Posted in My Law Icons, Uncategorized

Adv.Chinmay S.Bhosale: Partner, SRB Juris, Rhodes Scholar & Gold Medalist from University of Pune

Interview with Adv.Chinmay S.Bhosale: Partner, SRB Juris & Gold Medalist from University of Pune

Chinmay Bhosale completed his baccalaureate in law from ILS College, Pune in 2010 and has been a topper in the University of Pune for thrice. He had also made it to the final round of Rhodes scholarship which is regarded as a prestigious opportunity to study in the University of Oxford. He is currently pursuing his doctoral studies on the thesis “Malicious Prosecution” and has also interned with legal luminaries on Civil and Criminal side of law.

He proudly quotes H.M.Seervai’s “From compromise and things half done, keep me with stern and stubborn pride. And when, at last, the fight is won; God, keep me still unsatisfied.”

Q: You come from a reputable family of esteemed legal minds wherein law runs in the veins of all. So was it a spontaneous decision to take up law?

ANS: No. As you said that I belong to a family of acclaimed legal luminaries. In my childhood, I used to visit my dad’s chamber & witness those client meetings. This environment naturally had an impact on my decision. So I grew up in an atmosphere which was conducive enough to enable me take up law as a career. Thus the obvious choice for me was to select law.

Q: Can you shed some light on your college life spent in ILS Pune?

ANS: ILS played a very pivotal role in growing me as a well turned out lawyer. My 5 years at ILS gave me the time to grow up intellectually. It helped me groom my personality with all the array of opportunities it could provide me in different avenues. It also provided me an ample space to do internships under senior advocates, pursue diploma courses, moot court competitions, sports and all the peripheral things which are essential for a law student to learn at that stage to groom your personality.

Q: As you said, that you also did some diplomas in your college days. Can you please elaborate on it?

ANS: Yes, I did my diploma courses simultaneously alongside our normal curriculum. I pursued some courses which the ILS faculty already provided viz. Diploma in Human Rights and Diploma in Medical Jurisprudence and Forensic Sciences. Then I did a Diploma in Securities Law & Investment Management from Asian School of Cyber Law. Appending the above, I also completed a Graphology course in view of handwriting analysis from Institute of Graphology and Personal Success under the expert guidance of Mr.Milind Rajore who besides being the Founder & Director of this institute, is also a guest lecturer in ILS.

Q: You have interned under reputed lawyers of civil and criminal side. How do you describe your internship experience overall?

ANS: In my 2nd year of BSL.LL.B I interned under Sr.Adv. Shrikant Kanetkar. Here I got trained in the skill of doing research work. Also, it was at this stage, where I realised that Civil law is not my cup of tea, and that further emboldened my decision towards taking up Criminal law as my main line of practise. From my 3rd year onwards, I started my internship under Sr.Adv. Ashok Mundargi at the Bombay High Court, who is a giant at the High Court Bar and known for infamous Salman Khan hit and run case. It was a very enriching and enlightening experience to work under him. The second place to learn law after my college, was his chamber. I participated in almost all his client meetings and would also accompany him to the legal conferences. Not just that, but I also had opportunities to assist him in drawing arguments to some of the famous cases. Subsequently, I have also worked with Sr.Adv. Satish Maneshinde known for the infamous Sanjay Dutt case. He has an envious aura around him which is very inspiring. I learnt the nuances of litigation from him. Overall, each and everything taught me atleast something or the other, which helped me gain a good understanding of the criminal law.

Q: It is said that, “Cross-examination forms the very essential part in litigation” but that very important ingredient is missing in the moot courts. Your view please.

ANS: No doubt, the working in the actual Trial Court and in the moot courts, both stand on different footholds but the moot courts gives you a brief insight of those courts in the making itself, and that sometimes may count as a feather to your cap i.e. in your personal experience. Else, there’s a lot of difference in the real working of courts and in the actual involvement and preparation of the case and thus the participation of a student in moot courts doesn’t create the desired impact. But still one may go for it, to have a sip of advocacy, until he or she receives the right to advocacy i.e. sanad.

