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Dialogue: Anjanay Pandey

In this Interview, Harshit and Tanurag on behalf of the Journal Committee have a conversation with fifth-year student Anjanay Pandey about his placement, views on the importance of internships, legal writing, experiences in RML, and much more.

Harshit – Please give us a brief introduction of yourself. Tell us about your pre-college life and how you ended up choosing law?

Anjanay – Even though I hail from UP, I haven’t lived there for more than 3 years because my father is in the army. I have travelled to a lot of places. I love reading, podcasts, music, pop-culture, and media. I also love having nice conversations with people. My life runs on Netflix these days. I feel like these are some last moments before I plunge myself into the “work-life”. So, I’m trying to chill out as much as possible.

The reason I chose law was that I wanted to do something which really connected me to the things which I like. I like talking, reading, analysing people, etc. By 9th grade, I sorted out 3-4 areas, all connected to humanities. I wanted to do something which I excel at, which is social studies. Humanities is the field which gave us law. As time progressed, I realised that it might be best if I stick to law because it has a bit of history, social studies, and psychology thrown in. It is the most diverse field. So I could hone my orientation towards humanities in this discipline. This led me to choose law.

Harshit – Coming to your life in RML, you were involved in a lot of social clubs and societies. Can you tell us how these social clubs helped you to shape your personality?

Anjanay – I have said this before that humans are political animals. But they should also be cultural animals. We must try to imbibe some culture in us, have conversations with people whom we don’t necessarily mingle with. Encountering any cultural piece is very important. That is why I chose to be a part of the literary club. I became a part of the literary club because I wanted to engage with ideas and not just books. I wanted to talk about movies, issues and several other things in society. I wanted to share experiences. 

I am very thankful to people for starting these clubs and both continued to make me understand the assemblage of the culture here in RML. I really liked it there. There was a point of time when the only socialization I would do was in JC or in these clubs. Those were the best times of my life. Even in difficult times, these things helped me in their own way. Having a cultural life in RML is very important. You might be a fascinating orator but if you can’t engage with ideas, you will stop learning.

Learning is what the college is here for otherwise, we could just have been in a distance course. Why is it that we pay a lot of money just to be here? The thing is the whole college and the environment it creates is important because it helps with the learning process. 

Harshit – As you said that law is a very wide field and diverse options are available to the students. Wasn’t it tough to choose one option out of so many which suited your interest?

Anjanay – This is a question which a lot of my juniors ask. The thing is it’s really not that tough. I would describe the process as going to a shop and buying clothes. There are a lot of clothes for you to buy so you try everything, right? So, you give international law, corporate, and many other fields a try and you see what you can pull off. Essentially this is what choosing the right field of law is for you. You must try and indulge yourself in it as much as possible and the faculty can only do so much. Ultimately it falls upon your shoulders and it is an obligation unto you. You’ve to immerse yourself and see if it suits you or not. No matter how important IPR is I might not understand it completely or not be able to give it my 100%. It is a process of trial and error combined with elimination. 

One should start from the first year. It is okay if you are not completely dedicated to it because you’re still getting acclimated to it. From the second year when the internships start and the practical exposure to law begins, from there on you should start this process. I never knew how interesting Public International Law could be until I did some research on a case. The same goes for Property Law and Labour Law. You never know unless you delve down and face the realities. 

Tanurag – Share your mooting and debating experiences with us? Did these activities help you in your professional life?

Anjanay – I participated in debates because I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I am that good a debater but I think I’m a decent adj. I broke into just one tournament. Adjudication for me was always about the exposure that I will get from people or the surroundings. I looked up to great debaters like Akshay and Satvik. I use to feel a bit heartbroken when I wouldn’t break in. For me debating was more about contributing towards the college. It did not help me professionally though.

