and guest  lectures at law schools. Drawing from my experiences as an established Cyber  advocate, having successfully hosted over 50 webinars, seminars, and guest 

lectures in esteemed law schools, I’d like to share some valuable insights from  my journey as a speaker and author in the domain of Cyber Law, AI, Metaverse,  and Cybersecurity. 

Through my extensive involvement as a speaker and author in the domain of  Cyber Law, I have had the privilege of sharing knowledge and engaging with  diverse audiences. It’s been immensely gratifying to witness the enthusiasm of  young minds eager to explore the intricate world of Cyber Law and related fields. 

Engaging with students, legal professionals, and enthusiasts has emphasized the  need for ongoing education in areas like cyber security and AI, which are crucial  for addressing contemporary legal challenges. As a speaker and author, I’ve had  the opportunity to bridge the gap between Cyber law theory and Cyber security  insights, helping aspiring legal professionals comprehend the real-world  implications of the IT laws. Moreover, these experiences have reaffirmed my  belief in the power of education and knowledge sharing. Each seminar, webinar,  or lecture is an opportunity to inspire the next generation of legal experts and to  encourage critical thinking and innovative problem-solving. 

In sum, my journey as a speaker and author in the realms of Cyber Law, AI,  Metaverse, and Cybersecurity has been a remarkable one, marked by the mutual  exchange of insights and a shared commitment to advancing the field of law in  an increasingly digital world. 

You’re an Editorial Board Member of prestigious legal publications and  a member of various legal associations. How do you balance your legal  practice with your contributions to the legal community, and why is this  important to you? 

I actively participate as an Editorial Board Member in prestigious legal  publications and hold memberships in various legal associations. Balancing my  legal practice with these commitments is a testament to my dedication to the legal  community and its continued growth. While my legal practice is vital to my career  and livelihood, I recognize that giving back to the community and sharing my  expertise with others is not only fulfilling but also beneficial to the advancement  of the legal profession. This equilibrium is crucial to me because it allows me to  bridge the gap between practical legal work and the broader legal discourse. My  contributions to legal publications and associations are an extension of my  commitment to staying at the forefront of legal developments, particularly in  Cyber Law and related fields. It enables me to share insights, best practices, and  expertise gained from my legal practice with a wider audience.

By participating in discussions, publishing articles, and presenting at conferences,  I help raise awareness about critical issues and promote the evolution of legal  frameworks that address the rapidly changing landscape of cyberspace. Moreover, being part of legal associations and editorial boards fosters a sense of  community and collaboration. It connects me with like-minded professionals and  provides a platform for networking and the exchange of ideas. These interactions,  in turn, enrich my legal practice and keep me updated on emerging trends and  challenges in the legal landscape. 

In essence, balancing my legal practice with contributions to the legal community  is a symbiotic relationship. It allows me to give back to the profession that has  provided me with a fulfilling career while also enhancing my own legal expertise  and professional network. Ultimately, striking a balance between my legal  practice and contributions to the community is not only important for my personal  satisfaction but also essential for the growth and success of the legal profession.  By dedicating myself to both aspects, I aim to create a positive impact that  extends beyond my immediate sphere of influence and contributes to the  betterment of society as a whole. 

Your firm also runs a unique program called “Cyber Noses Project.”  Could you elaborate on the goals and impact of this initiative? 

In my capacity as an established Cyber advocate, my firm spearheads a distinctive  initiative known as the “Cyber Noses Project.” This endeavour is driven by our  commitment to raising awareness about cybersecurity, I.T, AI and fostering a  proactive approach to digital safety. 

The name “Cyber Noses” draws inspiration from a fusion of Greek mythology  and the cyber world. In Greek mythology, the story of Narcissus, a character  known for his obsession with his own reflection, serves as a cautionary tale about  self-absorption and vanity. The term “narcissism” is derived from Narcissus’  name. In the same context “Cyber Noses” the name takes on a unique and  symbolic meaning. It signifies the need for individuals to be vigilant and self 

aware in the cyber world, much like Narcissus should have been aware of his own  reflection. It emphasizes the importance of looking beneath the surface of the  virtual world to protect oneself and others from cyber threats and dangers. 

