Saurav Kumar graduated from National Law Institute University, Bhopal in 2012. After doing various litigation internships at both the High Court and Supreme Court, he was recruited by New India Assurance Company Limited.
Among all his academic commitments he played a lot of sports in law school and was prominent member of Sports Committee at NLIU. He had always planned to pursue a career in government sector since his days in law school and is currently working as an Administrative Officer-Legal at the New India Assurance Co. Ltd.
In this interview he talks about:
- Studying at NLIU, Bhopal
- Litigation internships
- Recruitment procedure at NIACL
How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers who are primarily young and aspiring lawyers?
Hello, I am Saurav Kumar, 2012 batch graduate from National Law Institute University, Bhopal, currently working as an administrative officer-legal at The New India Assurance Co. Ltd. I am an extrovert by nature and have likelihood for all things outdoor. I like interacting with new people, exploring new things and travelling a lot.
What motivated you to choose law as a career?
Honestly speaking, choosing law as a career wasn’t much of a planned move. I was exploring many options after passing 10thand I found law very interesting as a career option. Initially I was attracted because of fancy newspaper articles related to whole court room drama and other high profile cases where lawyers had very important role to play but slowly after reading more about legal profession my perception changed a lot.
Why did you decide to study law? Did you ever think of alternate career options?
After my 10+2, I was lucky to have been ably guided by my father and some of his friends who are lawyers of good repute about the various avenues that the field of law has to offer. So despite having chosen science as my stream after 10th, there was always an inclination towards law. Personally too, I was of the opinion that I had a better aptitude for legal studies than anything else.
Tell us in detail about your time at NLIU. Which activities did you participate in?
My involvement was more in campus activities than the regular stuff like mooting and debating etc. which is the general trend among most of the students in NLUs. As is often appropriately said that college is not only where you grow academically but also evolve as a person, so has been my time at NLIU. While learning the nuances of law it has made me ever more confident as a person. The memories and the self-dependency that the hostel life gave me are things I would forever cherish.
At NLIU, you were associated with student committees. What skills did you acquire while serving various committees?
I was not directly associated with any committees, except sport committee in final year but I always enjoyed working with my seniors and my batch mates in organizing various events. Working as a team always helps you to learn from others. It also gave me invaluable lessons in man-management and organizational skills, team-work and keeping others motivated in a unit. I was lucky to get support from students across the batches whenever I needed, which I think was possible only because of one mantra I always followed “give respect to others if you want to get respected by them”.
What kind of internships did you do in your law school? Which internships will you consider to be right at the top and why? Did you have institutional support for procurement of internships?
Most of my internships have been litigation based, which I got by applying directly or through personal contacts. I interned with advocates of High Court and Supreme Court but the one I would put on the top is with Mr. Rajiv Sinha, advocate at the Civil Court. Lower Court is a court of fact as opposed to HC and SC which are essentially courts of law. It is the first stepping stone. I gained valuable experience in drafting, pleading, framing of arguments, research work etc. Also there is a lot of court procedure one does not simply learn through the procedure codes. Now that I am working on field, my work mostly involving supervision of lawyers, I can vouch that the nitty-gritties learnt at the trial level have been very handy to me.
You are currently working at the New India Assurance Company Limited as law officer. How did you go about getting a job there? Please tell us about the recruitment process at NIACL.
I was preparing for the judicial services examination, notification for most of the state judiciary was delayed that year. In the meanwhile I came to know about notification for recruitment of legal officer in NIACL. Recruitment process is similar to most of the PSUs. There are two stages, written test and interview. Recruitment process in all four public sector general insurance company was not conducted as it was required in last few years, resulting into shortage of officers in various departments. Many of the seniors officers are at the stage of retirement in next few years, therefore these companies are planning to recruit a large number of officers in upcoming years. There are vacancies for legal officers in most of the offices; it is a very good opportunity for new graduates. Our batch was first in that process and it will continue for at least next 2-3 years.
What does NIACL look for in prospective employees? Is the induction process any different from Law Firms?
I don’t know much about the induction process in law firms; people working in law firms can guide you better. After joining NIACL we had attended 12 weeks training program in Pune. During our induction training basic information regarding various departments was given by respective department heads. In the last stage of training special session was conducted for practical knowledge. As a legal officer they expect us to be well-versed with the basic concepts of procedural laws and some other important subjects like tort, contract etc. Most of us were not good in insurance related laws but at the time of training they spent enough time on these subjects.
Tell us about your job interview. What kinds of questions were asked? Do you remember any of the questions? How did you prepare for it?
Before the interview, we were asked to fill a sheet which consists of questions regarding academics, co-curricular activities and some other general questions. They asked a few question based on whatever I had written on that sheet, after that they asked questions from Evidence, CPC, Contract, Torts and IPC. I remember most of the questions; they asked a few hypothetical questions related to vicarious liability, strict liability, defamation, void agreement and voidable contracts. They also asked direct questions related to topics like res judicata, estoppel, injunction, and general defences etc.
What kind of work do you have to do there? How is the experience so far?
I got posted in the divisional office, my work is mostly related to motor third party claims, consumer cases, workman compensation cases etc. We also represent the company in matters of arbitration. In higher offices like regional office and head office people also have work related to ombudsman cases, agreement drafting and other corporate related work. Up to scale 3 normally officers handle the department in which they are specialized but after that they will have to take additional burden of other department. In my office I am the only legal specialist, therefore the workload is more than what I was expecting at the time of joining. As a young officer we are getting support from the higher authorities but at the same time expectation is also very high. There are pros and cons in every job but my experience is very satisfactory till now.
Does NIACL take interns? What is the process for same?
NIACL is not taking interns but during our training program many new officers have suggested the higher authority to start taking interns to get better quality and giving opportunity to the students to understand actual work in general insurance sector which I think is very limited at present. This will help both, the company as well as the students. Our General Manager (HR) has responded positively, we are hoping that NIACL will start taking interns like other PSUs in coming years.
Many law students strongly believe that getting a job while in law school s mostly about securing a high GPA. Would you agree?
Not necessarily. It largely depends on the sector you are aiming for. As far as the corporate sector goes, good internships and publications weigh equally. As for the public sector and government jobs, a minimum percentage stipulated by them respectively is sufficient. A high GPA might always help you getting good internships though.
If you could re-live your 5 years in Law school, is there something you would do differently?
One could always say that something or other could have been better but as far as I see it was perfect and given a chance to live another 5 years at NLIU, I would live them the same way I did 3 years ago.
Lastly, what would be your parting message for our readers?
Always try to make decisions on your own, taking advice or sharing experience is good but at the end you should feel comfortable in whatever you are doing. Something can’t be right or wrong only because majority is in favour of that. Instead of complaining, try to make the most out of the opportunities which you are getting during 5 years in law school. Lastly and most importantly enjoy every moment and contribute as much you can to the place where you are spending the most important half decade of your life.