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16 March 2010


Before commencing with this blog post, again I REPEAT:

This post is based on the sample crowd of the law school I study in. Situations may differ according to where the person reading this note comes from.


4th year of law school having studied 42 varied subjects with litigation and corporate internship experience, moot court achievements, paper presentations, articles and all that is required to make a glossy CV (Curriculum Vitae).


A National Law University still trying to make its mark with no strong alumni base.

Issue in Question:

Asked to fill a recruitment registration form in order to register for campus recruitment.

Moot Point:

Column which states, “Please specify your area of interest in order of preference”

A recent conversation that I had with a classmate made both of us land up in utter confusion with regard to what to fill in the area of interest section. The discussion began with putting in Corporate Law to covering all procedural laws to arbitration to Public International Law. We reached a deadlock and decided that we should ask the faculty as to what could potentially be the area of interest we could put in to which a but obvious reply was that ‘how can we tell you your area of interest, you should know best what your suited for and what you like’. A logical counter to that very argument was that, ‘Madam, unless we practice in something for a long time or we have experienced varied areas, how would we know what to fill in here.’

This backdrop again would give you a logical answer that internships are undertaken for this very purpose, so that a person can figure out his/her area of interest. I do agree with this view and so would any other logical and prudent man since it would all fit in like a math equation which looks something like this:

Area of Interest= Internship Experience+ Personal Choice+ Place of Practice+ Available Openings

That’s that then, everything seems to have fallen right into place, then why did the confusion arise in the first place? Let’s get back to question that we did actually want to ask the faculty. The points to be highlighted in the question are plain and simple:

-          Time

-          Experience

How much time and experience do internships normally last, one or two months in case of a summer or winter break where work which ranges from research to observing proceedings in court to how exactly arguments take place and preparing briefs with research backup for senior counsels. This is generally what most people would experience barring exceptions of course. How exactly can a candidate of law decide which area he/she fancies within this short time span?

Fine, for the time being, let’s keep aside the internship aspect for now, let us only consider the subjects a student studies at law school. There are certain subjects he/she fancies and which he enjoys studying. But, does that necessarily mean that these subjects graduate to the level of being called as an area of interest which he/she would want to specialize in.

Again, let’s consider the so called sterner arguments which may arise. Firstly, no one can spoon feed you while at law school and you are to decide what is best for you, Secondly, if you can’t decide what is best for you, no one else can. Thirdly, ask people in the field, speak to people and ‘feel’ (yes, I have heard this many times but never understood how wide its ambit can be) your way around.

Agreed that no one can spoon feed a law student and he/she should best know what he/she is fit for and also that he/she should ‘feel’ his/her way around in the profession. But, where is the time for all this? Does anyone realize that even before a law student realises it, he has to sit for a recruitment interview where in most cases, areas of interest are adjusted according to the available openings and the needs of the firm or counsel in question. Forget spoon feeding and ‘feeling’ your way around, the poor guy would be revising his basics of corporate or securities law despite having a small part of him wondering that he may be best suited for IPR.

To conclude, the point remains that law is a profession where maturity is late and it is this late maturity that makes it such a beautiful profession. Owing to the current market trends and the changing needs of law students, situations have changed and people often do get mismatched into a particular area where they are in a doubt or a constant question mark which is, ‘What if, what if I had given myself more time to think this through.’ The final argument that I can think of would be that five years is more than sufficient time for anyone to decide where he/she wants to be. Again, does this law student have time to actually sit and think as to where he/she wants to be with hectic submission schedules and internship acceptance/rejection anticipation mails?

As a distinguished Supreme Court Judge had told my friend, a long time ago, ‘Son, unless you actually get into the profession and see a variety of matters coming up, you won’t be able to assess where exactly your area of interest lies.’



14 March 2010

Welcome to the Great Law School Placement Ordeal...
Over here you can find a blend of the so called successful people with 'cool' pay packages along with people who have tried but failed miserably and people who just haven't  bothered....Before embarking on our eventful journey of actually describing this wonderful and sadistic experience of scrutinising minute details of how crooked, cocky and 'professional' people can be over here, I would like to mention that the sample upon which this note is based is only that of the law school I study in..Therefore, situations may vary according to where exactly the person reading this note comes from.

4 years into law school, a national law university to be precise and there are certain things which need to be fundamentally learnt or imbibed while vying to get that elusive 'offer':

- You are not here to study law or how it is used or how it can be implemented. The only thing that matters is how much you score. Hence, always make sure you have condensed xeroxed notes at your disposal to memorise and reproduce in the answer sheet.