Our program focuses on creating a comprehensive curriculum that covers a wide  range of topics related to cybersecurity, data privacy, and digital citizenship. We  tailor our training sessions to meet the specific needs of each group, ensuring that 

participants receive relevant and age-appropriate information. The primary  objective of this initiative is to impart practical knowledge and skills related to  cybersecurity to a diverse audience, including students in schools, participants in  NGOs, and aspiring legal professionals in law schools. Through hands-on  training sessions and workshops, we aim to equip individuals with the tools and  understanding necessary to navigate the digital landscape safely and responsibly. It seeks to simplify complex cybersecurity concepts and make them accessible to  all, regardless of their prior background or expertise. By providing practical  training, we empower individuals to protect themselves and their communities  from cyber threats, data breaches, and online vulnerabilities. 

The impact of this initiative is far-reaching. It not only enhances digital literacy  but also contributes to building a safer and more secure digital environment.  Participants gain the confidence to navigate the online world effectively and  become advocates for cybersecurity within their respective spheres of influence. 

Ultimately, the “Cyber Noses Project” embodies our dedication to giving back to  society by sharing knowledge and skills that have the potential to safeguard  individuals and organizations in an increasingly interconnected digital age. 

Given your extensive experience in both litigation and arbitration, could  you explain the key differences and challenges between these two aspects of  legal practice? 

Litigation and arbitration are two distinct forms of dispute resolution, each with  its unique set of rules, procedures, and strategies. Litigation refers to the process  of taking a dispute to court, where a judge will hear arguments and evidence from  both parties and render a binding decision. Arbitration, on the other hand,  involves submitting a dispute to a neutral third party, known as an arbitrator, who  will review the evidence and arguments presented by both sides and issue a non-binding award. 

One of the main differences is the level of formality and structure involved in  each process. Litigation tends to be more formal and structured, with strict rules  of procedure and evidence that must be followed whereas arbitration is generally  considered to be a more flexible and informal process, with fewer rules and  procedures to follow. 

Another significant difference is the role of the decision-maker. In litigation, the  judge plays a central role in deciding the outcome of the case, while in arbitration, 

The arbitrator acts as a facilitator and mediator, helping the parties to reach a  mutually acceptable agreement. 

From a practitioner’s perspective, one of the biggest challenges of litigation is  managing client expectations. Clients often have high hopes for a favourable outcome, and it can be difficult to manage their expectations when the judicial  system moves slowly or unpredictably. Additionally, litigation can be expensive  and time-consuming, which can put pressure on attorney fees and billing. 

Arbitration, on the other hand, offers several advantages over litigation. It can be  faster and less expensive than going to court, and it allows parties to choose an  arbitrator with expertise in the subject matter of the dispute. However, one of the  most significant challenges of arbitration is the limited scope for appeal. Unlike  court decisions, arbitral awards are generally final and binding, leaving little room  for error or challenge. Both litigation and arbitration demand distinct skill sets.  Litigators must excel in courtroom advocacy, legal research, and the ability to  present a compelling case before a Magistrate. Arbitrators require expertise in  negotiation, procedural rules, and specialization of the subject matter. Overall,  both litigation and arbitration have their strengths and weaknesses, and choosing  the right approach depends on the specific circumstances of each case.  

Finally, as a successful legal professional, what are the key principles or  strategies you would recommend to young lawyers embarking on their  professional journey in the legal field? 

First and foremost, I would strongly advise aspiring lawyers to follow their  passion and interests when pursuing internships or career opportunities. One of  the biggest challenges is trying to stand out in a crowded field and secure a job in  a reputable law firm. Unfortunately, many law students seem to be focusing on  the wrong things, such as collecting certificates from internships rather than  developing practical skills and gaining real-world experience. Don’t just chase  internships for the sake of certificates. Certificates alone won’t set you apart; it’s  your skills and expertise that truly matter. 

Secondly, avoid blindly following the crowd or pursuing internships simply for  the sake of numbers on your resume. The quantity of internships does not  necessarily correlate with the quality of your learning experience. Instead,  prioritize internships and experiences that genuinely contribute to your growth as  a legal professional.

Third, young lawyers need to focus on building their practical skills, including  research, writing, and advocacy abilities. These are the skills that will ultimately  make them valuable assets to law firms and clients alike. 

Lastly, networking is critical in the legal profession. Young lawyers should strive  to connect with experienced attorneys, judges, and other legal professionals, as  these connections can lead to valuable insights, mentorship, and even job  opportunities. Attending conferences, joining professional organizations, and  participating in online communities are all great ways to expand one’s network. 

In conclusion, my advice to young lawyers is to be discerning in your choices,  focus on building your knowledge and skills, and don’t lose sight of your passion  and interests. Your dedication to genuine learning and growth will be the most  significant factor in your success in the legal field. 

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