In Conversation with: Sneha Sudhir Nanandkar Advocate and Solicitor at Phoenix Legal

This Interview has been published by Pragya Chandni and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you share with us what initially inspired you to pursue a career in law and Solicitors thereafter? considering your diverse experience across various legal domains?

I am an ardent believer of the famous quote “If you think small, your world will be small. If you think big, your world will be big.” — by Paulo Coelho.

I am a first-generation lawyer and right from childhood I had seen my father Dr. Sudhir Nanandkar handling several sensitive and high-profile cases as a Forensic Expert and his job profile required him to be constantly updated about not only medical expertise but applicable laws as well for which, he even enrolled for LLB. My father obviously could not practise law but he inspired me to take it up as a profession. My decision was further crystalized when I saw my mother Mrs. Neeta Nanandkar helping kids with special abilities and needs as a Counsellor and Special Educator, fighting for their rights and inclusion in the society. Thus, I always wanted to choose a profession which was not only empowering but also gave me a sense of purpose. 

My horizons were further broadened when I started my internship with a Solicitor firm at fort “Vivek Kantawala & Co.” and my Mentor, Mr. Vivek Kantawala motivated me to push beyond my comfort zone and I embarked on a journey to become a Solicitor. This journey was marked by rigorous preparation for the Solicitors examination, which I successfully cleared.

I am thus deeply grateful for the opportunities and people that shaped my journey till date and today as a seasoned lawyer with fourteen years of experience, I carry forward my multitudinous enriching experiences with pride.

With your extensive background in Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Real Estate, White Collar Crime, Shipping and more, could you walk us through a pivotal moment in your career that solidified your passion for Litigation?

I am extremely thankful for the opportunities and trust of my seniors throughout my career and it has been a constant source of impetus for me. Though my foray into the diverse legal landscape of Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Insolvency and Bankruptcy, Real Estate, White Collar Crime and Shipping was not a deliberate choice, it was a natural evolution guided by the legal stalwarts that I have worked with throughout my career, coupled with my enthusiasm and constant thirst for knowledge resulted in strengthening my business development skills and strong clientele. 

I have worked on several complex and enthralling matters in my career and regardless of its nature, every matter has been a stepping stone for my professional growth but pivotal moment of career was when I was impelled by a Hon`ble Judge of The Hon’ble Bombay City Civil Court to argue a case despite me being a fresher who was still exploring possibilities of Litigation and Non-litigation! It was a memorable and scary experience as I had to prepare my submissions in just one hour. I distinctly remember, me and my opponent, both freshers, tried to wriggle out of the situation by calling our respective seniors to court, but they were made to sit behind us and we were asked to argue the case. In retrospect, I did not choose litigation, litigation chose me! making me forever indebted to this Learned Judge of Hon’ble Bombay City Civil Court! I must admit after this incident I have not looked back. 

What are the causes you feel strongly about?

I come from a family which believes in giving back to the society and right from childhood, my parents have instilled in me the values and virtues of empathy, compassion, and quality conscience, encouraging me to volunteer in several pro bono campaigns. I strongly believe that we need better resources and employment opportunities for kids with special abilities and needs which can be achieved through inclusion alone, which necessitates combined efforts from government authorities and society for expeditious and effective implementation. Further, issues pertaining to awareness in respect of women’s rights and equal representation deserve to be addressed at a larger level.

Having worked with various reputable firms, what valuable lessons did you learn about the legal profession and the intricacies of your practice areas?

I am blessed to have worked with various reputed law firms in my career, which offered me invaluable exposure of litigation and non-litigation cases at domestic and international level, helping me enhance my knowledge of law, oratory skills and analytical thinking. These experiences made me proficient in courtroom advocacy and after court management with strategic use of skills, experience, and court craft. Thus, as lawyers we need to be constantly updated and ready to learn and adapt as and when required.

I can sum it up by saying that there is no shortcut to success and it is a rewarding road filled with thrilling challenges, which ultimately lead to triumph! 

I am happy and honoured to be part of Phoenix Legal now and I am confident that I can contribute significantly to the firm’s expansion and success.

