Can you share a bit about your educational journey and how you pursue law as a career?
I originate from a quaint town in Gujarat where, a decade ago, career choices such as law, journalism, creative writing, and hotel management were not common for females. When I expressed my aspiration to pursue a career in law to my parents, their reaction was beyond surprise. They recommended that I gain firsthand experience by shadowing a seasoned lawyer before making a definitive decision. Consequently, I immersed myself in the legal field, accompanying and observing an accomplished lawyer in various cases spanning banking, constitutional, employment, and family laws. The diverse and intricate nature of the legal profession left a profound impression on me, ultimately solidifying my determination to pursue law as a career. This experience broadened my understanding of the legal landscape and instilled in me a deep appreciation for the multifaceted challenges and responsibilities inherent in the field.
You’ve pursued advanced degrees in International Law and Legal research. What drew you to specialize in these areas?
During my undergraduate studies, I actively participated in moot court competitions, assuming roles as a speaker and researcher. While I thoroughly enjoyed the entire moot court experience, I found a particular passion for research. Delving into legal research became more than necessary; it became a profound interest. This inclination led me to explore opportunities to publish papers and interact with esteemed academicians at conferences and symposiums. Recognizing the significance of contributing substantively to the legal discourse through research and publishing papers, I pursued a master’s degree. Someone once told me that just raising questions doesn’t make you people worthwhile; finding solutions does.
You’ve had diverse roles, from Legal Assistant in law firms to your current position as a Senior Researcher and Coordinator. How did these experiences contribute to your growth and specialization in international law?
My stint in the corporate sector and various law firms served as a journey of self-discovery, compelling me to confront the realization that these roles may not be my lifelong passion. However, I wholeheartedly acknowledge that each experience played a crucial role in shaping my personal and professional growth. During my internship, a pivotal lesson resonated deeply – the significance of every task, regardless of its scale. It became evident that the success of a case or project isn’t the result of individual brilliance but rather the outcome of a meticulously orchestrated collaboration. Whether assuming the role of a clerk, lawyer, or researcher, every individual in the chain contributes uniquely, and the collective effort propels success. This realization has ingrained in me a commitment to execute my responsibilities to the best of my abilities, regardless of my role in the process.
Could you tell us more about your role as a Senior Researcher and Coordinator at the international consultancy World of Legal Research? What kind of research-based consultancy do you provide to the government, law schools, and academicians?
We provide a variety of services. Some of the services involve a project where we have to study impact assessment, create analytical research reports, and assist with reviewing the research papers. Additionally, we are more inclined towards assisting our legal fraternity with our efficient legal research team, specializing in diverse fields of law.
As a Visiting Faculty to many universities in India and abroad, you teach Public International Law and Legal Research Methodology. What inspired you to take up a teaching role alongside your research work?
When I was a student, the thought often crossed my mind – what if certain topics were approached differently? Would they become more intriguing? It wasn’t until I visited conferences in the southern part of India that I stumbled upon a fascinating realization. Among the accomplished individuals, be it a thriving businessman, a seasoned lawyer, or a distinguished doctor, there was a common thread – academic involvement. It brought to my mind Chanakya’s words about teachers never being ordinary; they hold the power of construction and destruction. This insight fueled my aspiration to contribute meaningfully to the academic realm. As I transitioned into the role of a researcher, my desire crystallized into a passion for teaching law students the art and science of research. It’s not just about acquiring knowledge but understanding the intricacies and methodologies that make research a captivating and essential facet of the legal profession.
Your experience includes working in law firms in Australia and India. How did these experiences shape your understanding of legal practice on an international scale?
Lawfirms became my school of perfection, teaching me the invaluable skills of meticulousness and the art of thriving under deadlines. But beyond the technicalities, it was a vibrant classroom where I learned to navigate the intricate tapestry of human diversity. Working with people from different cultures was a daily lesson in understanding, patience, and respect. There were instances where a case forced me to reconcile my personal beliefs with my client’s position. The legal profession throws a unique challenge at you – dealing with ethical dilemmas that demand a delicate balance. The realization that every client, boss, or judge is a distinct chapter in your professional story. Each encounter is an opportunity to embrace diversity, not just in your home country but in foreign lands. It taught me the importance of respecting diverse cultures and opinions, a lesson that goes beyond the legal arena and shapes how I approach life.
You’ve presented papers on various topics, from health inequalities during COVID-19 to discrimination in legal education. Can you highlight a paper that you found particularly impactful or that received significant attention?
In 2023, I had the privilege of presenting a paper at the Center for Criminal Law, University of Oxford (UK), addressing the alarming issue of ancestral rapes in the state of Haryana during the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper garnered recognition and was honored with an award for being the most passionate presentation. Subsequently, I received emails from faculty members and fellow paper presenters at the conference, affirming that this problem extends beyond India to encompass every country and culture. The correspondence highlighted a shared sentiment that societies tend to suppress or disregard such issues, choosing to deny their existence. The suggestions and solutions proposed in my paper resonated with the international audience, earning appreciation from diverse perspectives. It was a powerful acknowledgment of the universality of the problem and the importance of proactive and compassionate approaches to address it on a global scale.
Your involvement in founding an NGO called ‘Madad’ during the COVID-19 pandemic is commendable. Could you share more about the initiatives and impact of this organization?
I wouldn’t like to talk much about my NGO as our ancestors say that if you help someone with your right hand, your left hand shouldn’t even know about it. I would just say that at whatever stage you are in life, try to help others, not for the betterment of society, but for yourself, so that you can face yourself in the mirror at the end of the day.
You’ve received several awards and honors for your contributions, including the Youngest Leader Award from Rotary International. Which of these achievements holds a special place in your heart, and why?
In the third year of my undergrad studies, I received an award for the best position paper at Harvard University. That paper made me realize that regardless of being from a small town or being from the vernacular medium of studies, you can if you really want to achieve something in life.
You’ve held various editorial roles and served as chairman in some committees while studying at the University of Sydney. How have these positions enriched your professional journey?
These positions equipped me with essential skills such as time management and strategic planning. Additionally, they provided valuable lessons on effective teamwork. Each extracurricular engagement in Law School imparts qualities beyond the teachings of books or academic activities.
Finally, based on your journey so far, what advice would you give law graduates just starting their careers in the legal field?
Well, I’m not experienced enough to give any advice. I’d reframe it as learning that I can share from the mistakes I made in my journey.
1. Take your internships seriously. You will gain something from every task you do during your internship, even if it is just carrying your senior’s briefcase and/or documents. For example, you’ll be able to be a part of his conversations with clients and people around in court, how one carries his business in the legal field, etc.; this will teach you much more about the practicalities that even a subject in law school wouldn’t.
2. Whether you want to join corporate or litigation, publish papers and take part in conferences. Publish or perish is a thumb rule. If someone googles you on the internet, and you have something published, you will get brownie points.
3. There is no shortcut to success. It might sound like the cheesiest line. However, life is not 2 minutes noodles. Instant gratification. Instant Fame. All these are not to be focused upon. Do smart work, but don’t get scared away from hard work. Thus, creating a strong base first is very important, because if you sow well, you’ll reap the fruits throughout your life. Choice is always yours.
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