Nitika Marya graduated from University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh in 2013. She did her internships with D.P. Ahuja & Co ( Patents & Coprights Attorney) in Kolkata, Lenovo- legal department, Gurgaon, SPS Bhullar, Punjab & Haryana High Court and also assisted Sivana with their contracts- a Recruitment Company in Muscat.
At Vahura, Nitika is specifically responsible for recruiting junior lawyers with an experience of 0 to 3 years in the Delhi-NCR region and also looking into Candidate engagement and Assesment.
In this interview, she talks to us about:
- Her experience at University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University.
- Primary professional ethics she follows.
- Unconventional start to her legal profession.
- Other fields a corporate lawyer can try apart from joining law firms.
Most of our readers are young lawyers and law students. How will you introduce yourself to them?
I am a consultant at Vahura, a specialized legal talent search partner and a People’s person. I love networking and learning more about people from different backgrounds and have always been a sports person and a health freak. I have learnt from the experiences and situations in life and focused on developing myself into a better person with every passing day. I like to focus on being positive and healthy and working hard in the areas of my interest. I always want to be curious in my life.
Please tell a bit of what motivated you to pursue law as a career.
I was always interested in exploring the nexus between law and the Government Services. I always wanted a career in the Defense Services and an opportunity to work with the JAG Department had always been the reason behind my choosing a legal education and career. I had an opportunity to witness the value of a strong legal education and the impact it could have on an individual and societal level. Thanks to my uncle who was a Sessions Judge in the Panjab and Haryana High Court – someone who influenced me greatly and has been a role model to me in my entire life.
Tell us about your college life at University Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University.
I really immersed myself fully into the college experience. I was chosen to be the Class representative and was genuinely interested in my education and believed in the need for practical. I was always a volunteer for field work on a number of projects that included issues like drug abuse and rehabilitation. I was not a keen orator however but never shied away from expressing my opinions. I always participated in all the extracurricular activities and as is the case with most college students, I travelled extensively with my friends.
Did you find that your law school education had prepared you sufficiently for the many tasks you were required to execute during your internships and later at your job?
There was very little assistance with respect to recruitments in its own way though it made me very independent. The pressure of seeking my own opportunities helped me refine my research skills and organizing abilities, which is something I have carried into my career. In a sense, law school made me very self sufficient.
What is your take on working at a smaller law firm in early years of career rather than working at a very big law firm?
If you’re looking for greater professional exposure and independent experiences, it’s always good to work in a smaller law firm. A smaller firm provides its employees a more diversified profile of work and encourages an attitude that is increasingly less dependent on external guidance. Spending time in a smaller law firm invariably leads to greater confidence, post which is good for someone to explore other opportunities.
What are the primary professional ethics you follow while at work?
I try to reflect the clients and the candidates I interact with, ensuring that I am well prepared for all discussions and negotiations. Etiquette is important and I always like to ensure that I have a complete understanding of what works where. I like to think that I should strike a balance between confidentiality and transparency wherein I never over sell or attempt to make an opportunity or a profile seem like something it is not. I like to call a spade a spade and by doing so, I earn the trust of whoever I am working with – something which is very valuable to me.
Why is there an unconventional start to your legal profession (joining Vahura)?
As I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to get into law because of my interest in Defense. As I continued to research opportunities in the law, I realized that there were very few resources and people who could offer guidance to young law students, particularly those interested in a more holistic perspective that looked beyond the already existing, conventional choices. I wanted to act as a bridge between students and the system and my work at Vahura allows me to do just that. You could say that it’s a way of reinterpreting the age that if you want to change the system, you have to be a part of the system and with Vahura, I interact closely with legal professionals and the industry, gaining insights into its working every day.
What gets you to wake up every day?
I’m excited about my work. Vahura offers me the opportunity to meet people who are interesting. I love my colleagues and the time I spend with them at work is precious. I feel like I’m getting closer to bridge the gap between professionals and students– a purpose that initially led me to Vahura.
What is the best thing about your present job?
I love meeting people. Vahura has given me opportunities to organize and speak at various platforms like IDIA where I have the chance to interact with young law students who are seeking answers to questions regarding their career and educations. I also look forward to meet my colleagues everyday. I also love organizing events and Vahura allows me to be in the forefront of interesting, curated experiences such as the Private Commercial Mediation Conclave – a conference co-hosted by the Centre for Advanced Mediation and Practices. I have some great memories from the Vahura – IDIA football tournament held every year where members of law firms from across the country meet up to play against each other, in the name of a good cause. I have spoken to SSB Army aspirants about my experiences taking the entrance exams and recently spoke to the IDIA scholars about preparing for the civil services exams.
I feel like I’ve evolved as a professional and as a person I’ve become more confident and less shy of my abilities. I am always curious and feel like Vahura pushes me to learn more and more about myself.
What are the other related fields where a corporate lawyer can try their hand apart from joining law firms and corporate houses?
Government services and the Defense offer a range of options – there are always opportunities in JAG and the Civil Services. In addition, there are a number of Start Ups and smaller firms that are constantly looking for enthusiastic, young lawyers who are hungry to learn more and work hard on the job. Big law firms and corporate houses needn’t always be the answer and if anyone is interested, I would always be happy to speak to them one on one to discuss their concerns and answer their queries.
What would be the one misconception you’d say you’d always held about real life legal work till the time you were an intern but changed once you started working as a lawyer?
At an internship I always assisted the Senior. I have now understood that I need to make my own decisions with respect to my career and my life.
What would be your parting message to law students who want to be successful in law?
I might be repeating myself however it is very important to always stay faithful to what you want to do. Even if what you want is not a majority opinion, that’s fine and this could still mean that you have opportunities ahead. You do not always have to go to a big law firm or corporate but you can always join a startup etc. and find yourself the way Vahura helped me find myself.