When it comes to mooting, it was the other way around. I knew drafting which is why drafting my memo for moots became easier. I was very unlucky when it came to mooting though. Whenever we tried for the GIs, we would get a decent rank but the moot would be cancelled or some other problem came up. Same happened for OCs. I just did one OC before Philip C Jessup which was ICC. We couldn’t crack it because we were confused about the format. I was very unfortunate until I went for GLC. It was a nice experience. Then we went for Jessup’s National Rounds. We couldn’t do that well but it was still a good and learning experience. 

By 3rd year, I could properly draft things like SLPs. I had a fair bit of an idea of how lawyers went about with them. That helped me in mooting rather than the other way. There are People who learn through moots and end up getting job offers for the skills they acquired through mooting. But I wasn’t very good at it. These things helped me boost my confidence and speaking skills. I feel the more confident you are, the better you are as a lawyer. 

Harshit – A very important part of Law school is legal writing. How was your experience with legal writing?

Anjanay– I took part in conferences and wrote for them.  I always chose very unique topics. For example, one was on ‘Mobile Apps for Prevention of Crime Against Women’. On this, I wrote a conference paper with one of my batchmates. I also wrote a paper on ‘Right to Sexuality’. But I could never properly execute it. I think this is very ironical considering the fact that I have been a part of the Journal Committee. I never pushed hard enough. Something was always against me, perhaps my research was a bit non-individual or I wasn’t writing on the relevant topics. Ultimately it boils down to what is contemporary right now.

I love the fact that I contributed to the blog post. I have 2-3 entries on the RMLNLU Law Review Blog. That is something I am really proud of. Right now, ideas matter, opinions matter. A blog post gives you a lot of freedom as to what you want to convey. I have come across brilliant entries on various blog posts. Since I am biased towards our blog post, I would say that ours is the best! 

Harshit – Coming to your internships now, what role do internships play in a law student’s life? What should be kept in mind before applying?

Anjanay – First of all, ask your seniors because they know things. The way it usually goes is that the first internship should ideally be with an NGO. Then a district lawyer and a research-based organisation. Post that a small law firm and then a big firm. After all of this, you start to specialise. For example, a big law firm dealing with a specific branch or field of law. You expose yourself to various terrains.  

I started with an NGO which was a brilliant decision on my part. I had a wonderful exposure. I’ve also interned under a district court lawyer and in a research advocacy group. Post that I interned in a small law firm and then with two companies. The reason for interning with companies was because I realised that I wanted to be an in-house counsel. I interned in a start-up as well. Essentially expose yourself to as many scenarios as possible. From an NGO to a corporate giant. Leave no stone unturned and try to see how well you fit in those scenarios. It will be very good for you if you adapt quickly. Skills once learned are only going to be better if you keep practicing. You should learn quickly because the basic skills never change. What does change is how you apply them and where you apply them. 

Tanurag – Which was your best internship experience? 

Anjanay – I won’t say the best experience because it is a very qualitative term. In terms of the weight that an internship had, Pinky Anand (Additional Solicitor General) was very important. I did a lot of work there due to which I learned a lot.

Another one such experience was LexIngenious. It is a legal start-up catering to other start-ups. They came up mostly with the work from the corporate sector. The questions were fascinating. In every other internship, I had to prepare long research briefs to make them presentable in courts but herein we weren’t fighting in the court. We were trying to find answers. I really liked doing it because it used to be very fascinating. I would research not for hours but for days and my answer would come to just one or two paragraphs. The start-up had to send rapid-fire responses and for the purpose, only the gist was required. I had to improvise my entire answering model. 

Alliance Law Group was a very wonderful place to work at. The people there were very accommodating. They even had a dog named Whiskey. They were thoroughly impressed with my work. My first drafting was there. One of the associates even sat down with me and told me how to draft an SLP. 

All of it shows that small law firms genuinely care about the work their interns are doing. Even the partners stayed with me. Both these places told me that if I want to work there, they could arrange something. It might’ve been in the form of an assessment internship followed by an offer. I had soft offers from both places. Not to say that I got PPOs from them. I really liked working for them because they really appreciated my work a lot. They gave me tons and tons of skills which I would use in the future. 

Harshit – A lot of people will be interning in the coming semesters. Do you have any advice for them?

