Kunal Kashyap graduated from KIIT Law School in 2014. He has interned at various top law firms and corporate like Udwadia Udeshi & Argus, DSK Legal and Tata Motors to name a few. During college, He also had the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant at Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR University of Law and Indian Council of Social Science Research, Gangtok.
As a law student he has been quite active and participated in various co-curricular activities. He has also won various essay writing competitions including KIIT University NSS Essay Writing Competition and fourth position in Essay Writing Competition organized by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. By the time he graduated, he had received a job offer from Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Ltd. and is currently working there as a Legal Manager.
We have taken this opportunity to ask him about the several decisive moments in his career amongst other things including:
- Law school experience at KIIT Law School
- Internships and co-curricular activities
- Winning essay competitions
- Recruitment and work at Mahindra
How would you introduce yourself to the legal fraternity?
Warm Hello to all the readers of this wonderful initiative SuperLawyer! I am a corporate lawyer born and brought up in Siliguri, the gateway to the Queen of Hills – Darjeeling. I attained my law degree from School of Law, KIIT University with a specialization in Business Law. I am presently associated with Mahindra Finance as an in-house lawyer for the past 1.6 years. Besides, my interests also flow in areas related to blogging, reading and owning a startup.
How did you decide to choose law as a career?
Law in particular was never a path for me to reach my goals which have always been guided by creativity. It all began to fall into place when I was in my 12th standard and this “law firm with huge financial remuneration” bug hit me. Once I got into the law school, I started understanding the nuances of this field. I saw that I could be creative in this sphere of education and at the same time be independent on its completion, and this is what motivated me to the core.
As a graduate of School of Law, KIIT University, have you faced any bias? What would you say to the future legal graduates of KIIT?
I feel bias is a subjective expression, and use of such term is far away from reality. I was placed at the beginning of my final semester.
The brand NLU gives an edge to students from NLU’s but that has to be looked with positivity and hence, a non-NLU student should always be on his/her toes and become a ideal material for industrial recruitment. The resources available are similar for both sets of recipients and one need to grab the best from them.
What were your areas of interest during your graduation?
My area of interest during graduation and still is anything related to the Business of Law. The commercial impact of the application of law is what excites me. I always try to keep myself updated in this area and try to build an opinion on such kinds of news.
You have worked for Udwadia Udeshi & Argus Partners, Tata Motors, DSK Legal, TRAI, Transparency International India etc. as an intern. Our readers would be quite curious to know about the work you had to do there.
Internships are an integral part of the development of a law student to a lawyer, and I was very particular about it. Thanks to the great bunch of seniors I interacted with! My internships with such known brands were a result of planned approach and a continuous analysis of what could be good for me.
You will find my internships at array of areas, which was mainly because I wanted to have a feel of where my interest would ultimately lie. While the work at Udwadia Udeshi gave me a hang of the compliance activity, I gained an experience of drafting and litigation at Tata Motors & DSK Legal. TRAI was more about sharpening my research skills and also to understand how regulatory authority works.
Every internship had its importance as they were done with a lot of passion & dedication to learn and so was the experience at Transparency International India wherein I worked on the eradication of corruption at PSU’s and on the laws involving the same. (I was also offered a lifetime membership at TII, on starting a successful initiative called “ALAC – Advocacy & Legal Advice Centre” which aims for social empowerment through Legal Awareness).
You’ve also worked at Centre for Disability Studies, NALSAR and Indian Council of Social Science Research, Gangtok as a Research Assistant. Please tell us about the application process and your experience at both these places.
Working with CDS, NALSAR under the guidance of eminent Professor Amita Dhanda was one of the best activities that I could do in an around 2nd Year of my law school. I had applied through email, on which I was selected post interview and was a part of a team that assisted in the drafting of First Country Report on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Working as a research assistant at ICSSR was more of an inter-college selection wherein I was selected to conduct a survey for the Government of India in the city of Gangtok to understand the functioning and the role of the police machinery and its impact on the common public. It was a great fun and a learning experience.
Did you find that your law school education had prepared you sufficiently for your internships and job?
I completely believe that everything I could do or achieve was all because of the kind of training we received at our law school. All thanks to the set of experienced faculty line up that we had and the seniors along with our friends who have become an integral part of the extended family by now.
Please give our readers few tips on acing essay writing competitions.
(Among other competitions, Kunal managed to secure the first position in KIIT University NSS Essay Writing Competition and fourth position in Essay Writing Competition organized by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.)
I have always loved expressing myself through write-ups. To ace competitions like these, one has to understand the target audience and the most important tip is to be creative while remaining original. It should be an opinionated piece which tends to bring a new thought process and not just re-surfacing the material already published and calling it research.
How important do you think are mooting, debating, etc. in shaping the legal career of a law student?
I consider all these activities as confidence-building measures. I believe the skill sets come with time and experience, which is the maturity to handle various situations. I believe what is more important is to have an attitude & passion towards learning. The more one gets into all these activities full throated, the sharper and skilled one becomes and what better place to try than in a Law School!
How did you go about bagging your job of a Legal Manager at Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Services Ltd? Please tell us about the recruitment process at M&M?
I was taken at Mahindra Finance through the process of campus recruitment. We had two rounds of interview. In the 1st round we had a situation given to us to check our skill-sets and the 2nd round was more on the confidence element and the attitude to learn. Fortunately, my answers clicked with the recruiters and I bagged the job in my 1st Campus Interview itself.
We at Mahindra Group have a stable HR Policy. All applications for internship & recruitment are to be routed through the HR Team to the concerned department.
What kind of legal work do you get there? What is the most challenging aspect of your job? How is the experience so far?
I believe I represent the most important department of my organization that has a very dynamic role for an In-house Lawyer. My daily activity is to advise the best practices for conduct of businesses and minimise the number of legal risks against the company through an informed legal advice.
In the company we also look after a portfolio comprising of stressed assets and try to close them through legal tools. This is the most challenging and the interesting part of our role. There is not a single day when we don’t have a new and challenging assignment.
Many lawyers say that the first year after graduation is the most difficult year. How has been your first year after graduation?
Frankly, yes it is difficult because it is not easy to change gears from a law student to a potential game changer employee. I was blessed to have my seniors who showed a lot of patience and gave me a chance to learn by myself so that I could explore and find a niche area within the framework which could be my forte.
The biggest challenge as an in-house lawyer was to understand the culture of an organization and to suggest best legal practices within the framework which was a Win-Win situation for all.
If you could re-live your five years in Law school, is there something you would do differently?
The expectations and dreams are never ending phenomena and they will always remain under-achieved. Having said that, frankly speaking, on a personal level, if one thing if I could do differently, that would be to have more FUN.
Where do you see yourself a few years down the line? Do you aspire to become someone you look upto?
That’s a difficult question. Ten years down the line I would see myself as an established In-House Lawyer and trying things at something new and exciting as always.
I don’t aspire to be like somebody but I do believe in continuously analysing my strengths and weaknesses and working hard towards them and becoming a better human being.
What is your message for our readers?
Finally, to all the young and dynamic readers mainly law students I would like to say that it was not long ago that I was on the other side of the line. Guys have fun, enjoy and live the moment. Analyse your capabilities and live your life with passion and dedication. Never forget that you are what you are because of your parents. Show some gratitude and try to be as good as them.
Signing Off! Cheers!!