Q: ‘Malicious Prosecution’ is the topic of your thesis for your Ph.D. What was the need to select such topic?

ANS: There have been numerous judgments of the Supreme Court, whereby the apex court has either ordered or given directions to the police machinery to take the precautionary measures before instituting a prosecution and effecting an arrest. However, as I have observed in many cases that these guidelines are blatantly ignored which further leads to untimely delay in justice, harassment to the litigants and a failure in the criminal justice system. Besides this, the loss of time, money, energy and reputation is irreparable. With an intention to help curb this harassment of people who come out clean from prosecutions and arrests, and stop blatant misuse of law by many, I took up my Ph.D in ‘Malicious Prosecution’.

Q: How much significance do you lay on extra-curricular activities besides one’s academic?

ANS: Well, I have always believed in an overall development of an individual and thus have always strived to be an all-rounder throughout my career. I share a penchant for sports and have played Netball and Basketball on national level and state level respectively. Besides being a voracious reader, I am also an avid trekker and have trekked Himalayas to many major peaks in India. My love for music also persisted me to try my hands onto tabla and thus I encourage on an overall development of a being. Whether be it music, sports or then anything else.

Q: Today, Corporate law is flourishing in the legal fraternity and many law aspirants are eyeing onto make a big name in that. Then, why Criminal law was your cup of tea?

ANS: “Law is the king of kings” irrespective of whether it is civil, criminal or corporate law. I do agree with you to some extent. However, I consider corporate law and its practice as somewhat superficial or virtual. Many a times the “corporate practice” is “created” than it being actually existing as a need of the client. However, this proliferation of legal hassles is resulting in huge economic gains in corporate law sector which is very lucrative to majority crowd. Secondly, my father who is an eminent name in the circle of criminal law always motivated me and may be that aura hinted me to practise in criminal side.

Q: How do you see the growth of NLUs & NLUites in comparison with the non-NLUites? Your view please.

ANS: National Law Universities or National Law Schools have been in India for more than 20 years now. The recent to come up being the Maharashtra NLU which was announced by the Government last year. Coming to the point. Let me illustrate you this with an instance; the worst performer of a NLU might be much better than the worst performer of a non-NLU . However, the top brass of non-NLU insitutes will be at par or even better than students from NLUs. So there it balances. Secondly, the legal luminaries who are currently counted in India’s top ten do not belong to any of NLUs. Thirdly, given such a long period of their existence in India, it would have been evident to see few of these NLUites in that list or even in top twenty, but presently which is not such case, except for a very few. Thus, I would infer that it all depends upon an individual and differs from every student to student, rather than the NLU making a major impact.

Q: You have topped the University of Pune not just once, but for whopping three times. Any study secrets for our readers?

ANS: Having an eidetic memory, I was a vivid visual learner. I believed in the theory of peer-to-peer learning. So it was either me or anyone amongst our friends, topping the university. We used to always discuss law within our group of friends and in that exchange or sharing of knowledge, we also kept abreast with the legal updates or amendments in law. Also, I made it a point that I never studied from the notes available in the market. Each and every time I used to thoroughly go through all the relevant commentaries and prepare my own notes. But now the law students can thank the Legal Bloc too, as they are fortunate to find the similar resources from you guys.

Q: Nowadays, it’s been seen that many of the students prefer doing LL.M from foreign universities. How do you see this whole scenario in a wider scope, whether in reference to India & in foreign?

ANS: I was one amongst those fifteen who had made in the final round of Rhodes Scholarship, that was one my major reasons for pursuing my LL.M. from abroad.  Now as you asked, the reasons why one wants to pursue LL.M. from foreign universities may be various. Some might just intend to booze and wind away their time in foreign land under the guise of higher education or some might just for the sake of experiencing the approach or curriculum there, might wish to go for it. However, what most matters, is the career you want to pursue post LL.M. Thus, keeping that view in mind, you may find it easier to choose, of pursuing LL.M from India or from some foreign university. So if you want to settle in a certain foreign country, a foreign degree will surely help you in the long run. However, if you want to come down and practise herein India only, and that too in litigation, then there is absolutely no necessity of a foreign degree.