Anjanay – You should know all the general things. If you’re working with someone you should ask them what is it that you should be prepared with, for example, the fields of law. A lot of places have duties that they assign to interns. My duty in LexIngenious was that I had to prepare a weekly roster of laws, amendments, and a specific set of rules. I had to make a list of all the amendments in different fields just for their archive. Doing basic research about the place beforehand helps you because you then understand the scope of your duties. Ask them about the books they would regularly use, the research and resources that they have. 

It also doesn’t hurt to gain remote access from the college. It is very important and it helps a lot. A lot of people think that it goes underutilised. I cannot tell you how many times SCCOnline has saved me. You should also know how to do research properly. Other things are important too like being tidy, showing up on time. Please do not leave one internship just because you found a more lucrative one. It reflects badly upon those people and they come after you. 

Harshit – Coming to the Campus Placements in RML, what is the current position in your eyes?

Anjanay – It ultimately boils down to how active IPC and the student community is. I am really happy to say that IPC from my batch has really done some amazing work. I truly appreciate the people who are there and the hard work that they have done for the student community.

Campus placements are not really ideal in so much as that we cannot attract tier 1 and 2 law firms. This is partly our fault for not having enough reputation on the outside, and partly their fault for not seeing past the glitters and glamor of the top law schools. A student can come from a very nice law school and still be a very bad researcher. On the other hand, there can be people from very humble backgrounds who can be the most amazing of researchers/drafters. Just because you come from a specific place, should not limit your options. Law firms and people in the college should realise that. Give your best to the places you are interning in. Until and unless you yourself are the vanguard of change, you yourself have to be the change. 

Tanurag – The student community in RML is not much lured towards corporate jobs. What is your take on that?

Anjanay – I have a very big problem with that. A lot of people treat RML like a 5-year vacation. Yes, we have some of the most liberal curriculum, and it’s not that demanding. But it certainly does not mean that you should take advantage of that. That’s just limiting yourself. Why pursue a national hobby like Civils? I think there’s a very old joke that parents won’t be happy until and unless the child is pursuing the 3 Is (IAS, IIM, IIT). This is very unfortunate because corporate and litigation can give you amazing opportunities. Same goes for civil advocacy and a lot of other things. 

You just need to find your niche. A lot of people don’t do that and just give up. Since they have contacts in some places, they go and work there and barely just get a certificate which further degrades our position. It should not happen. 

If you have ended up in this place, mind you this place is subsidised. The food that you eat and the environment you live in is not charged accordingly. A private college would have charged perhaps quadruple of the amount you are paying right now easily. You need to realise that this college is giving you something. It is investing in you. You should be good investments for it. Make the college proud. 

Harshit – Wrapping up, I’d like to ask what is closest to your heart in RML?

Anjanay – During the last class that happened, which was organised by 4th years, there were 2 questions- what will you miss the most? I think I will miss RML largely for the people that make this place better. But also, significantly how beautiful it is. The campus is stunning. I don’t think any other campus can boast of such magnificent columns, lush trees, amazing things here. It has this micro-climate that RML creates. It is so cool and pacifying. When I first came here for my counselling, I was dumbfounded. My eyes were all over the place. It is a really really nice place and I’m lucky to be here. This place can heal you, cherish you and give you joy. I will definitely miss the really nice friends I made here. But I will definitely miss the college because of the environment it has. It made my night walks amazing. RML is not all sunshine and rainbows. It also has its dark moments when it can be cruel to you. In those dark moments, the college says that it is here for you and will take care of you.

Tanurag – What are your future plans?

Anjanay – I don’t know. Professionally speaking I would like to work as an in-house counsel in a company where I am valued. I don’t desire a lot of riches. I just want the ideal balance between work and life. Where I could give my 100% and be appreciated for it. 

The Journal Committee wishes best of luck to Anjanay in his future endeavors and hopes that this conversation helped shed some light on the importance of internships, legal writing, and extracurricular activities in a student’s College life.

 

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