Career Talk with Divya Chaudhary of RMLNLU: On Mooting, Debating and Managing Multiple Things

This interview has been conducted by Shubhashish Chaudhri, ex Campus Manager, RMLNLU, Lucknow. The interview was taken on December 9, 2014.

Divya has been one of the core adjudicators of the college and has also won the best adjudicator prize at IIT-GUWAHATI and been a semifinalis at various other debates.

Her mooting achievements are one to be talked about. She was the best orator at the ASIA-PACIFIC ROUND of the 12th ELSA Moot Court Competition, she also qualified for the World Rounds of the same and were the 3rd Best Team at the Asian Rounds.

With a keen interest in International law she is currently the Senior Editor of the RMLNLU Law Review and has publications to her credit in various international journals.

Q1. What made you take up law as a career?

To be completely honest, the idea to pursue it struck me when a couple of ex-students from my school, who had cracked CLAT earlier, gave us a short orientation on law as a career option.

I took this prospect to my father, who after due consideration encouraged me to go ahead.

Frankly, I wasn’t absolutely sure about it either till the time I actually entered a law school.

Q2. What or who can we call to be your inspiration?

I continue to draw inspiration from my father, even though he’s a Chartered Accountant by profession, because all these years I’ve had the good fortune of observing his unflinching commitment, sincerity and most importantly, discipline which inspires me to push my boundaries and excel.

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Q3. You are amongst the TOP-15 rank holders of your batch so is there any pressure regarding marks or maintaining a decent CGPA?

Fortunately, we were made to realize the importance of consistency in maintaining a decent CGPA at the very outset by professors and seniors. I won’t call it pressure but there is always a sense of healthy competition that drives you to sustain the consistency in attaining decent grades.

However, I am a firm believer of the fact that good grades can only take you so far. The significance of being involved in a plethora of other activities, especially at law school, can hardly be undermined.

Q4. Your team was a semifinalist at the GNLU International Moot Court Competition. Tell us about that?

The experience at GIMC was very encouraging, more so because we were only in our IInd year at law school.

The proposition at GIMC essentially has International Trade Law as its subject matter, which was something very new for the entire team. We spent our first few weeks in gathering a basic understanding of Trade Law and then moved forward with the merits of the proposition.

The rare opportunity of being able to argue before Trade Law Experts from the country was something all of us cherished.

Q5. You were the Best Oralist for Quarter Finals at the Asia Pacific Round of the 12th ESLA Moot and your team was adjudged as the 3rd best team. Tell us about it?

ELSA was a step further in pursuing our interest in International Trade Law.

The Asia Pacific Round of ELSA caters to the highest number of teams participating in any regional round across the globe and the sheer experience of arguing against brilliantly prepared teams from Asian countries is something to gain from.

Familiarity with Trade Law, constant guidance from seniors & our experience at GIMC were undeniably the key factors that facilitated our performance at the competition.

ELSA 3Q6. You further went on to the World Rounds of the same moot. How was the experience of arguing in front of such esteemed judges?

World Rounds of ELSA are the closest you can get to the actual Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the World Trade Organization.

They give a platform to clash with the likes of Harvard and Oxford simultaneously exposing you to a massive network of students and professionals working at the World Trade Organization Headquarters in Geneva.

The experience was incredibly inspiring to appear before those very experts who had been quoted by us in our pleadings. Since the judges strictly adhere to the time limit and extensions are rare, careful time management, prioritization of arguments & crisp delivery ultimately make the difference.

But in my opinion, the principal requirement is to have confidence in one’s ability to succeed at that level which can be acquired only with constant practice and research.

Q7. About being adjudicator at various national level parliamentary debates across the country.

I’ve enjoyed debating right from my first year at law school.

Gradually, I have come to realise that it is an inherent part of our day-to-day lives. Whether you’re debating on trivial issues in the cafeteria or debating the ramifications of extending the hostel timings for girls, I think all of us hold a particular view on a wide range of issues.

