Career Talk with Adv. Sushant M. Singh, Phase II: Real Life, Real Challenges

sushant singh ipr lawyer

See the first part of the interview HERE.

Q. Some important things which law school didn’t teach you but ‘working’ did? 

One thing Law School could not teach me is the way to function in life; one has to be smart, presentable and advise appropriately to the extent it is required so that he/she should not lose the client.

So, the practice side of law coupled with client handling along with human relation advisory is the thing which comes with experience than by studying in theory.

Q. How does one gain and retain clients? What’s the magic mantra for ensuring an ever growing client base?

There is no straight jacket formula which can be penned down in order to find out the answer as how to retain clients.

Once you confidently argue your case in the Court of Law with full preparation and Judge gives you good evidence then one feels very happy and can think that his career has kick-started.

Retention and gaining of clients’ would thus depend upon the efforts you put in the matter the time you spent with the client and how well-versed you are with the brief when you are in front of your client as well as in Court.

That again the said confidence comes with the passage of time when you reap good results for him by your efforts which you put-in, in the matter.

It is a long drawn process to gain clients’ and to retain them is an equally difficult task in such highly competitive era.

As a lawyer one has to be well-versed with new judgments and with the new laws that are passed, application of such laws, newer fields of technologies in order to make client feel comfortable with existing lawyer.

Thus, it is a process of continuous learning where everyday you learn, touch base with people exposed to profession , broaden your horizon by reading and thereafter again counsel and advice appropriately to give direction which creates name and fame and in turn gives you satisfaction as well as provide you with newer clients’ coming your way.

There is no magic mantra as such to gain clients’ except the hard-work and continuous persistent efforts as stated above. 

Q. What according to you should be the focus of the law students at law school? How should they shape up their potential career graph?

I think that law school is that time, which a law student should spend in reading more and more law books in order to make himself/herself aware of newer branches of law.

He/she should also participate in competitions, expose themselves to the legal profession by doing internships in order to have hold as to how legal profession functions.

Overall, if a law student tries to read as many laws and understand them and read English laws also, in order to have international exposure, one would definitely get benefit when it comes to practicing the same, as at the time to practice the homework of reading different kinds of laws would pay him/her, in order to further his practice at the earliest.

The law student should shape up his career by doing all these acts of reading, participating in competition which would definitely help in making a good career graph. 

Q. What survival instincts should lawyers-to-be develop?

As I am a keen learner which I stated above, a good lawyer should always be ready and willing to accept new challenges and keep on giving strength to himself/herself in his/her career for all times to come.

There is no other piece of advice which I find is worthy than that of- “ready to learn and accept new challenges.”

Q. What is the real world like? Please throw some light on your schedule.

The real world for a practicing lawyer is quite tough and is dedicated to Court, public dealings and the client.

Well, I join office at around 8:30 – 9:00 A.M. and almost sit for 12 hours inclusive of Court time that runs for almost 4-5 hours in the Court.

For reading or for briefs, one either has to study till late or get up early in order to build a structure of arguments which he/she is going to make the next day. The schedule of busy lawyer is quite tight but at the end of the day, there is self satisfaction, recognition and acceptability for which one works.

Thus, overall I find this job as an enjoyable one and can be called myself as a self-made person.

Q. You have an ever growing IPR firm of your own. What is it like to run a firm on your own? What are your future plans?

It feels good to have a firm of your own but at the managing level, there are lot many responsibilities.

The responsibilities are coupled with habits also. Once you accept yourself as a pilot in the driving seat, then you are responsible for entire aircraft and you have to ensure that it will continue to fly and would never crash down.

Also, you have to be courageous to accept the fame as well as the criticism attached to your non-performance. These are the mind feelings I have after running my law firm.

The future plans I have for the law firm is that I want to have good bunch of people who can study cases, attend cases at all level, add value to my firm and to themselves as an advocate.

Q. How is IPR a good career option?

IPR is a multi-dimensional field involving several branches of subjects like creativity signs, innovations as well as communication bent of. There is much more in IPR than what we read in books.

As a general introduction,  law students tend to believe that IPR is a kind of repetitive job and become monotonous after some time, but for me, IPR is like engineering, as there is skill involved in arguing, making preparations etc.

It is easy to gain a case of IPR but at the same time, it is difficult to win such cases by engineering them with your skill and understanding the scheme and proposition relating to IPR.

It reminds me of one quote by Amitabh Bachchan during the KBC promotional campaign where he promotes knowledge by saying “Seekhna Band Toh Jeetna Band”. I think this is the way of life and young talent in India should follow it. 

Q. Some students are hesitant in opting for a career in IPR litigation as they are forever lured by the easy money of a fancy desk job and a corporate title. What’d be your message to them?

I think that one’s choice is one’s own prerogative which cannot be tampered by imposition by the third person’s advice.

Having said that, I would still say that law as a profession is multi-facet and IPR litigation is one of such facet which is quite interesting, challenging and involves newer kind of techniques and skills.

One can opt IPR as a subject if he/she agreeable to work hard and enjoys living in the environment of commercial litigation and also believes in steady growth. The cases of IPR are quite interesting and challenging and one should definitely try the same as a career option. 

Q. What would be your 3 biggest piece of advises to law students entering the profession? 

The following are my three advises to law students:

  1. As a young person, one often loses confidence and faith on the things which he/she is doing as a work profile and one has a tendency to confuse himself/herself by finding new avenues early without understanding the consequences of consistency or lack of consistency, leading to losing the hold on the subject. One should have faith and confidence upon himself/herself and upon the law office where he/she is proposing to work so that the person should not get bored or confused so easily within a short span of few months and start finding new jobs. The’ consistency of stay’ in one’s office has a role to play as a good lawyer and increasing one’s knowledge bank in the particular field.
  2. For a good lawyer, one has to be ‘ patient’ in so far as the progress is concerned as things come slowly in favour of one person as a lawyer and one should not lose hope very easily which in turn creates insecurity and frustration.
  3. ‘Always give right advice’ which is legally correct as lawyers cannot be merely mouthpiece of advice as said by Lord Denny. All this would mean that if the client is telling a lawyer to do things which is legally not permissible, the lawyer must have courage to correct the client and say that it is not possible and one should believe in the administration of justice as a system and guide the clients’ accordingly only then there will be name and fame of a lawyer.


Editor’s Note: The post was first published 8th November 2013.

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