Q: You have also been very active in the sphere of social work. Can you shed some light on it?

ANS: Yes, I truly believe that we should do our part of service towards the society and give them back in whatever way possible by us. So earlier in my college days, I used to always volunteer in social causes whenever and wherever possible for me. But now due to the restraint of time, I mostly help the organisations by monetary terms or sponsorships to those working in field of education and in providing food. Some of them are Make a Difference (MAD), Robin Hood Army, whom I know personally or have seen their work from a close angle.

Q: What’s your view on All India Bar Examination (AIBE)? Don’t you think that, it’s an unnecessary burden on students, since although he has qualified the law exam, but still has to appear for the AIBE in order to attain a sanad?

ANS: The question is not of the exam but of the quality which an advocate is expected to possess. The level of this noble profession is to be maintained and thus it’s the lawyers who will have to raise their bar or ability in order to qualify themselves to practise in this noble profession. The Maharashtra state govt. has recently issued a Government Resolution (GR) to start with the Common Entrance Test (CET) from next academic year 2016-17 for admission to law. What’s your point of view? As I said previously, that law is a noble profession and the field of law is not meant for any Tom, Dick or Harry. It’s a profession which calls for devotion towards justice, hard work and dedication in upholding the confidence of the society at large. The implementation of CET will bring transparency in the admissions process and also it will help to a large extent to filter good minds towards this profession. This should be the key behind changing the outlook of the society towards lawyers in general down the line.

Q: Any 5 books which you recommend for our readers, based out of our curriculum?

Ram Jethmalani: An Authorized Biography by Nalini Gera.

Business Maharajas

Before Memory Fades : An autobiography by Fali S. Nariman

Evoking H.M.Seervai by Feroza Seervai, which has unfortunately now run out of markets.

It’s not about the Bike by Lance Armstrong.

Q: Sir, last but not the least. Your encouraging words of wisdom for LB readers?

ANS: If you are destined to enter law, then you should also have a clarity about your goals, or an idea as to what do you expect from this field or yourself after getting into it. This field can be very rewarding for the one who has the determination to work hard and stick through the hard times.

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Posted in How to study effectively, My Law Icons, Uncategorized

Use Law in a sustainable manner

Focus on other law work, including teaching.

 

 

The key, as Professor Menon sees it, is in being a social engineer. Professor Menon said that he has also drafted a partnership deed to help like-minded young lawyers start up a practice. He also said that he was willing to speak to senior advocates to ensure that work was given to lawyers. This would help in ensuring a steady income.

Posted in My Law Icons

Vaishnavi Bhaskaran, Founder, The Little Black Coat

Vaishnavi Bhaskaran, Founder, The Little Black Coat

vaishnavi-bhaskaran-1

  • Her experience at NLU, Jodhpur and decision to pursue law
  • Her view on internships and augmenting a CV
  • Her professional journey and founding ‘The Little Black Coat’
  • Spectrum Legal and her views on the field of law in the contemporary context

 

What incident, influence or interest prompted you to think of law as a career? If not law, what other options would you have considered for a career?

I have wanted to be a lawyer since the beginning of my teenage years. The idea (somewhat clichéd) first came to me after I had read a series of John Grisham novels in quick succession. Of course, the reality is vastly different from what one reads about, and I realised that soon after I entered law school. Fortunately for me however, the reality was not unpleasant. I had briefly toyed with the idea of journalism, but in the end, it was to be law.

 

What would you like to say about your experience with college admissions and competitive exams?

I was very clear that I wanted to attend one of the top-ranked national law schools, and I was very fortunate to have found a place at NLU Jodhpur.

 

How would you describe your life while studying at NLU Jodhpur? What activities did you tend to favor?

My time at NLU was undoubtedly one of the best periods of my life, and has gone a long way in shaping me, both as a professional and as a person. While at NLU, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to do once I graduated, and I focussed on doing things that would get me closer to my goal. I tended to focus on subjects that I thought would help me once I started practising, and pursued internships that would further my goals.

 

Were you always clear on corporate-commercial law as your field of expertise or were you drawn towards it while studying there?