- Critical thinking or analysing is a strict no-no, your reputation, your status and your so called 'pay package' is going to be solely determined by the marks you obtain and by how much of a stick up you can be.

-Learn to be selfish and clandestine, This my friend is a prerequisite. Never ever share any information obtained about any competition or any other academic venture or else you may be 'doomed'. Well, people who do this are already doomed since they fear competition at its very inception.

-Do not be helpful or kind. Never ever lend a helping hand when people need it. IF by mistake you do advise someone as to what line to take or where to specialise in, you may be indulging in creating competition. And then again, you are 'doomed'.

-Follow the crowd, If the crowd decides that a certain course is an added advantage to your existing law degree, close your eyes, keep your mouth shut and storm straight into it. Individuality and Interest should always take a back seat.

-While doing any conference, writing any article or even participating in a competition. Remember! The more the merrier. Forget what interests you, storm straight ahead.

-Always move around in groups and circles, If you are alone and actually want to do something different, something what the law is actually meant for, you may be cornered and stomped upon. Learn to politicise every little issue available. The limelight always matters and always helps.

- 'Evil Eye'. This is probably the most powerful tool resorted to in order to make sure the other person is adversely affected. Every person who does anything worthwhile mentioning has to be singled out so that an evil eye is cast upon him/her'. In response the other person responds reciprocating the same. In short, There is this absurd, useless and pathetic feeling around college that the casting of an evil eye over another person's success will ensure that he does not succeed.

This is basically a synopsis of how exactly placement can be achieved at law school. People may feel this is written out of sheer frustration of not being able to match up to the hefty qualities listed above. But no, as far as I am concerned I am caught up in this web and now can't help it. People who dare to be different, who actually love the law would actually appreciate this note, For people who may be offended by what has been written, face it...this is exactly what you are undergoing right now.

10 March 2010

Yep. So here I am finally starting a new epoch in my not so happening Life. Am finally entering into the mystical and magical realms of the blogosphere. And what a platform to share my blog with all my peers and contemporaries!

I say random ramblings because I'll randomly try to put things here, will scribble a lot of senseless rubbish with some senseful proses in between. Well if you are a good researcher you will get the gist of it! Hope so!

Disillusioned I say because I have no idea where I am going with my legal or for that matter my personal life. Have tried it all, living my personal life at the expense of my legal life, flunking exams, not interning, booze,fag,bikes and of course girls. 

Have tried to balance both which sadly resulted in a lethargic monotonous schedule which I couldn't keep up with. Have tried to kill my personal life, have slogged for days and days surviving on coffee and chocolate cookies, have strained my eyes staring to the computer screen that at one time I was sure my eyeballs were either going to burst or pop out. Have researched and read and drafted arguments related to Torts, Constitituional Law, IPR, that for quite some time I was under the impression that I had mastered atleast one of the subjects, which very well the judge couldn't agree less on. So I have truly and in all it's entirety failed inl all the three lifestyles. 

And believe me I've tried and tasted it all. Those uncalled for fights, those 17 shots of the not so soothing liquid, the throbbing pain, the disprin and coffee which followed later, to the Best researcher, orator, to being a normal student with no purpose whatsoever.

So where do I stand right now? well let's see. Three and a half years down the drain, current status- wandering, scribbling commenting on blogs when after around five hours have got an exam to write. But that's not the point I want to make.

 I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life. Sure will get a job, no issues with that, my C.V. and contacts are not that bad.  But what will the job change? I'll still keep on lamenting & ruminating & brooding about my life. Is this what I want from my life? No.

So if you do not won't to end up like me or like some other loser. Go get your Life straight. Figure out what you want to do with your life. Intern, research, try to find the field in which you are interested and once you find it don't let it go. 

Do what your heart says, but never backtrack. You might fail at times but remember the success achieved will bring only more happiness. 

As much as I wish to continue this rambling I will have to call it off, the phone is continuously pestering me, will have to take the call.

Will continue my ramblings later based on your views, reviews. Just hope that this piece doesn't get lost in the vast blogosphere! 



