Associates, In-House Counsels & Advocates

Sanjit Ganguli, Legal Manager, ICICI Bank, on roles and responsibilities of a legal counsel; and the finance and banking sector

Sanjit Ganguli graduated from the Symbiosis Law School, Pune in 2018. He currently works with the Corporate Legal Group at ICICI Bank. He regularly advises on, negotiate and structure domestic and cross-border transactions for the Corporate, Project and Structured Finance portfolios of the Bank. He is also actively involved in loan and asset recovery proceedings for the Bank before the National Company Law Tribunal and other forums.

In this interview, we speak to him about:

  • Roles and responsibilities as Legal Manager at ICICI Bank
  • Experience as an in-house counsel
  • Importance of Certificate Courses for Law Students
  • Bagging internships at top-tier law firms
  • Importance of writing research papers.

 

 

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOURSELF FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR READERS?

Sanjit Ganguli is currently a legal manager at ICICI bank. He graduated from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. During his time at college, he participated in various moot court competitions, parliamentary debates and Model United Nations both at a national and international level. He has also published and presented papers at conferences and journals of national repute. He has interned with numerous top law firms in India with a strong academic record. In 2014 he was the only resident Indian invited to chair/judge a committee at the Ivy League Model United Nations held in India that year. Sanjit is an enthusiastic young lawyer who is always looking for new opportunities to learn, improve his skills and hone his craft

Apart from the law, Sanjit is a budding wildlife and street photographer, a die-hard Bengaluru Football Club fan and a huge connoisseur of food with an insatiable appetite to travel and explore new frontiers. Sanjit is an alumnus of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School in Bangalore.

AS LEGAL MANAGER AT ICICI BANK, WHAT ARE YOUR ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES?

I work with the Corporate Legal Group at ICICI Bank. My role largely entails, drafting documents, structuring, negotiating and advising on domestic and cross border finance transactions that the Bank is a part of. I also work on debt and asset recovery proceedings before the National Company Law Tribunal and various other forums.

DID YOU ALWAYS INTEND TO WORK AS AN IN-HOUSE COUNSEL OR DID YOU HAVE OTHER PLANS? WHEN DID YOU ZERO IN ON THIS CAREER TRAJECTORY?

When I was in my fourth year, I was interning with the Finance practice at AZB Partners and I really enjoyed working in the Banking and Finance space. At that juncture, I felt that to succeed in this industry one required a thorough knowledge of the commercial aspect that the law was being employed for as well and ICICI Bank seemed to be the perfect fit for that. Also as in-house counsel, you get to learn every aspect of the Banking and Finance Industry and encounter a wide array of problems that require legal advice. I also have the privilege of working with and learning from not only some of the best legal minds in the country but some of the brightest and leading individuals of the finance sector in India.

DID YOU METICULOUSLY PLAN YOUR INTERNSHIPS? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS TO OFFER TO LAW STUDENTS WHO INTEND TO INTERN AT TOP-LEVEL LAW FIRMS?

Yes, I did have a basic road map. I explored both litigation and corporate law firms and various practice areas within corporate law such as capital markets, general corporate and Project/Banking and finance before deciding on my area of interest and then pursued internships in my desired field. For students looking to intern at a top level law firm, they must plan their dates and apply well in advance. Many firms have questionnaire/research questions with follow up interviews and one must prepare thoroughly for these and set aside time from their college activities for this. In my personal experience, a good performance at a moot court competition/research conference organized by a firm also goes a long way in securing an internship at the firm.

WHAT EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES WERE YOU INVOLVED IN AT SLS? HOW IMPORTANT ARE EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES TO A LAW STUDENT?

Law as a field of study offers the opportunity of multiple extra circulars (Research and Paper Publications/conferences, Moot courts, Parliamentary Debates, Model UN conferences, etc.) to enhance one’s research and oratory skills and me for one embraced all of the aforementioned with gusto. I maintain that a healthy mix of all these activities made my experience at SLS and unforgettable and thoroughly enriching one. Not only did these activities build my ability to build my analytical, research and soft skills it gave me the opportunity to travel across the country and in Asia, meet people from different law schools and legal professionals across the world from both common and civil law jurisdictions. These activities are hence not only academic and informative but also serve as huge networking opportunity which I believe is extremely essential for a young lawyer. I also had an engaging experience in student governance and was an active member of the Students’ Council or Student Advisory Board as it is now called at SLS and finished as Vice President at the Board.

