“Working across the country on various contracts and projects requires not only a better understanding of the task but also a team effort and leadership”- Archana Mishra Kaul, Founder, Vicis Corpus Juris

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

Can you share the story of how you embarked on your career in law? What initially drew you to corporate commercial law, litigation, and alternate dispute resolution?

The prompt cause of getting into the legal profession is associated with my father who drew my attention towards this profession in my childhood. While I was growing up I witnessed my father working hard while being always surrounded by his clients and juniors, studying case files, researching All India Reporter, and giving dictation to his typist of cases till late at night. I think those were the facts that played a pivotal role in developing my deep interest in the legal profession.

Immediately, after completing my law from Banaras Hindu University, I started practicing Criminal law before the Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad, at Allahabad Bench, and with the grace of God and my mother’s well wishes I soon presented my very first case and secured the desired order in the form of Direction given by the Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad which boosted my confidence as a lawyer and the journey never stopped after that. While I was practicing in Allahabad High Court, I had opportunities to handle a few corporate matters before the Apex Court which made me realize that I needed to explore my practice to other aspects of law which led me to practice in various Delhi Courts where I explored my practice into the Corporate side of law and matters related to Dispute Resolution since these are new in demand in our industry and becoming primary option of corporates. 

Your profile reflects an extensive background in various legal domains, from real estate litigation to corporate litigation at the Supreme Court. How did you navigate these diverse areas, and what motivated you to explore such a wide range of legal practices?

What best worked for me as motivation, is my willingness to learn which I have had from my childhood and I still have so much to learn and I am quite sure that learning will take me to a whole new level of my practice. The pursuit of learning and exploring different aspects of the law have kept me open to the matters of other different dimensions in my law practice where I could deal with the various nature of work including corporate matters such as finalizing Tender with government bodies including RFP/RFQ, LOI, Agreement assimilation, Criminal, Civil, RERA, Consumer matters, matrimonial cases, matter of NDPS, ARMS Act, Environmental issues and especially my Pro Bono works for the Labours. 

With a core expertise in winning cases for your clients, can you highlight a specific instance or case that you consider a significant achievement in your career so far?

There have been multiple significant cases that I consider as achievements in my career so far in the duration of the last 10 years, however, I would like to share one of my experiences which has been a milestone case for me till present. I once had the chance to represent a husband who was a victim of false charges under section 308 of IPC and was not able to get released on bail for a long time. Wherein I had the opportunity to Argue before the Hon’ble High Court, extensively based on the medical report of the informant elaborating Medical Jurisprudence related to the Court, and successfully secured the release of my client from jail by filing 3rd Bail Application. Another enthralling experience in the journey of my law practice so far has been pro bono cases that I have been doing across the country for construction laborers whose daily wages are illegally kept by their contractors and sometimes by their principal employer. 

Balancing legal management, risk analysis, and project delivery across the country is no small feat. How do you manage such a diverse set of responsibilities, especially when it comes to litigation and arbitration for the company?

I have been blessed with Balancing different dimensions of work with the help of my team in different roles and liabilities as per the requirement of the client. Working across the country on various contracts and projects requires not only a better understanding of the task but also a team effort and leadership. I would say, more than an individual, it is always a collective skill of my team who channelize their expertise and capabilities into their assigned task of legal management and risk analysis of various projects. 

Reflecting on your journey from the Bar Council enrollment to your current role, how has your education, including LLB from Banaras Hindu University, contributed to your professional growth?

A lawyer’s journey from the Bar Council Enrollment is always a roller coaster and mine as well is no different as it’s been more than a decade that has passed in this journey which has given me millions of experiences, be it better or worse, complex or simple, all it does is adds up value to my profession as more and more I polish myself into this profession. I still remember being a second-generation lawyer. I started practicing law with nothing in my hand and I kept struggling relentlessly for cases but I made it all meaningful when I got my first case. Even at present, I feel bound to give my best ever effort to every single case I represent before the Court. I would say most lawyers would actually agree when I say that what we study as law students in Law Schools is completely different from what we experience in reality but what remains embedded and enclosed to us during our entire professional journey is the spirit of being a lawyer that has brought us to this journey.    

Throughout your career, you’ve worked on diverse cases, including real estate litigation and criminal matters. Can you share a challenging experience that provided valuable lessons and shaped your approach as a lawyer?

In a decade’s journey of practicing law, I would say a few cases were challenging to the level that completely impacted my perspective. I had the opportunity to witness the remarkable change in the Consumer Protection Act while experiencing massive real estate exposure with cases against the Supertech Builders which started from NCDRC with only one client as a home buyer and ended up with a huge bulk of them against the builder before the Hon’ble Supreme Court leading the landmark judgment against Supertech.  

Another challenging experience I would say was a pro-bono case when I was approached by a poor laborer for a matter of recovery of his daily wages that were maliciously kept on hold by the Contractor. I took on his case but later on, I started receiving requests from a massive group of laborers for the same issue which made me act on their behalf against not only one big-shot company but a lot of reputed construction companies which were beyond my expectation. Then I realized that the labor class needs representation before big companies for their grievances to get resolved by someone prudent at the ground level because not everyone can gather the courage to file a case before the court and contest it. As a lawyer, I deeply felt it is a big challenge for our fraternity to contribute our service to those classes who are important parts of our society and building our houses but are unable to feed their own family because of lack of knowledge and forced hunger on them.  

Drawing from your experiences, what advice would you like to give to fresh law graduates aspiring to build successful careers in law, considering the diverse landscape of legal practice and the dynamic nature of the profession?

Considering the diverse landscape of my legal practice, the only advice I would pass on to the fresh law graduates is that along with building their careers in the legal fraternity they must build up their personalities which reflect their smart work and prudency of the legal knowledge along with its better usage in the society. 

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