24 February 2010

Yeah right you pervert pricks. This post isn’t the answer to the kink in you. This post is not on your office fantasies. This is a post on the bad times which may come at “that time of the year” - It’s the appraisal and bonus time. That time of the year when you pretend to be extra cool with the partners. That time of the year when every miss of a semi colon feels like a burning rod shoved where it fits the best. When every cough on a con-call is like a resounding echo in Qutub Minar. When you would want to hold on to your pee till your palms start hurting because of your nails sinking in them so that you can show your partners how you sit on your chair. If you turn out to be one of those hopeless souls getting “laid off” despite all your attempts, here are TOP FIVE READYMADE ALTERNATIVES:


1. The Hopeless Historian

The Sheriffs Fees Act, 1852, Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 – with so much of vintage and history in law, being a historian is as easy as picking your nose! (eww)

2. The Writer

If you can draft this -

Any other acts whatsoever beyond the reasonable control of the Party affected, then the Party so affected shall upon giving prior written notice to the other be excused from such performance to the extent that such cause prevents, restricts or interferes with it PROVIDED THAT it shall use its best to avoid or remove such cause of non performance and shall continue performance hereunder with the utmost despatch whenever such causes are removed; then upon such prevention, restriction or interference as aforesaid arising, the Investors and the Company shall meet forthwith to discuss what modifications (if any) may be required to the terms of this Agreement in order to arrive at an equitable solution.”

You might as well be the next Shakespeare or Wordsworth.

3. Weird Name Giver

This is a great business idea. The first of its kind. After names project such as Project Chumchum, Project Bulbul, Project Dil(de)do, I am sure naming new-borns babies, cats, caterpillars, gutters hair and mosquitoes is not difficult.

4. Casting (no couch here) Director

Be a casting director for a movie. “If we put Popat and Poet on this project they won’t be compatible. Popat does more of banking work. Maybe Kian and his capital market expertise may help us to get the desired result” – SIMILARLY – “Shah Rukh and Salman Khan cannot be cast in Dhoom 3 together because of their problems. So let’s put SRK with Shahid Kapoor. Shahid Kapoor with his chocolate boy image may make get the desired result and make the movie a hit.”!

5. Fingerer!

Pervert mongrels – Not again - it’s not what you think it is. After years of “fingering” and “pressing” your blackberries, the fingers sure cannot rest any more. You may take up fingering a saxophone or a piano. I am sure a little bit of tweaking and practicing and get you to Altaf Raja heights!

Worry not, the future is filled with opportunities. But keep up the fingering, unless you want to be Laid (off)!

Squawk  Squawk


15 February 2010

A strong resolution

rolled down

from a cluster of tariffs


take your time


prohibit asbestos within the limits of the city

in a manner contrary

to the principles set forth

in promulgated paragraphs


but take your time

to speak about National Treatment of tear-glands



04 February 2010

It hurts, it really really hurts (like getting your ass pinched by a professional wrestler in the Delhi metro) to look back and see how the sweet innocent language that I spoke in law school has taken devilish meanings after I started working. My job (I feel) had the same effect on my language as watching Japanese hentai – complete bastardisation of the tongue and mind.

Here are some examples for you:



Then (In law school)

Now (at the job)



“Ok, pakka deal hai, this Saturday Old Monk rum and coke at Pecos.”

“Popat, has the deal fallen through or are they still re-negotiating the commercials?”



“Oh ho, these college people, cant they get a ISP with good bandwidth?”

“Hey Popat, if you have some bandwith can you find some Supreme Court Judgement on...”




“Did you submit your Constitutional Law project on time?”

“When do you go for the diligence to Mumbai for Project Marimba?”




“Oye Popat, run and come fast, the hostel doors are closing

“Popat, make sure all the CP’s have been adhered to prior to closing.”



“Popat, pitch the ball short. We 3rdyear guys have to win this match.”

“Popat, we are pitching in for the deal on derivatives, please ensure that you are well read.”



“Yahoo!, exams over, party time.”

“…VIP Macho and Lux Cozy are hereinafter individually referred to as the “Party” and collectively as the…”


Best Friend

“Billoo is turning out to be my best friend. We even share our undies these days”

“Kian, believe me Bombay High Court judgment has nothing to do with best friend’ relationships.



“Popat, he hit you right where it hurts the most, look your Berries have turned Black!”

“Damn Blackberry keeps ringing off the hook, God, help me out of this flurry of e-mails”

 Agree? Disagree? If you know any other similar words, write ‘em here.

[p.s. the (nerdy) purists don’t get mad at this post, smile a little and you may do some good to yourself!]


Squawk Squawk



02 February 2010

What is a lawyer a lawyer for if he does not argue in court? This is a quote often referred to by people in the legal profession in order to entice people to join the bar. Mostly, the people who do use this quote are people who have become master litigators and judges over a long period of time. The Attorney General Sir G.E.Vahanvati also believes the same as can be seen from his interview where he even makes a suggestion to senior lawyers to pay at least a sustenance amount to junior lawyers to help them during their initial years. But then, at the same time no one does really want to join the bar because nobody actually does pay you that much, it seems to be a form of educated bonded labour where you get freed from your debt towards your senior lawyer only when lady luck manages to smile on which is why most litigators who end up questioning the very profession they are in and their faith to serve the profession dwindles.

