“The recent technological developments have brought opportunities as well as challenges for the courts, lawyers as well as clients”- Rajnish Kumar Jha, Founding Partner at Actus Legal 

This Interview has been published by Pragya Chandni and The SuperLawyer Team

Can you share with us the journey that led you to pursue a career in law, from your undergraduate studies in Political Science to co-founding Actus Legal Associates and Advocates?

While I was doing my undergraduate studies in Political Science, I found myself increasingly drawn to the application of law and its role in shaping societies. Throughout my studies, I tried to understand the dynamics of Indian polity and the interplay of power dynamics within legal systems. This academic foundation ignited a passion for law and advocacy within me.

Upon completing my graduation, I joined Campus Law Centre (CLC, DU). During my time there, apart from my studies, I actively participated in extracurricular activities such as being part of the Placement Assistance Council, Legal Aid, Debating Society etc., to develop a well-rounded understanding of legal practice.

After obtaining my law degree and gaining valuable experience working at a law firm, I felt compelled to establish my own practice. Alongside my like-minded batchmates, I co-founded Actus Legal Associates and Advocates with the vision of providing comprehensive legal services that prioritize client advocacy, prepare strategy for the clients and maintain absolute integrity. Understanding clients’ needs, concerns, and objectives allowed me to prepare our legal strategies accordingly, fostering trust and long-term relationships.

Through continuous learning, collaboration with colleagues, and a steadfast commitment to our core values, Actus Legal Associates and Advocates has flourished into a reputable litigation firm known for its professionalism, ethical standards, and unwavering pursuit of legal excellence.

Starting your career with M/s Bhachawat and Associates, what were some key lessons you learned about law practice during those initial months?

Starting my litigating career with M/s Bhachawat and Associates was an invaluable experience that provided me with a solid foundation in law practice. During those initial months, I learned several key lessons like a deep appreciation for the importance to the minute details of a case, conducting legal and preparing for the client meetings, that have greatly shaped my approach to legal work. This taught me the importance of thoroughness and precision in all aspects of my work.

More importantly, I learned the significance of ethical integrity in the practice of law. This foundational lesson continues to guide my decision-making and actions as a legal professional.

Overall, my brief tenure at M/s Bhachawat and Associates provided me with invaluable lessons that have profoundly influenced my approach to law practice. I am grateful for the opportunity to have learned from seasoned lawyers and am committed to applying these lessons to deliver exceptional service to my clients.

As a founding partner at Actus Legal, you handle a diverse range of cases, including civil, commercial, and family matters. How do you manage to navigate through such varied areas of law effectively?

As a founding partner at Actus Legal, navigating through diverse areas of law is both challenging and rewarding. Our firm’s commitment to excellence and client satisfaction drives us to ensure that we provide comprehensive legal services across a broad spectrum of practice areas.

One of the key strategies I employ to effectively manage this diversity is ongoing education and professional development. Staying updated of the latest legal developments and precedents allows me to maintain a solid understanding of various areas of law. This continuous learning process enables me to confidently navigate through different legal landscapes and provide informed advice to our clients.

Furthermore, collaboration plays a vital role in our approach. Actus Legal fosters a culture of teamwork and knowledge sharing among partners and associates. Leveraging the diverse expertise within our firm, we regularly engage in case discussions, brainstorming sessions, and peer reviews to collectively address complex legal issues and ensure that our clients receive the highest quality representation.

Additionally, effective time management and prioritisation are essential when handling a diverse caseload. By carefully allocating resources and delegating tasks where appropriate, we optimise efficiency and productivity while maintaining a high standard of service delivery.

Lastly, maintaining open lines of communication with our clients is paramount. By fostering strong client relationships built on trust and transparency, we can effectively navigate through diverse areas of law while delivering optimal outcomes for our clients.

In essence, managing a diverse range of cases at Actus Legal requires a combination of continuous learning, collaboration, efficient resource allocation, and client-centric approach. By embracing these principles, we ensure that we remain attentive and effective in addressing the various legal needs of our clients.