HOW IMPORTANT DO YOU THINK CONDUCTING RESEARCH AND WRITING RESEARCH PAPERS FOR PUBLICATION ARE?

In my opinion, writing research papers are one of the important activities at a law school outside one’s curriculum. They help you delve deep and learn about various diverse areas of law the issues pertaining to them both in the present and the possibilities for the future. More than anything, while working on my publications I enjoyed the challenge of engaging multiple portals of research to arrive at the right answer to a research question. From burning the midnight oil in the library to circulating and questionnaires to your target audience, working on a research paper thoroughly improves one’s analytical skills

ARE THERE ANY WAYS OF LEARNING YOU OPTED FOR APART FROM CONVENTIONAL CLASSROOM LEARNING, LIKE CERTIFICATE COURSES? HOW INSTRUMENTAL DO YOU THINK THEY ARE IN HELPING A LAW STUDENT WIDEN HIS/HER KNOWLEDGE?

Yes, I took up various certificate courses in IPR, competition law, etc. while I was in college. They are extremely helpful in picking up legal knowledge which does not form part of the college curriculum and I find the knowledge gained through them extremely useful in my professional life. I also started pursuing my company secretary course while at college and that gives me a huge insight into the regulatory aspect of the law along with a detailed overview of the procedural requirements that a corporate lawyer should be aware of.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MOOTING BEING CONSIDERED A NON-NEGOTIABLE ACTIVITY IN MOST LAW SCHOOLS? DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR LAW STUDENTS WHO MOOT IN UNIVERSITY?

As someone who has mooted both domestically and internationally, I think participating in a moot court competition is an experience every law student should experience at least once. Mooting gives a law student a first-hand experience into the adversarial aspect of the law along with in-depth research into what is often a relevant and contentious point of law. This is, however, personal opinion and I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it is a non-negotiable activity as an extra-curricular activity. At Symbiosis, Pune however, we had Moot courts and mock trial advocacy regularly as part of our curriculum across our five years in various subjects ranging from Tort Law to Company Law to Criminal and Evidence Law which was something I personally enjoyed as we got to engage with the various subjects we were studying on a practical basis in a court room setting.

For students looking to Moot at university, I would encourage them to participate in moots in diverse and different areas of law. It really helps to broaden one’s view and to learn not just different areas of law but different legal systems as well. The differences of pleading before different forums across jurisdictions make each moot a challenging but very rewarding experience and this can work as a great launch pad to decide the field of law one would want to set out on.

DO YOU THINK LAW STUDENTS POSSESS A SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY? IF SO, HOW DO THEY FIND OUTLETS TO HELP SERVE SOCIETY BETTER?

I think the youth of today, irrespective of whatever field of study they are pursuing have a social responsibility to improve both the country and society. Law students because of their study of human rights backed by their strong constitutional awareness are strategically poised to help out in numerous NGO’s, think-tanks and even government organizations who working for the electoral, judicial and government reform as well as for the protection and upliftment of human rights/animal rights and the environment as well. Many of these organizations offer internships and later permanent positions which law students can take up.

At Symbiosis, Pune we had a Legal aid cell which would among various initiatives organize workshops for free legal aid for the underprivileged. I am sure law schools across the country have similar clubs/cells which help develop social responsibility in law students

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PARTING MESSAGE FOR OUR READERS WHO ARE COLLEGE STUDENTS?

Life at college is up there as my fondest memory. Always remember there are so many new avenues to learn. It is important not to get carried away by the pressure and rigours that come with college and enjoy the overall experience so that you can take away the most from it. A word of caution though, five years is a long time, make sure you have a basic plan and an end-game and while you enjoy five fantastic years with some of the best friends that you will make, never lose sight of that end-game.

 

 

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