The other side of the story is that of people who join the corporate houses and firms which often resemble a modern day ‘get rich quick scheme’. With all due respect to all associates, senior associates and partners who have made it big in these places, for the most part a huge bill is charged to clients for all the hard work put in by the associates engaged in research, drafting etc. Due to the hectic schedules and timings maintained, most people engaged in these top places end up reaching a saturation point at a very early stage. At some point of time or the other, people here too end up questioning what exactly they are doing and where exactly they are.

In my defence, I have no statistics to prove any of the things mentioned above so am assuming all the comments (if any) which may come in for this entry would be from people who love their respective side of the story and would presumably oppose what has been mentioned. This entry mainly conveys that the story of litigation and non-litigation is a story of the grass being greener on the other side depending on where exactly in the growth ladder a particular person is. The title of this entry does sound psychedelic but if probably, someone did make a movie showcasing both sides of the story in India where a litigator and a non litigator who are often plagued with a question of where exactly their life stands at this point in time. This title would suit it best.

02 February 2010

Almost half of the final-year batch of Nalsar Hyderabad want to work for a top five corporate law firm when they graduate, with only 9 per cent wanting to work for a litigator at the Supreme Court, according to a survey.

Legal industry services provider Rainmaker conducted a survey of 62 fifth-year students at Nalsar to find out about their ambitions.

A total of 44 per cent of students responded that they wanted to work for a top five law firm, with almost 15 per cent wanting to work in-house and less than 10 per cent preferring mid-size law firms.

That adds up to almost 70 per cent looking to do transactional desk work or "dignified clerking".

By contrast, far fewer than 10 per cent of students were looking to work as each of a litigator at the Supreme Court (9 per cent), High Court litigator or lower court litigator (a handful of per cent).  

Only 5 per cent of graduating students wanted to work for an NGO with a similar percentage wanting to pursue further studies overseas.

This leaves several people / firms / sectors in a bit of a pickle.

1. Mid-size law firms will have to be content to be second-best in recruitment preference to their larger rivals (or even only the five largest/top).

2. The national law schools do not appear to be feeding much talent to the Bar and Bench at all, as widely and rightly feared and expected by many on that learned side.

3. Follow the money.

Indeed, more than anything, the results suggests that the very highest paying jobs are by far the most popular. The slightly less high-paying ones follow behind and barely anyone wants to do those jobs that pay subsistence wages.

Simple economics or something deeper?

A somewhat hypothetical question perhaps, but if all the jobs on that list paid the same (say, a wage of around Rs 30,000 per month), what do you think the distribution would look like?

Would 50 per cent want to become a Supreme Court legend or legal freedom fighters?

01 February 2010

The title of this entry would create in people certain preset notions with regard to the applicability of Public International Law (PIL) in modern day polity at the state level and at the international level. The entry would proceed to show that PIL as we know it today does not hold relevance or significance as we are taught and as we perceive it to be.

PIL began with Hugo Grotius laying down the modern principles of International Law. These principles on a close analysis remain principles even till date with court decisions only reaffirming the same. The only concrete sources of International Law can be found in Article 38 of the ICJ Statute which enumerates the same as treaties, customs, state practice and judicial decisions. Even these can graduate from one level to another depending purely on usage. For example, the use of force concept which was confined only to select few nations graduated to be part of the League of Nations and then to the United Nations Charter as an essential feature. Time and state practice are primarily what PIL is based upon. On a close analysis, when looked at vis a vis from the various statute laws available and the existing structures present within states, International Law seems to be an ever evolving concept which concretises depending more upon geopolitical factors present rather than making it obligatory for states to follow it. When the word ‘obligation’ is used in the context of PIL, the concept of ‘jus cogens’ is bound to arise which deals with peremptory norms from which states cannot derogate. This obligation is vested upon all states but with regard to enforceability of the same, PIL lacks necessary teeth to deal with it. Example, Apartheid existed in South Africa till the 1990’s even though Jus Cogens as a concept had been clearly established in International Law a long time before.  The renowned international law scholar,  Ian Brownlie (mooters would always swear by his name) passed away last month.  In order to find information about his untimely death, for the most part websites such as ILSA and other websites catering to International Law had to be searched. Any other legal luminary would at least find a mention in any form of media present. This is a very preliminary example of the importance and the relevance persistent the world over. For the most part, the only point in time PIL is studied in great detail is during moot courts where the ICJ docket is searched for extensively considering the 100+ cases present.  Let me elaborate the awareness of International Law with a true incident.