Being empaneled with various government sectors and PSUs, such as the Sports Authority of India and NBCC (India) Ltd., what unique challenges and opportunities does such clients bring?

Representing government sectors and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) presents a distinct set of challenges and opportunities that shape our legal practice in significant ways.

It may be noted that government sectors operate within a highly scrutinized environment, where decisions and actions are subject to public scrutiny and accountability. As their legal representatives, we must address these sensitivities with care, ensuring transparency and integrity in all our dealings.

Furthermore, being empaneled with prestigious government organizations enhances our firm’s credibility and reputation within the legal community. It signifies our capability to handle complex matters and demonstrates our commitment to excellence in legal service delivery.

In conclusion, representing government sectors and PSUs brings both challenges and opportunities that enrich our legal practice. By leveraging our expertise, fostering collaboration, and maintaining a client-centric approach, we strive to navigate these complexities effectively while delivering impactful outcomes for our esteemed government clients.

Could you tell us about your experience as a court/local commissioner and receiver, and how those roles have enriched your legal practice?

Absolutely, serving as a court/local commissioner and receiver has been an immensely enriching experience that has deepened my understanding of the legal system and broadened my skill set as a legal professional.

In these roles, I have had the privilege of being entrusted by the various Hon’ble courts with the responsibility to act as an impartial officer in various legal matters, ranging from property disputes to a violation of IP rights and family law cases. As a local/court commissioner, I have conducted hearings, wherein evidence of witnesses was recorded, ensuring that evidence is recorded in proper & transparent manner in accordance with the law.

Moreover, serving as a court commissioner and receiver has underscored the importance of integrity, impartiality, and diligence in the practice of law. Upholding these principles is essential to maintaining the trust and confidence of the court, parties involved, and the broader legal community.

The position of Court/Local Commissioner has also afforded me the chance to delve into the intricate techniques of cross-examining witnesses. When it comes to conducting a cross-examination, thorough preparation extends beyond simply being well-versed in the case. It necessitates an understanding of the witness’s temperament, their areas of vulnerability and strength, their connection to the case’s facts, and perhaps most crucially, what questions to avoid during cross-examination.

With over a decade of practice, you’ve argued numerous cases before various courts. Can you share with us a particularly memorable case or achievement in your career so far?

Certainly, throughout my years of legal practice, numerous cases have left a profound impact on me both personally and professionally. Singling out a specific case would not be prudent. However, I consistently find that each case possesses its own distinct significance and influence on the individuals involved. From the moment a client engages me, I endeavor to craft the best legal strategy, dedicating myself to formulating it from the outset till the final arguments.

I perceive two pivotal stages in any case: firstly, during the drafting of pleadings, and secondly, when leading evidence. Cross-examination of a witness fascinates me the most! It presents a challenge to extract answers that the witness did not intend to give and likely never anticipated facing during their testimony in court.

The majority of cases I’ve handled have resulted in favorable outcomes, often due to witnesses either contradicting their positions or providing responses beyond what was initially pleaded. Every judgment represents a significant milestone in my career. I draw continuous inspiration from the challenges and opportunities presented by each new case, remaining steadfast in my commitment to delivering exceptional legal representation to my clients in every instance.

How do you think the recent technological developments have affected the legal field in general and your practice in particular?

The recent technological developments have brought opportunities as well as challenges for the courts, lawyers as well as clients. The government success of the digital India initiative for various beneficial policies initiated and implemented by it, has also necessitated the acceptance of overall technological development in the legal professions. Some of the major changes and improvements are as follows: –

       i.            E-Filing and Court Proceedings: The introduction of e-filing systems in Indian courts has digitized various legal procedures, including filing of petitions, pleadings, and other documents. These developments have made legal proceedings more accessible, convenient, and cost-effective, benefiting both lawyers and clients.

     ii.            Legal Research: Technology has revolutionized legal research by providing access to vast databases of case law, statutes, and legal commentary. Online legal research platforms such as Manupatra, SCC Online, etc., allow lawyers to find relevant precedents and statutes efficiently. This has enhanced the quality and speed of legal analysis in my practice as well.