It was after my very first litigation internship that I realised that litigation wasn’t my calling. Like most law students who start off thinking they will graduate and pursue litigation, I did initially pursue a couple of litigation internships. After I completed my second year however, I found an internship opportunity where I was given both litigation and non-litigation related work, which is when I realised that I wanted to be a corporate lawyer. Subsequently, I chose to pursue the corporate law honours course that NLU offers, in my fourth and fifth years.

 

Beyond academic experience what would augment CVs of law students and make them better candidates for the same?

Obviously, being from a good university and having a good GPA will more often than not, help you secure a good job in the legal field. However, even internships can open up doors in most organisations, if one is found to be hardworking, resourceful, knowledgeable and eager to learn.

 

What kind of internships would you recommend law students opt for to start building the sort of versatility and widened range of law that you are well versed with today?

Most small to medium law firms in Bangalore do not have the precise demarcations when it comes to areas of practice, as many larger firms do, and as a result, most lawyers tend to have wide exposure within the broader boundaries of their chosen specialisation.

In my experience, interning with small and medium size firms provides interns an opportunity to learn a wider range of subjects.

 

 

Krishnamurthy & Co. (K Law), an established corporate commercial law firm, was your first placement directly after college. How did your experience there help you add to your understanding and practice of law in India?

Immensely. In my opinion, K Law is an excellent place to start one’s career. During my time there, I worked on a very wide variety of issues and was very fortunate to have been given a high degree of responsibility at a relatively early age. Both these factors were instrumental in helping me start Spectrum Legal.

 

What prompted your shift from K Law to Poovayya & Co., Advocates & Solicitors in 2011?

At that point, I was keen to acquire more exposure and see how other firms functioned. I had interned with Poovayya & Co. previously, and had found the experience very rewarding and enjoyable.

 

What went into founding The Little Black Coat in 2013? What were your motivations for the same and how did it affect your perspective on legal startups?

Even while I was in law school, it remained my ultimate objective to set up my own law firm. At the time when I took the decision to go independent, the startup ecosystem in Bangalore was booming, and it was only a matter of time before they all needed lawyers.

 

What did you learn from your experience with startups while running The Little Black Coat?

Working with startups is a completely different experience from working with bigger and more established entities. Established companies tend to be business savvy and typically require only legal advice. Working with startups however, requires you to do a great deal of handholding and walking them through business and financial issues, in addition to providing them with legal counsel.

 

Tell us what drove you to set up Spectrum Legal with Chinnappa and Co.

By that point I had developed a small client base, and while being an independent practitioner was extremely satisfying, it is also limiting because you cannot service your clients’ needs beyond your area of practice. Additionally, being only one person, you also face issues because of a lack of bandwidth. At that point, setting up a law firm seemed the natural and logical step, and when I met my partners, I found the team a good fit to take that step with.

 

What was the motivation behind creating a law firm that aims to provide all types of legal services across different fields of law in the same firm?

Like I said above, when you practise only one area of law, it can become difficult to service a client in a complete manner. A full-service law firm brings with it a unique synergy and the ability to meet all the legal needs of a client in-house, which was the motivation in creating a firm that provide a broad spectrum of legal services.

 

Working for a firm, corporates especially, is generally seen as a time intensive lifestyle which leaves little room for much else. How true would you say this is from your own experience?

There is a great deal of truth in that. Law is indeed a time-intensive profession, but so are most careers these days. In order to succeed, one must be prepared to put in the hard work. Having said that, I think as one becomes older and more senior, there comes a time when an individual can decide what his or her priorities are, and accordingly devise a schedule in keeping up with those priorities.

 

What are your thoughts on the traditional ideas of specialization in singular core areas of law as opposed to the contemporarily broader approach to a wider field of law with multiple specialties?

In my opinion, this is a result of the market where clients are faced with multiple legal issues. When it comes to law, most of the learning happens while one is working, and as such, a specialisation develops when one has been working for a while. I personally prefer a wider area of functioning, as I find this variety exciting and challenging.

 

What would be your parting message to the readers?