Your journey reflects a blend of corporate representation, high-stakes disputes, and involvement in significant cases. Could you share a memorable experience from your time advising and representing well-known companies before the NCLT, RERA Tribunal, or other courts?

In my legal career spanning fourteen years, I have handled some high-profile cases, each carrying its own weight of significance but some cases challenge you to think out-of-box   and are one of a kind. I had opportunity to represent two reputed gaming companies in a defamation suit before the Hon’ble Bombay City Civil Court against “John Doe/Ashok Kumar” unknown or unidentified persons, who were reportedly posting defamatory content about the makers and investors and their video game on Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. The miscreants were targeting the two companies, their promoters, and their ambassador on various social media platforms by posting posts, tweets, messages, videos and spreading rumours that the game was conceptualised by late actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Thus, causing “irreparable damage” to the companies’ reputation. We had to obtain an interim order / “John Doe” Order from the Hon’ble Bombay City Civil Court urgently to restrict these several unknown people from spreading defamatory rumours. This case was unique as the obligations of Intermediaries at that point of time were unclear and it was easy for them to shrug their responsibility by taking a stand that they were merely intermediate platforms, having limited liabilities. It was enthralling to explore and highlight the interplay between the then existing laws pertaining to Intermediaries and their liabilities towards the content uploaded by unknown miscreants and we were successful in obtaining the “John Doe” Order and was reported in various newspapers and social media platforms. This case honed my abilities to navigate through a high-pressure environment and accentuated the importance of innovative legal solutions.

With a notable track record of handling complex matters such as mergers, insolvency cases, and high-profile disputes, what challenges have you encountered, and how did you overcome them?

I believe that most complex situations can be diffused easily with an out-of-box thinking and calm mind. I have learnt this with my own set of trial & error experiences, especially when stakes are high for clients and time is of essence, every strategic step matters. I must emphasize that handling a particular case can never have a straight-jacket formula solution, it involves several permutations and combinations of cautious interpretation of laws, industry-specific expertise, communication with non-legal professionals /officials, managing compliance burdens, continuous research and developing cost-effective solutions. 

I distinctly remember one of my clients approaching me with a peculiar problem. Client had availed loan from a reputed bank for building a resort at Nagpur and though bank was disbursing money on one hand and it was being recovered on other hand, with interest. Thus, not actually helping the client to apply the said money for resort construction and interest simply went on mounting in crores. Client tried closing the account but the same was not allowed by the bank and bank further refused to release original property documents, making it difficult for client to approach other banks or entities. Client later realised discrepancies in the documents establishing forgery of crucial documents.  Thereafter the bank declared the client NPA and sued them before the Hon’ble National Company Law Tribunal for alleged non-paid loan amounts. Superficially, it looked like a normal debt and default case, hence the Hon’ble Tribunal was initially inclined to admit the petition against the client, as there were no precedents allowing forensic audit by Hon’ble Tribunal and not many cases on evergreening of loans. Thus, we had to highlight the evergreening committed by bank along with the forgery of documents committed by officials of bank owing to personal vendetta against the promoter of client company, which is when our application seeking forensic audit of bank`s documents was allowed by the Hon’ble Tribunal. I would thus say, a little out-of-box thinking goes a long way. 

Considering your vast experience and insights gained throughout your career, what advice would you offer to law students or recent graduates embarking on their legal journey? How can they navigate the complexities of the legal profession effectively?

In an era of mindless herd mentality and allure of firm remunerations, it is essential for law graduates to ascertain what drives and motivates them at an early stage, so that focused efforts can be invested in a particular area of Law. For example: whether one enjoys vibrancy of court or not, will aid a person in determining whether litigation is their calling or not, failing which burnout or scattered exertions will be an inevitable consequence. 

Thus, the key is to not to trade passion for glory, enjoy the thrill of challenges which often are opportunities in disguise and stay abreast of these evolving trends and developments as the dynamics of the legal profession keep fluctuating.

Get in touch with Sneha Nanandkar-

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Most Popular

To Top