I always believe law as a profession and precisely litigation requires serious discipline, dedication and perseverance and for that every successful lawyer has to have one or two antidotes to overcome the challenges of this profession- Dawneesh Shaktivats, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India

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

Sir, can you elaborate about your educational background and how it influenced your decision to pursue a career in law?

I was born and raised in Ayodhya and I did my schooling from there itself. In an initial part of my career I was keenly interested to enter medical profession therefore after passing high school in 2009 I opted for science stream and started self-preparation for medical entrance examination. Thereafter after passing intermediate in 2011, I sat for medical entrance examination but I couldn’t clear the same.  In the meantime my sister Diva Devarsha (NLU Jodhpur Graduate, currently working as Principal associate in Economic Law Practice Mumbai)  inspired me to pursue law as a serious career option and prepare for various law entrance examinations as it requires similar dedication and hard work as compared to medical profession. On lighter note I would like to share that during my teenage days while traveling to my school I used to take one short-cut via District and Session Court, Faizabad (now Ayodhya) so I used to pass through various courtrooms near to which various staffs, police personal and litigants use to chit chat between each other but I was always having curiosity to know that what exactly used to happen inside those courtrooms so subconsciously in the back of my mind this acted as a fuel to my leap of faith to opt law as a career option. Thereafter finally after proper consultation with my parents I decided to start self-study for pursuing law as a career. Fortunately after one year of sincere dedication and self-study I qualified various law entrance examinations across the country.  Being new to this legal field I was always craving for proper guidance and practical exposure for witnessing application of law in courts & administration. This inspired me to join the Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi to pursue my legal education as it is India’s finest Central University and it is situated in the Heart of Delhi which is the best place to get all kinds of exposure required for a budding lawyer.      

You have interned at different organizations during your education. How did these internships contribute to your overall growth and understanding of the legal field?

Whether it was my MHRD IPR Research Associate work in collaboration with IIT Madras, SEBI’S (Headquarters) Legal Team, Greenpeace Pune, HRLN Delhi or in the Direct Tax team of Lakshmikumaran & Sreedharan, Delhi.  I always believed that the more exposure I will get after working as an intern for these prestigious organizations the more clarity I will get while finalizing my stream in the legal profession. Here I would like to emphasize one of my major internships which was in the winters of January 2014 when I was interning under AOR, Sudhanshu Chaudhari in Supreme Court. I witnessed Late Sr. Advocate. T.R.Andhyarujina making submissions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court in one of the matter their I got so much mesmerized by his way of speaking, legal knowledge and humility that on that day itself I made one internal conviction that after passing my law school I will be pursuing litigation as my career option. In the similar fashion Late Sr. Advocate Ram Jethmalani and Sr. Advocate Fali. S. Nariman gave me inspiration to pursue litigation as my career option.

Could you describe your current role as an Advocate on Record at the Supreme Court of India? What types of cases do you handle, and what are your primary responsibilities?

My primary role as an Advocate on Record is to properly safeguard my client’s right and prepare my case file considering all the facts and legal provisions mentioned in the impugned order or the corresponding proceedings of any other forum. I usually handle civil, criminal and commercial, white collar matters in the form of Special Leave Petitions, Writs, Transfer Petitions, Civil and Criminal Appeals. Further my duty is to properly draft the matter , if required then briefing matters to the Senior Advocates, preparing Argument note with proper precedents, handling of Chamber and Registrar Courts and making  proper submissions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court whenever the case demands.

In your previous work experiences, you have dealt with a wide range of legal matters, including civil, criminal, commercial, white-collar crimes, and more. How do you manage such diverse cases, and what challenges do you face in handling them?

Being a first generation lawyer I am able to handle a wide range of legal matters which includes civil, criminal, commercial and white-collar crimes matters. Here I would like to emphasize that it only got possible because of proper guidance by my mentors (AOR Mr. Deepak Parkash and AOR, Pallav Mongia) in my initial years of this profession. I always believe law as a profession and precisely litigation requires serious discipline, dedication and perseverance and for that every successful lawyer has to have one or two antidotes to overcome the challenges of this profession. My antidote of multitasking with proper planning, deadlines, documentations, research, client discussion with my team members and mentors before working on any matter helps me to counter a wide range of legal matters with its complexities.

Can you share a notable case or project that you worked on, which had a significant impact on your career? How did it shape your perspective or approach to law?

I have worked on many landmark cases listed before the constitution bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India which includes Data Localization matter , Ayodhya Land Property Dispute (Ram Mandir matter ) , Land Acquisition matter (Indore development authority matter ). But the matter which had a significant impact on my understanding or approach towards the application of legal procedure altogether is the Gain Bitcoin matter. Unfortunately I would refrain myself from further elaborating about this matter as it is still sub judice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

Could you discuss any workshops, conferences, or moot court competitions that you have participated in? How have these experiences helped you grow as a legal professional?

Yes, in my law school days I used to participate in various workshops, conferences and moot court competitions. But the most memorable experience I had was while preparing and participating for India Rounds of 56th Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court competition held in the year 2014 as this is a very special and prestigious moot which requires extensive research and preparation before participation. Though we as a team were unable to qualify for the world rounds of this prestigious moot, this moot gave me a very in-depth understanding of International Law  including  its inception. As a legal professional this made me explore various research tools and methodologies which till date help me in my various matters going on at different forums.

You have been involved in various extracurricular activities, such as legal literacy programs and discussions with media persons. How do you balance your professional and social responsibilities?

Whenever I get free time in this profession I love to devote myself to fulfill my larger life goals of doing something for society at large which includes legal literacy programs, engaging in social work for downtrodden strata of the society and participating in various discussions on social issues and issues of national importance. The only passion which drives me to do all these extracurricular activities is to give back to society its due as many selfless people helped me during my struggling days when I was a budding lawyer.

What advice would you give to fresh graduates who are considering a career in law? What are some key lessons or insights you have learned along your journey that you would like to share with them?

Being a first generation lawyer I will be very blunt in advising all the fresh graduates who are considering a career in law that you will not get bed of roses in the initial part of your years and you might also face many ups and downs but with proper discipline, hard work and perseverance you can melt the mountains of challenges coming in the path of your professional journey. 

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