Before you graduate, and during the initial stage of your career, the choices one is faced with and the possibilities can be overwhelming. However, you’re in for the long haul, and it’s imperative to never lose the joy that comes from practising law. Initially, one’s focus should be solely to learn and attempt to master one’s field, everything else will follow at its own pace.

Posted in My Law Icons, Uncategorized

My Law Icon- Harish Salve

 

Harish Salve is a staunch believer in the necessity for full research into all case laws. Also, when a case comes up in court, Salve lives and breathes that matter. He gives up all other petitions. “I attend court daily to hear the other side’s arguments. I don’t like to distract myself and prefer to concentrate on the case at hand. You never know when a new idea pops up” said Salve.

Harish Salve also says that professionals are all “students of law” and can and are entitled to make mistakes. Mistakes are not important. Dedication and sincerity are the most important attributes that a professional can have, he says.

Posted in My Law Icons

Moulding the Law: Justice Bhagwati

Justice P.N. Bhagwati pioneered Public Interest Litigation (15 mins into this interview) . He moulded constitutional law.

Do you know? – He apologized for a judgement.

A controversial judgment of Bhagwati was in the ADM Jabalpur v. Shivkant Shukla case (popularly referred to as the ADM Jabalpur case or the habeas corpus case) where he decreed that during Emergency, a person’s right to not be unlawfully detained (Habeas Corpus) can be suspended. This judgment received a lot of criticism since it reduced the importance attached toFundamental Rights under the Indian Constitution. Bhagwati later agreed with popular opinion that this judgement was short-sighted and “apologised” for the same.

LAW STUDENTS SHOULD ALSO KNOW:

Thirty-six years ago, a woman lawyer confidently climbed the 17 steps of the Supreme Court and walked into a cold, thick-walled courtroom without a thought for the frowns trained at her from the high priests of Indian judiciary and her male colleagues.

Senior Advocate Pushpa Kapila Hingorani had a mission that day in December — one that the Supreme Court had never heard of before and one which would eventually kick off a revolution called the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) across the country.

The two pages she carried to the court contained the plight of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails — men, women, children, lepers and mental patients cast away into jails and forgotten by the state. She wanted the court to intervene immediately and give orders to release them on bail. The historic case, later known to every law student in India as Hussainara Khatoon Vs Home Secretary, Bihar, drew its name from one of the prison inmates. It was the first PIL in India.

A shocked Supreme Court Bench led by Justice P.N. Bhagwati went on to release over 40,000 undertrial prisoners from various jails nationwide.

“The success of the Khatoon case was so widespread that the Supreme Court in the 1980s opened a new section in the Registry devoted to PILs.

Listen to Justice Bhagwati, the soft-spoken strong man! As is Adv. M C Mehta, whom we heard today. Worth emulating these leaders. What do you think?

Posted in My Law Icons

Celebrity Lawyer: Amal Alamuddin

Did you say, Amal who? Mrs. George Clooney, you dumbo!

Amal went to New York University School of Law to study for the LLM degree, (after a law degree from Oxford), where she was a clerk for the clerkships program at the International Court of Justice.[20] She received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law.[21][22] For one semester while at NYU, she worked as a student law clerk at the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuitin the offices of Sonia Sotomayor, who is now on the Supreme Court of the United States.[23] In 2004, she worked at the International Court of Justice and was one of two NYU-sponsored clerks at the Court. She clerked under Judge Vladen S. Vereshchetin from Russia and Judge Nabil Elaraby from Egypt.[20][24]

Match Amal’s charisma, SLSians!

Posted in My Law Icons

My Law Icon: Soli Sorabjee

Soli Sorabjee is my icon because, he is the “Free spirit” who would always stand for truth. He says: “I decided to use my argumentative skills and gift of gab to serve the country”

On Legal Education, he says:

“Chambering should be taught, legal education should not be only bookish knowledge but it should teach them to become good lawyers. Bar exams should be made compulsory with practical training. Also, the Supreme Court should restrict young lawyers’ entry and allow only lawyers with more than 5 years of experience. That will help speed up the judicial process.”

A lot more interesting points in this conversation…do tell us in the comments section whether you agree with Soli Sorabjee.