A certain student, ‘X’ stated in front of a bench at the Jessup India rounds that the principle of non-refoulement has attained the status of customary international law based upon state practice and opinion juris. The judge in return (civil court judge) stated that he wished to see a Bareact to verify the same. While everyone reading this would respond to this incident saying that I cannot dismiss the existence of International Law on the basis of this microscopic example. I am merely trying to state that the level of awareness and credibility of International Law is extremely low and that while people may love the subject, it could find mention only in moot courts, legal academia, research papers. The ICJ does have an awesome backdrop with world class facilities but even the ICJ has been in reality remains a posh court complex with foreign delegates, secretaries and International lawyers (mostly academicians) having high profile interactions considering the political situation prevailing at that point in time.

A necessary argument now would be that merely because a law is not enforced properly and can never bind states in the real sense, does not mean that the law should not be followed or it’s existence can be questioned. This argument is very true since the world over; laws of all types always suffer from lacunae of some sort or the other which does not make the law bad as such. However, in the case of PIL states have no binding obligation whatsoever, the UN can intervene in matters concerning the states and can only mediate or request the decisions to be followed but more often than not, these interventions and decisions always remain at the negotiation stage and do not create a binding obligation upon states. The question of jurisdiction can be examined over here- contentious and advisory jurisdiction alike, the ICJ does pass decisions but they remain decisions in name only. (Nicaragua case).  For the most part, power politics by the members of the Security Council have a role to play in the functioning and the play of International Law which makes its entire functioning flawed (Pan Am Case). International Law and its medium the judicial wing of the UN, the ICJ have never found a proper place in the global legal structure present. This happens to be the root cause for its ineffectiveness. Unless and until, domestic legal systems the world over do recognize that PIL does exist for inter-state disputes and awareness is created about the same, it would certainly remain an uphill task for PIL to carve a niche for itself. The moment this does happen, PIL would then graduate from the zone of being a westernized concept which is resorted primarily by richer nations to a legal world order where states can actually rely upon it for justice to be delivered. Palestinians the world over are crying out for Jerusalem stating it is theirs, a true scholar of International Law cannot place Jerusalem under valid control of Israel (Construction of Wall Case around Jerusalem). Does Israel care what the ICJ thinks, does the world care what PIL states and have Palestinians got justice for what has been bestowed upon them?

31 January 2010

Work last week was tough. It’s been three days that I have wanted to scratch my bum, the bum could only get its appointment with my hands only today. Words such as “recession” and “bad markets” are turning out to be humbug. Almost each day is “littered” with a new deal. One interesting new deal was for my school friend Hardik (ever tried pronouncing this name the Firang way? it sounds like the upright male unmentionable appendage!) X. Hardik  X fell in love with this Gujarati girl of his class (“The Love Of His Life”). It’s a familiar story - same age couples - girl wants to marry immediately (claiming parental pressure) - boy is interested but still has to pay off his education loan, buy dad a new car, get the house refurbished and do everything to prove to the family that he was better than his cousin (not-so-Hardik?). The Love Of His Life’s father had already started circulating her photographs in the Lajpat Nagar type dresses (with a painted Taj Mahal background!).  

The problem was peculiar, Hardik X feared The Love Of His Life may end up marrying someone else. He loved her, but could only marry her only after being the dutiful son. Hardik X in this delirium called me for my opinion. I (without the influence of 6 beers) offered to draft a Right of First Refusal agreement ("ROFR"). Under the terms of the ROFR , when The Love Of His Life finally chooses the man she wants to bed for the rest of her life, Hardik X gets the first chance to accept (or refuse) marriage with her at that particular moment. Only on  Hardik's X's denial to marry her, can she marry her father’s choice! This gave Hardik X the assurance that he still had a last-minute chance to marry The Love Of His Life.

The signing took place yesterday. The closing will take place after completion of the CP’s. One touchy CP was that the "Lovee" (Hardik X) would not touch-feel-lick-ogle-caress (emphasis supplied) any women, men, animals and insects until the exercise of the rights under the ROFR. Quite a KLPD, but as they say “all’s fair in love and war”!




