INTERVIEW: Ambuj Sonal, Senior Associate @ Link Legal, Mumbai on How to Secure a PPO in 4th Year

Q.1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

I was born and brought up in a very small town called Bokaro in Jharkhand. I did my schooling from a school at Bokaro. Being in a small town, we as students had very little opportunities and exposure for future career guidance.

In 2007, there was no CLAT I appeared for each law school entrance exam and I was lucky enough to clear a few of them. Finally, I chose Chanakya National Law University, Patna. I studied law at CNLU and graduated in the year 2012 after which I joined DH Law Associates, Mumbai.

It’s been approximately four years since I have joined DH and I currently work as a Senior Associate at the firm. At D.H, I started with dispute resolution and commercial litigation and after 1.5yrs, I started working on Merger & Acquisition team.

My areas of specialization are Joint Venture, Mergers and Acquisitions and Arbitration.

Q.2. Tell us about your law school experience. How was life at CNLU for five years?

Splendid is the word, I use. My experience at CNLU has been amazing. It has a hand in shaping me the way I am today.

As CNLU, was one of the new law schools in the Country at that point of time, I always had a sort of intimidation from other well established law schools.

However, in order to overcome the intimidate feeling, I always used to put in the extra efforts in whatever I did, I went an extra mile which gave me an edge in adopting the law firm culture and the professionalism.

In those five years in CNLU, I kept myself engaged in various extra-curricular activities. From attending lectures, to Moot Court Competitions, to paper publications, to being elected as the Cultural Committee Head, to Sports, to being the Convenor of most of the events at CNLU, the list is endless.

One of the most cherished memories, I have of CNLU is associated with the Legal Aid Cell. I along with another of my batch mate and a faculty started the Legal Aid Cell at CNLU.

The basic aim of this cell was to provide free legal aid and spread legal awareness to the vulnerable and the weaker section of the Society. We as students, did realise that one of the major problems that the country faces is lack of legal awareness in terms of the rights and remedies the law gives to people.

In order, to spread awareness we organised campaigns, visited villages and provided them with free legal aid. Through various legal aid campaigns and presentations, I gained some practical experience of interacting with people which has helped me so far in building relationships with present clients.

Q.3. Sir you received a PPO from D H law Associates in your fourth year. Tell us about your experience as an intern at DH. Also, what like a formula or trick to get a PPO from law firms?

I was an intern at DH Law Associates, Goa Office in my fourth year. I secured an internship at D H with the help of the Internship Coordinating Committee at CNLU.

My internship at D H was a great experience, I was assigned with some good work which gave me a lot of exposure. My work generally revolved around The Companies Act, FEMA, Arbitration etc.

Further, there is no fixed formula for a PPO. Its just the hard work and honesty while you intern that leaves an impact on the people at the firm. One should be very honest with his work.

I am not being cliché, but hard work is the key to anything you want to achieve in life and create a positive impression. While interning, ask questions, keep yourself involved, try and learn out of everything.

Make sure you take your internships professionally and consider them an opportunity in your career.

Q.4. How has been your experience working at D H Law Associates (Now Link Legal) so far?

Its been a highly enriching and learning experience. The Partners at D H are very supportive and provide you appropriate directions to grow personally and professionally. I have been lucky enough to find my mentor in Mr. Nusrat Hasan, Founding Partner of DH Law. He has guided me through out.

I have been involved in a lot of interesting cases, involving laws from lots of spheres. That’s because I enjoy dealing with a variety of laws and I would not like to limit myself to any particular field.

Since Day 1 at DH, I have been given plenty of opportunities to work and grow. My idea in life is to be a better lawyer by each passing day and working at DH has catered to this very well. I thoroughly enjoy the work culture and the experience here.

Q.5. You dealt with the very famous Indo-Kiwi Frequency Case. What was the case all about? What was your experience dealing with the case? What are the other interesting cases you have dealt with at DH?

The case was regarding an India-listed company Shilpi Cable Technologies, which entered into a joint venture with New Zealand-headquartered radio frequency (RF) technology provider Eyecom Telecommunications Equipments.

The partnership between the two companies aims to introduce base station antenna (BSA) products for 2G / 3G / 4G and next generation telecom networks in India. I learnt a lot while being so closely associated with the deal.

Apart from the Indo Kiwi Frequency Case, there have been a number of transactions which have been a good experience. Such transactions revolved around Mergers & Acquisitions, Joint Ventures etc.

We have experience of transactions coming from China because of the China presence we have which no other firm in India has. I was part of this very amazing transaction, where a Chinese Company has invested approx 1500 Crores for setting up solar manufacturing cells in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Working on such cases are great fun.

Q.6. What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Currently I have no such future plans. The ultimate goal in my life is to make my father proud who has always supported me in all decisions which I have made in my career till now.

I make sure that I add some more experience to myself with each passing day and that’s where my focus is on. If I focus on being a Junior Partner or a Senior Position, I will lose my concentration in gaining the experience which is my priority at this stage.

At the end of the day, I want to be recognized as a good lawyer. Let’s see what life has in store for me.

Q.7. Being a Corporate Lawyer, how do you maintain the work-life balance?

Honestly, maintaining a work – life balance is very difficult for me. It’s very difficult to have a routine as you have no clue what comes up and how much time and effort the work will take.

You have deadlines to meet every day which cannot be compromised. I enjoy working, so I don’t really feel that I miss out on much. The only key is that I always try to start my day as early as possible which helps in meeting my deadlines with comfort.

Q.8. The best piece of advice you could give to the budding and aspiring lawyers across the Nation.

I feel, a lot of law students these days, run after money. I know, money is important. However, try shifting your focus on learning and see how money follows. The other advice would be to be honest in your interviews, please do not attempt answering the questions of which you have no clue, it creates the worst impression.

Have fun. Work hard. These five years are never coming back in your life. Makes sure you make worth it.

Interview by Shradha Arora, our campus leader from CNLU, Patna.


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