INTERVIEW: Tejaswinee Roychowdhury, LLM Student at University of Calcutta: On establishing yourself as a non-NLU student and much more!

Interview by Kanchan Yadav, our campus leader from South Calcutta Law College, Kolkata.


1. Please introduce yourself to the readers.

Hello, I’m Tejaswinee Roychowdhury. I completed my ICSE and ISC from St. Joseph’s Convent, Chandannagar in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Then in 2016 I completed my B.A, LL.B Honours from Department of Law, University of Calcutta. Currently I am pursuing my LL.M. from Department of Law, University of Calcutta, and M.A. in Business Laws (IPR & Cyber Laws) from NUJS, both of which are set to end in 2018.

2. What was your motivation to get into Law?

To be honest, since there are absolutely no lawyers anywhere in my family, I did not have any motivation to get into Law. Initially, back in 2011, I started studying Political Science Honours in Presidency University, Kolkata. I did not even appear for CLAT. I had appeared in the Calcutta University Law Entrance Exam simply because my parents asked me to.

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Once the results were out and my rank was good enough to be in the Department itself, I left Presidency and went for Law. For me, it truly was a spur of the moment thing. I was inspired by the subjects after I started studying them and they still continue to inspire me.

3. Was it hard to establish yourself, being from Calcutta University and not an NLU?

Well, I think every educational institution has its own set of drawbacks but we only notice that which we are capable of noticing. Like the proverb goes, ‘Blue are the hills that are far away‘.

One may point out that there is no placement surety if you are from CU but exactly how many law schools provide placement surety?

I have also heard some people saying that top tier law firms in Kolkata shy away from taking you as an intern if they hear that you are a student of CU.

Personally, I have seen some of my classmates score internships in law firms like Fox & Mandal, Amarchand Mangaldas, Khaitan and also in other cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Hyderabad. Besides you can always score internships in Calcutta HC, LASWEB, WBHRC, CCI, other Government Departments, etc.

If you are set on learning litigation, stick around with a good senior for at least 6 months. I did my internship from Sinha & Co. and  I actually learnt a lot of things from my time there, including participating (and winning) in a moot court competition held for the interns!

My point is, if you think that your University is responsible for restricting your progress, you are on the wrong track.

As for after graduation, if you are looking forward to WBJS, APP, JLO, IBPS, etc. you would be surprised to know that the syllabus of CU is actually more suited to such exams and as in these cases there is no question of placements, your University doesn’t matter.

Additionally, the CU Law Library boasts of the richest collection in all of Asia and you can easily use it to your advantage particularly if you are thinking of Masters and Ph.D. In conclusion, no it wasn’t difficult for me to establish myself being from Calcutta University.

4. How important do you think maintaining a good academic score is?

Maintaining a good academic score is important. In most competitive exams such as IBPS, Coal India MT, ONGC, RBI, etc., you are required to have a minimum of 60% as your average so that you can apply.

Additionally, your good academic results will only help boost your morale increasing your confidence when it comes to appearing for WBJS, APP, JLO, etc. As an added bonus, it looks good on your CV as well!

5. Why did you decide to pursue masters? Was it always your plan?

While I had no motivation to study Law, once the subjects started to inspire me, masters had become a priority. Also, pursuing masters opens up the avenue towards teaching law and I like teaching.

6. Tell us more about your influences; parents, teachers, peers.

My parents have always been supportive of me when I talked about pursuing higher studies in law. University teachers and seniors have been helpful whenever I needed them.

I loved the University Library. Winning the 6th VSS Research Paper Competition, 2016 (organized by KRR Memorial & SAPR, School of Excellence in Law, TNDALU, Chennai) with a classmate was an added bonus which influenced my already fueled desire to go into research.

My senior and mentor, Advocate Namrata Sarkar, actively guides, influences and encourages me to push my limits. In general, I have gathered inspirations from all walks of life, describing all of which would take a long time.

However, I would like to mention one particular inspiration. A researcher, or in my case, a budding researcher needs to have a certain set of skills like being able to conduct proper research from the proper sources, branch out to the correct perspectives, come up with innovative topics, write without plagiarism, and most importantly, have the capability to write.

I can only thank my school, English teachers and my mom when it comes to writing capabilities.

For the rest of it, I thank my first mentor, Adv. Javed Rafi Khan, who had taken me under his wing in January 2016 and groomed me during both our tenures at LetsComply where I was interning, writing legal articles and web contents.

I am still working and learning with him as a part of his own venture, Biztal.

7. What are your future plans after completing Masters?

I intend and hope to compete my Ph.D.

8. Please provide some advice for the young lawyers.

Nothing is too difficult. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Also, law is a noble profession. Whether we are into practice or jobs or academics, each one of us are capable of removing the misguided notions associated with our profession. Each one of us can effectuate actual change.

So, don’t just think of your own expenses, think about the implications of your actions on the society. Be a good person who is a good lawyer instead of limiting yourself to just the latter.

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