30 January 2010

As a law student, there are always certain expectations and aspirations which you carry with you while entering law school. Expectations and aspirations are important since they do give you a preliminary glimpse of what path needs to be taken or which area should be focused upon. Unfortunately, this glimpse does not eventually graduate from the zone of being a glimpse to ideas which can actually be materialised. This statement must obviously seem confusing and making no sense whatsoever. Let me illustrate this with an example, A certain student 'X' enters into law school from a middle class household specifically inspired by the 'national' tag the law school has and the earning potential that he might be able to capitalise upon. While studying law, he realises that he loves the law for what it is and wants to enter litigation but is plagued by the monetary constraints that he has. What does 'X' do over here? For purists, the proper approach would be to follow your passion and believe in what you do, therefore, 'X' would be advised to take up to litigation and struggle it out. The other approach would be to capitalise upon the opportunities presented and tap the earning potential present. This is an argument where different people have different viewpoints but as far as guidance and counselling goes, unless and until 'X' would know someone big in the legal fraternity or can bask in the shade of someone big, there would be a clash of priorities created in his mind. Let us put 'X' in another situation, 'X' has to choose between going to the 'Jessup' and lets say the 'ELSA WTO Moot', while 'X' does have a keen interest in international law, he would also be inclined to go to the 'WTO Moot' from the perspective of future prospects since trade law has many firms engaged in it and that is where the earning potential is. 'X' again is faced with a clash of priorities in his head to which the only answer would be to forgo one for the other like in the earlier case. A final example in this regard, suppose 'X' has to choose between doing an LLM and getting work experience, where does 'X' go? Again there is a clash of priorities in this regard.

While webstites do exist, career guidance books are present and people in the field can advise a student on a path to pursue. A common link which can be drawn in each of the illustrations mentioned in the preceding paragraph is that 'X' always has an opportunity cost to choose. This is because, law the field by itself is vast and so overlapping in its avenues, it is extremely tough to categorise a particular avenue in watertight compartments as such. An area of interest can be developed and imbibed over a period of time such as IPR, Tax etc. but this happens only in few cases and in most cases, atleast 90 % of the cases that I have seen, people seem to be confused because of the very nature of law that exists and the seemingly thin line of demarcation that exists within the aspects of 'choosing' and then 'pursuing' a particular path.  Most people end up sticking to a job or an avenue or an area of research by virtue of default because guidance at the age where the law is taught and learnt fails to give a fair view of the opportunities and the challenges each avenue has. The national law universities and colleges alike mostly havea herd mentality present and rely more on hearsay snippets and information about any particular avenue which can be taken up.

While, I am anticipating comments in vehement opposition of what I have stated with a recurring undercurrent stating that "You must do your own research, find out your avenues and are responsible to choose between 'earning' and 'interest'. " These anticipated comments would fail to appreciate the twin objectives this entry intended to convey, firstly, the constant confusion that a law student is faced in some form or the other at some time or the other in his/her law school life and secondly, the existing 'trial and error' approach that most people are resorting to in the present day legal market due to lack of accurate guidance and counselling with regard to the same. Of course, the elite national law schools would presumably cater to all requirements of a law student but what about the rest, do the rest of the law students have to necessarily adopt a default or trial and error based approach and make it a tale of the rich church mice with proper guidance, counselling and conviction and the poor church mice with a constant tumoil of having to deal with opportunity costs time and again for no fault of theirs?


30 January 2010

Back in school we’d done our share of campaigns relating to various social causes which generally dealt with awareness building among our fellow students. Interning at an NGO was my first hands-on experience on dealing with societal problems. Though my job mainly included analyzing data and making reports, it also gave me an insight into how these institutions work and more importantly the extent of their impact on the society. Also, since I was away from home for the first time in life, it was quite an experience handling stuff on my own. One day, I had to get some official documents verified at a public office and the official demanded a bribe. It was a petty amount but it sure got me riled up and I got into an argument with the officer. Eventually I didn’t have to pay in the end but it was quite an experience for me, especially when the request was so frank and my so very utterly helpless feeling.

In fact, a 2005 study done by Transparency International (TI) in India found that more than 50% of the people had firsthand experience of paying bribe or peddling influence to get a job done in a public office. Several NGOs fighting this disease have sprung up. Collectively they’ve succeeded to a certain extent in bringing about a change in the attitude and mindset of the people. The RTI has empowered the common man to legally question the tasks performed by a public office. The onus is on the citizen now and his cause needn’t be taken up by an NGO. I believe in change at a grass root level. And it doesn’t always have to be initiated by those at the top of the ladder. The 5th Pillar, an international NGO with the Indian HQ in Chennai has a unique concept of ‘zero pay for public services’. You may think about the futility of this very obvious statement but have a look at the zero rupee note right below. 



                                     Zero rupee note- A social ally

When a public servant encounters a common man thrusting this note towards him, it becomes a mark of silent protest and an assertion of the fact that he is aware and can’t be exploited. More importantly, people are willing to use the note. The NGO has opened up a path that can pave the way for relatively simple ideas like the zero rupee notes to turn into a powerful social statement against petty corruption.


