Nandini Kumar is a practicing Media, Entertainment and Sports lawyer. She graduated from Government Law College, Mumbai in 2012. During law school, she participated in various co-curricular activities including moot court competitions, debates, and conferences. From her law school days, she was interested in IP laws and therefore, pursued internships accordingly. Her diligence paid off when she received a job offer from KAD Legal and she currently works as an Associate there.
We asked her to share her experiences and strategies she used over the years. In this interview, she talks about:
- Studying Law from GLC, Mumbai
- Work opportunities in media-entertainment and sports law
- Work profile at KAD Legal
Most of our readers are law students and young lawyers. How will you introduce yourself to them?
Hi, I am Nandini Kumar. I am a practicing lawyer with a special interest in media-entertainment and sports law. I pursued the B.L.S LL.B. degree offered by Government Law College, Mumbai after finishing my secondary education at Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram.
How would you describe your time at GLC, Mumbai? What are the co-curricular activities you took part in GLC?
Being a part of the oldest law college in the country was a great learning experience.
Since my school days, I have been involved in various social service activities and consequently, I chose to be a part of the Social Service League and Rotaract Club in college. I was also the Director of the Community Services, Rotaract Club in the second year.
What sort of internships did you do while in law school? How instrumental were these internships in helping you decide what field of law you wished to specialize in?
I have been interning since the first year of college. My first internship was with Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court, Mr. Vijay Hansaria who got me involved in a trademark litigation which made me inquisitive about intellectual property laws. Thereafter, I have interned at Krishna and Saurashtri, Walt Disney, Puneet Aggarwal (Advocate of Delhi High Court), Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverage Private Limited, Nishith Desai Associates and KAD Legal. These internships gave me a platform to understand the nuances of the legal profession. Most of my internships were related to intellectual property matters and drafting agreements and since I was blessed with amazing mentors at my internships, I think they played a pivotal role in my decision to pursue a career in the non-litigation media-entertainment space.
Do NLU students have an edge over the non-NLU students?
NLU students may have an edge over the non-NLU students when it comes to placements, however, I feel that each individual and their interest in learning the tricks of the trade are essential for kick-starting the career and continuous growth thereafter.
You began your professional career with KAD Legal Consultants and currently works as an Associate there. How did you secure your appointment?
I was offered a PPO at KAD Legal Consultants as I had done repetitive internships at the firm during and after the third year of college. I have had a wonderful learning experience since then at the firm.
The firm recruits associates based on the requirements of the firm. In the past, either the final year interns have been absorbed or experienced associates have been engaged after a series of interview, both oral and written.
What does your current work profile at KAD Legal Consultants consists of? Tell us a bit about the firm, your typical workday and the overall work/life balance.
My current work profile consists of trademark prosecution, media and entertainment which primarily involves drafting and negotiating agreements for production houses, music composers, directors, actors and other personnel of the Indian film and television industry, persons/ companies in digital media and sports persons. The firm is a boutique law firm with an expertise in the intellectual property and securities law related matters.
Typical work day starts at 9:30am and begins, without fail, by making a to-do list followed by drafting agreements, trademark work, client interaction and reading to update myself with the current affairs. Regarding work/life balance, just after graduation, my father gave me a book with various quotes and life lessons in relation to work/life balance. Two quotes out of the lot made a huge impact on me were “Life is not about work, office and clients. There is more to life. You need to socialize, entertain, relax and exercise. Don’t let life be meaningless” and “A person who stays late in office is not a hardworking person, instead he/she is a fool who doesn’t know how to manage work within the stipulated time. He/She is inefficient and incompetent in his work”. Initially it was difficult, but I have made best endeavours to finish work on time in order to have the luxury of having a work/life balance.
What brought you towards Media and Entertainment Law?
I come from a non-legal background, I had zero exposure to law before law school but I have grown up watching movies and it was extremely fascinating for me to understand how law protects the makers of movies, how brands are safeguarded, how law prohibits people from copying and manufacturing designs of a fashion designers. Intellectual property laws which form the basis of media-entertainment law made me understand these aspects and that’s why I chose to be a media-entertainment lawyer.
Tell us something about this new and emerging field of law that you practice?
Media-Entertainment and Sports law practice is niche and upcoming field of intellectual property law. What makes it interesting is that is still evolving which requires constant learning and interpretation of law.
What has been your strategy to deal with errors and mistakes? How would you suggest a young associate to deal with them?
As humans we all make mistakes. My strategy has been to accept the mistakes I have made, learn from the errors and avoid repeating them. I would advise young associates to own up to the mistakes and bring it to the attention of their senior as soon as possible. Also, have zero tolerance towards repetition of same mistakes.
Tell us about a case that you are particularly proud of. What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?
As an intern at KAD, I had assisted Mr. Kiran Desai (the Founding Partner) in drafting an endorsement agreement of a celebrity and was very excited and proud to see the hoardings of that endorsement. My parents got particularly excited to see my name in the credits of a movie, for which the firm had provided legal assistance.
As a media lawyer, I need to prepare for negotiations. To prepare for negotiations, I make it a point to understand the client’s needs, follow client instructions and know the agreement being negotiated inside out. I also try to have legal and logical reasoning for most of the negotiations that are put forward.
Does KAD Legal Consultants take interns? Please tell us the procedure. What do they look for in their prospective interns and employees?
Yes, KAD Legal does take interns. Law students can apply for internships by sending their resume along with the covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm believes in giving everyone a platform to learn. Prospective interns and employees are expected to be eager to apprehend the media-entertainment and sports law and the practical aspects of the related business. They are also expected to have clarity in thought process and expression.
Many lawyers would say that the actual learning takes place in the years of practice. How far would you say it is true? What was the case in your situation?
Actual’ learning does come with practice and also experience. The laws are the same for everyone. The practice and the experience provide the capability of applying and interpreting the law in the relevant situation that the client’s face. The practice and the ability to use the experience distinguish a “senior partner” from an “associate” and also a “good lawyer” from a “lawyer”. In my situation, I think I have also grown as a lawyer with time and have started identifying issue points better.
Many law school students aspire to secure a job. What do you think most are doing wrong, from your observations?
In today’s age, I don’t think there is anything wrong in aspiring to secure a job. It is important to understand, during the course of job, if the work excites you enough to want to learn and grow else it’s the waste of time and energy both of the employee and the employer.
Lastly, what would be your parting message for our readers?
Be open to learning and exploring. Think and apply your mind to every situation that appears before you. Especially, to the students who intend to intern, don’t consider any assignment given to be small or irrelevant. Good luck. 🙂