  iii.            Virtual Court proceedings: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual court proceedings became prevalent in India and it is being appreciated by all concerned with the legal issues. With the virtual hearings, it is possible to appear before any Court or the Tribunal within or outside India while sitting in your own office in Delhi. This shift towards remote hearings has improved access to justice by reducing the need for physical presence in courtrooms, saving time and costs for both lawyers and clients.

   iv.            Rise of Legal tech Startups: – The rise of LegalTech startups in India such as Law Sikho has led to the development of innovative solutions for legal practice management, document automation, contract review, and more. These tools help lawyers improve productivity and deliver better services to clients.

     v.            Access to legal Information: – Technology has made legal information more accessible to the general public. Online databases such as the introduction of E-Court Services and digitized court records allow lawyers and individuals to access a vast amount of legal information easily.

In fact, in our firm’s practice, the aforementioned technological developments have had a profound impact. Our Firm has embraced digital tools for legal research, case management, and communication with clients. Virtual court proceedings have allowed all of us to represent clients in distant jurisdictions without the need for extensive travel.

You’ve been active in writing articles and sharing legal insights through your YouTube channel, “Legal With Rajnish.” How do you see these platforms contributing to legal education and public understanding of the law?

Thank you for highlighting my involvement in writing articles and maintaining the ‘Legal With Rajnish’ YouTube channel. These platforms serve as invaluable tools for legal education and public understanding of the law in several significant ways.

First and foremost, writing articles and creating content for platforms like YouTube allows anyone to address commonly known complex legal concepts and developments into accessible and digestible formats. By explaining key principles in plain language, I aim to demystify the law and make it more comprehensible to a broader audience.

Overall, I believe that writing articles and producing content for platforms like YouTube play a crucial role in promoting legal understanding, fostering public awareness, and advancing the rule of law.

At the same, I equally regret to my readers and viewers that I am unable to give sufficient time for writing articles as well as for my You tube channel because of my engagement with the court cases and I am intending to do course correction soon.

Finally, what advice would you offer to recent law graduates as they embark on their legal careers, based on your own experiences and successes in the field?

As recent law graduates embark on their legal careers, I offer the following advice based on my own experiences and successes in the field:

a.     Learning is a continuous process: The legal profession is constantly evolving, and it’s essential to stay updated on changes in laws, regulations, and precedents. Commit yourself to lifelong learning by attending seminars, workshops, and continuing legal education programs to deepen your knowledge and expand your expertise.

b.     Appreciate mentorship: Seek guidance from experienced lawyers who can offer valuable insights, advice, and mentorship as you advance in your legal career.

c.      Work on your communication skills: Effective and logical communication is crucial in the legal profession. Practice clear and concise drafting skills, develop strong oral advocacy skills, and cultivate the ability to communicate complex legal concepts in a manner that is understandable to clients and learned judges.

d.     Respect integrity and professionalism: Uphold the highest ethical standards in all your interactions and endeavors. Integrity and professionalism are the cornerstones of a successful legal career and essential for earning the trust and respect of clients, peers, and the judiciary.

e.      Be proactive and adaptable: Take initiative in seeking out opportunities to gain practical experience, whether through internships, pro bono work, or extracurricular activities. Be open to new challenges and opportunities, and adapt to changes in the legal landscape with flexibility and resilience.

f.       Have a strong work ethic: Success in the legal profession requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Develop a strong work ethic characterized by diligence, attention to detail, and a commitment to delivering excellence in all your cases.

g.     Build relationships and networks: Invest time in building relationships with colleagues, clients, and other professionals within the legal community. Networking can open doors to referrals, and collaborations, so prioritize cultivating meaningful connections throughout your career.

h.     Maintain a healthy work-life balance: It is easier said than done but do not neglect your personal well-being. Strive to maintain a healthy work-life balance by prioritizing self-care, setting boundaries, and making time for hobbies, interests, and relationships outside of work.

By following the aforementioned points and embracing the challenges and opportunities that come one’s way, one can embark on a fulfilling and successful legal career that makes a positive impact on the lives of others and contributes to the advancement of justice and the rule of law.

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