For more information, check out their official website-http://india.5thpillar.org/


29 January 2010

The name is Popat…LegalPopat! After a hard day’s of work, I don’t mind it either shaken or stirred.

Who are you? :  I am a lawyer at a leading law firm in India. A friendly neighborhood ass-0-ciate.Every partners dread and every associates weapon, your darkest side- that’s LegalPopat!

Why are you shrouded? – I obviously love my job and love the money which follows even more. I am not giving it up for you guys.

So what is your blog about? – A “frank blog” is how I would term it. A blog on everything law, non law, love, sex, pornography, casting couch and ouch!

This being the first post…I say the mandatory “hello” to all the LegallyIndia readers. I shall try squeeze in a post at least once every week.




27 January 2010

KK Luthra Memorial International Criminal Law

It all started on 7th November 2009 when after ranking 3rd in the Intra-College selection rounds of National Law University, New Delhi, i was selected for the KK Luthra Memorial Criminal Law Moot Court, 2010, which happens to be the the very first moot on International Criminal Law, to be held in India, with 48 teams participating including Cambridge University and team from Pakistan. It was conducted by Campus Law Center, Delhi University.

I had previously participated in a no. of Model UN Conferences, especially in Security Councils, so I already had an inherent interest in Human rights and matters of International Humanitarian Law. This years moot problem was based on the crime of Genocide in a certain country, which had domestic laws similar to that of India, and the applicable statute was that of the UNICTR. To summarize the factual matrix: It was a medley of the Genocide in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, the Godhra-riots, Sikh-riots, and The Bombay Riots. All in all it was a well-balanced and compelling problem, wherein the accused, the CM of a State, was convicted by the trial chamber of an International Tribunal, set up in his home country, and the moot was to take place in the Appeals Chamber.

My  Team comprised of myself as the 1st speaker, Aditya Sharma as 2nd Speaker and Mohit Sharma as researcher. We first of all started, by reading and re-reading the entire problem and critically analyzing and interpreting factual issues. The best way to do this is to keep writing your interpretations of each fact, for both the Appellants and the Respondents side simultaneously. After having sufficiently internalized the factual situation, we started drawing parallels to similar factual situations as stated above. After further research on each precedent, we shortlisted ones which closely resembled the given factual matrix. Then we turned to case law on the these factual situations. The International Tribunal judgments proved very useful in this regard, since they contained an in depth discussion of arguments from either sides, and discussion of past -precedents. This helped us divide legal arguments from each sides perspective. To brush up our knowledge on International Criminal Law, we referred to several manuals of the same subject. The late night heated discussions on applicable law and interpretations and countless cups of coffee, are a sweet reminder of the beautiful experience that mooting is.

This brings us to the second stage, the memorial writing stage. We visited the ISIL library, which is right in front of the Supreme Court, and got hold of a no. of books and texts on specific sub-issues involved like jurisdiction, crimes against humanity , Joint criminal enterprise, instigation etc. We then turned to writing arguments, having with us piles of photocopies, random notes taken during discussions, criminal law manuals etc. We had divided the five issues in question between the three of us, depending on who has a better  grasp of it. The writing of the memorial went right into the night till dawn. It took us around 7-8 days to finish the memorial from the day we actually started writing. The result, after printing and spiral bindings was far from perfect containing several un-avoidable typographical errors due to last minute hassles. But that didn't end up being an impediment in securing us the 4th Highest marks in the memorial 30.5/ 40, the winning team had 32 Marks. Preparation for the oral pleadings was spread over 5 days, which included reading the memo several times. The actual pleading included a single piece of paper containing an authority cheat sheet, with the footnote no and page no. of the authority in the memo. This proved to be quite useful especially during the grilling questions posed by the judges. We had quite a memorable stay at the DU hostel, details of which are a story for another day. During the inaugural ceremony we met with legal stalwarts like Siddhartha Luthra, who happens to be an extremely humble and a gregarious human being. He took personal interest in each team and asked for feedback and other inputs.  We also met with other teams we had met at the ISIL library, who were equally nervous about the next day event. The first day ended with an exchange of memorials, and we spent the night taking apart the memorials for both the prelim rounds, which really made us feel like real lawyers, reminding of the scene from A FEW GOOD MEN,the one with the day before trial.