Parliamentary Debating only provides a sophisticated platform, governed by a set of rules, to give vent to those views not in closed doors, but in public. In fact, the importance of having your own view as a lawyer can hardly be over emphasised.

Q8. How have you been balancing your academics with moots which require loads of preparation?

Frankly, I haven’t been doing my best in this regard. Time management & planning well in advance play a crucial role in helping to manage moots & academics simultaneously. It is important to understand that if managed well, you’ll have ample time to excel at both.

All you need to do is to enjoy and relish new challenges and opportunities, even if they’re a little burdensome at times.

Q10. You were a part of the Moot Court Committee of the college  and you are currently one of the senior editors of the RMLNLU Law Review. How do you think being in committees help?

The biggest value addition to your personality that comes in by virtue of being a part of a committee is the skill of being a team worker despite having parallel personal affiliations.

With that, also comes the ability to handle important assignments, the opportunity to interact with distinguished individuals and the platform to navigate the existing system for the benefit of all.

10387675_404748366340848_6419600244740134774_nQ11. You also have various publications in different journals so tell us what goes into writing a good, publishable article. Any tips?

The foremost step is to pick an appropriate subject matter of interest since writing a well researched article requires devotion and commitment lasting over a period of time.

To opt for an area that is relatively unexplored, in order to add to the existing jurisprudence is considered extremely useful.

This coupled with the ability to research extensively and put forth a substantially concrete opinion augurs well for your article to be published.

Q12. You are also pursuing the Company Secretary course . Tell us how do you manage to study for that and how far is that also beneficial for a law student?

The Company Secretary course is highly beneficial for someone who wants to specialise in Corporate Law.

The course equips you with detailed knowledge of subjects like Taxation and other Commercial Laws allowing you to excel at internships in the IIIrd, IVth and Vth Year which are rather more important.

However, at times it does get a little difficult to manage the Course considering that the examination schedule is such that they usually clash with internships.

Q13. What do you intend to do after completing law school?

I would love to pursue my Master’s from abroad, but that will only follow after I’ve put in a couple of years of work in India in order to be absolutely sure about the area I want to specialise in.

So, the immediate plan of action would be to work at a law firm after graduation.

Q14. Your internships have ranged from JSA, LKS, Kochhar, etc. Tell us about htem.

An internship is probably the best and sometimes the only interface between you and the practical world. Broadly speaking, your internships help you to practically apply everything that you’re taught at law school by having to deal with real world problems.

Internships in diverse areas of law was a deliberate attempt to find a space which is best suited to my skill set. It is only after a couple of varied internships, that I’ve now zeroed down on Corporate Law having developed interest in this field.

Q15. Any tips, mantras or golden rules to live out life in a law school?

Law school allows you to experience something unique every day.

You are bound to excel as well as make mistakes, but if one can learn to gain something from every experience and grow, you need no rule or mantra to live out a successful life in a law school.

Take on challenges and grab every opportunity that comes your way, give it your best and shine through!

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  1. Kindly advise on law school rankings for the benefit of students and parents. India Today has just released their ranking:

    1. NLSIU
    2. DU
    3. NALSAR
    4. GNLU
    5. SYMBIOSIS

    Is this accurate? Please help as it is a very stressful time for everyone.

    • administrator says:

      If a college X is ranked 3 by India Today and a college Y is ranked 4 by India Today, does NOT mean that they are actually rank 4 and 5.

      What you can take that to mean is that those are top law colleges. Take these rankings to be a ‘guideline’ and not ‘the word cast in stone. Here are some things you can do to do your own research.

      1. Read the book ‘Decisive’ to know how to make better decisions.

      2. Check for recruitment stats from Legally India or Bar and Bench.

      3. Check out the faculty profiles on the college’s websites.

      4. Check Lawctopus (this website) for what sort of events these colleges are conducting.

      5. Contact current students and alumni (over Facebook and Linkedin) and ask them for feedback.

      6. And maybe, actually, visit the 2-3 colleges you are confused about for a couple of days each to see what ‘feels’ right. Talk to the faculty and the students. See the infrastructure for yourself. It won’t take more than 20,000 rupees to do this!

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