We were scheduled for the Session-II prelims, so the morning was spent frantically cross-referencing and revising arguments. We were the respondents in the first round, and it turned out to be quite an easy affair, considering the Appellants had erred on several points of law and fact. We won that round by a margin of 120 marks(A=309, R=430), which really boosted our confidence. The  second round was comparatively easy with the judges being quite passive, and less inquisitive. We won that round with a margin of 110(A=460, R=350). Soon afterwards, we were told that we have made it to the Top 8 teams, based on our memo scores, since there were 13 teams with 2 wins each. The teams that lost out in the prelims were Cambridge University, NLIU bhopal and NUJS. We were pitted against 3rd and 4th  year students from NALSAR in the quarter finals, which eventually won the Best Speaker and Runners-up award. The quarter-finals had a set of extremely talented judges who mostly tested your general knowledge of criminal and constitutional issues, rather than on main issue. One of the judges, who seemed like an accomplished trial lawyer, asked questions(many of them leading) as one would cross-examine a witnesses and ultimately make you say something which in retrospect would seem quite incorrect. Since, the quarters took place at around 9 in the night, the judge were very hostile and testy. All in all, to prevail in the quarter finals one requires an in depth knowledge of all areas of law, in depth knowledge of basic fundamentals, and presence of mind which comes only from experience. We lost to NALSAR with a margin of 20 marks. The biggest consolation, was that just before the results came out, the opposing counsel came up to me, and said: ''It's gonna be really close, you guys very confident up there, and we screwed up really bad! Which year are you in?"

First Year. The look on his face after my response, and the compliments that followed, are one of the best memories of that moot. The judges from that round also congratulated us on our convincing abilities, including Mr. Siddhartha Luthra himself. Even though, my journey into my first moot has ended, i went to Indian Habitat Center the next day, to witness some stellar mooting from the GLC team, who very clearly very experienced and much better grasp of the legal issues in question. The first  speaker, was so confident that he even evoked a couple good laughs from the presiding Delhi High Court Judges, from his witty retorts.

All in all, this was one my most memorable in my still short but quite eventful life in law school, promising a great many more in the next 4 and a half years. I would like to thank our mentor Mr. Apar Gupta, who in my belief is one of the best mooter i have come across. Thank you Apar, for taking time out of your busy schedule and spending time with, and providing us with those useful nuggets, that made our experience all the more enriching. I would also like to thank my team mates Aditya, for his un-ending arguments, Mohit, for being an emotional and moral supporter through this ordeal, The Registrar, the VC and the librarian for providing us any books we needed for an indefinite period, and finally my fellow students at NLU, Delhi who constantly counselled and motivated me.

18 January 2010

An Indian law student has taken up the baton to defend Indian legal process outsourcing (LPO) against an onslaught of anti-Indian-lawyer comments on self-styled US legal tabloid AboveTheLaw.

Although the majority of comments on ATL are intentionally offensive and ironic, it has been a while since anybody has stood up for Indian Law Inc.

Indian guest commenter writes:

"As an Indian law student, I've had a good time reading some of the comments above.

Firstly - Suck it up. Okay, we get it. Some of you are pissed off, you're losing your jobs / work. But - your rant on a blog is hardly productive. Your time is better spent moving along and exploring ways to be more efficient with whatever work you have left. Until then, yes. You're going to keep getting your ass whooped by a 24 year old law student.

Secondly - Considering all the hostility directed towards the Indian lawyers - you should know that we are pretty good at what we do. The steadily increasing number of trainee-level recruits to your bigger firms from our law schools should also tell you something. It would be heartwarming to see you try and not pretend otherwise.

Thirdly - We don't give a shit. There's enough work for us Indian lawyers. With a booming domestic market, we have enough work to keep us occupied. What you should really be thinking is - if your firms are looking to come and give us work - outside of the "economic rationality" which has already been spoken about, it must mean that we're doing something right? Also, as for the "economic rationality" itself, most Indian firms pay pretty handsomely. It's just that the work that the LPOs are taking on - well, even the low - mid level associates can take on that work.

Well said.

But it still makes me wonder - why exactly is there so much animosity towards Indian lawyers doing US work for a fraction of the price?

Surely, it is nothing new and the business model and demand are now beyond question. So when will US lawyers face up to market realities instead of sticking their head in the sand?

31 December 2009

Read about all the important changes in Indian corporate laws in the past year, in this comprehensive round-up of the latest laws and regulations by the as-ever excellent Indian Corporate Law Blog.

Covering everything from LLPs, Satyam-fallout-related changes in corporate governance, SEBI reforms, the Takeover Code and M&A, exchange controls, taxation and commercial arbitration.

A little something for everyone in a corporate law firm, in short.

Happy New Year!