The interview has been conducted by Ashish Jacob Mathew, Campus Manager, CUSAT, Kochi.
Annie Mampilly is a 2009-14 Batch of undergraduate law (B.B.A.,LL.B) of School of Legal Studies, Cochin University of Science And Technology(CUSAT).
Annie was addressed as the “Moot Queen of CUSAT” due to her perseverance, hard work and achievements. Presently, she is placed in Surana and Surana, Chennai.
1. Why did you decide to study law? What inspired you to do so?
Right from my childhood, I was a great admirer of Portia and her argument. Kind, sharp and perfect. CHECKMATE! I loved to trail that style. I always felt that I could give my 100% and utilize my potential to the core as a lawyer.
When I was in 8th I got a chance to take part in a mock court competition wherein I represented myself as the ‘counsel for Kauravs’ in the Pandava-Kaurava dispute and I knew that I had to back the wrong horse. It was so challenging and the winning move in that competition actually cemented my decision.
My literature sir, Mr. Siju was the first to encourage me to be a lawyer. To add, I’m gifted with a dad and mom who stands with me and holds my hands in my all my decisions.
2. Are you a first generation lawyer? Do you believe that people coming from the families having legal background is having a better exposure or entire thing is subject to merit?
I am not a first generation lawyer. My grandfather is a lawyer. However, he has stopped practicing years back.
Being in family with legal background is somewhat like being a teacher’s child who knows the alphabets before joining kindergarten. Because they’ve been around the block few times.
But everyone has a fair crack of whip. Ultimately the one who has the real substance and instincts only will come out in flying colors.
3. What is your philosophy towards work?
I work for my success. But I never target anybody’s failure. It gives a positive vibration that I can always enjoy the work I am doing. As simple as it is.
4. You have taken part in lot of Moot Court Competitions in college. Can you share a few mooting experiences?
My first moot, NALSAR NFCG Corporate Law Moot that I participated in my first year, is the edifice on which my success in all the other legal ventures rests on.
Our memo amassed just the minimum scores. If I’m not wrong 49 & 50 out of 100. I identified the points that required improvement and rectified the same. Thereafter, I made a point that my written submissions never returned without cracking a prize.
Surana and Surana International Technology Law Moot is the cutting edge in my five year journey at C.U.S.A.T. It was a clean swipe. We won the moot and bagged all the titles.
That moot in fact boosted my level of confidence and set me a reminder that I should never return bare handed in the further competitions as this moot has moulded a higher level of expectation from me. And I’m so happy that I never let down the expectations.
Except my first 2 or 3 moots, all the other moots I did was completely focused on criminal law and cyber law. Trial advocacy moots were my favourite that I even went for the consecutive editions of Surana Trial Advocacy Moot.
Since I was handling the cross examination part, I had to make thorough study on the procedural law and the technical aspects. To have a bird’s eye view on all these I used to attend so many hearings at lower courts, get appointments and consult the commandant, police officials, ballistic experts and police surgeons.
I had even spent ample time at many armory shops to study about the rifles and its working just to bring the perfect argument possible.
5. In your opinion, can ‘mooting’ benefit in eventual legal practice?
Yes. To make a winning argument is like being a grandmaster.
On the other side you’ll have the opposite party and the Coram. You should be able to sense their possible moves and give out gambits accordingly. In this regard, moots help me a lot.
When I used stand before the podium for oral submissions in moots, the questions shot by the Judges and submissions by the other side exactly tallies with the ones I expected. Thereby, it was an easy task for me to crack the questions and thrash the counters.
Hence, if you had taken mooting seriously and had really busted your chops it will indeed cast an added advantage when you step into your profession. It is the best platform where you could explore the contours of the respective law.
As far as I am concerned, mooting augments the research skills, aids briefing the facts, accentuates framing of issues, amplifies the quality of arguments and above all it teaches how to maintain the decorum in Courts.
The only difference I could spot is that in moot you have curfews regarding the length of arguments, time for oral submissions, etc. which the real courts are devoid of by way of adjournments.
6. What are the places and law firms where you interned? How one should go about choosing a firm for an internship. Now that you look back, how do you think these internships influenced your career?
My area of interest is criminal and cyber law. I prefer practicing in lower Courts, in the God’s own country, my Kerala.
Hence I was specifically doing one month internships with advocates in Ernakulam itself who could help me on the said facets.
I wanted to be acquainted with our Courts, drafting and style of oral submissions. I suggest, before choosing a firm, you should first figure out which area of law snatches your interest.
Find a law firm dealing with that area and intern with them. It does not matter if the law firm has that glam factor or not. It all about how much you can learn.
7. What two or three accomplishments have given you the most satisfaction?
Frankly speaking, I was on cloud nine when my parents and brother were called on to the dais at the Surana and Surana International Technology Law Moot by the entire Coram and congratulated them for my success.
Secondly, it was seeing a crowd of audience at the Court halls of various National Trial advocacy moots, Kerala Law Academy, Checkmate, Victoria Iuris, etc. who gathered there just to see my cross examination, arguments and rebuttals.
Finally, it was when I could keep up the word of my teachers and our former Director, Dr.V.S. Sebastian that name of our college will be known to all through me. All the winning trophies and best advocate titles I grabbed within the 5 years of law is on the back burner when compared to these three.
8. What three things are most important to you in a law school that every law student must go for?
It’s a bit difficult if you give me a curfew as three. It depends on everyone’s tastes and interests.
From my point of view if you are interested in litigation, then moot courts, trial advocacy and client consulting will be really good. I’d also suggest law festivals because there will be more variety of events and that too it will be on the spot.
Victoria Iuris organized by SDM, Mangalore is a good choice. They have a wide range of events including bail petition, celebrity advocacy, all in all advocacy etc.
9. How has law school experience prepared you to overcome the different challenges of life?
I learnt how to batten down the hatches from my law school life. I always followed my conscience and ethics, whosoever stand against me. Because, it proved me right the well-known line ‘one man with courage makes majority’.
Success would indeed be yours if you are clear, straight forward and never go for a shortcut.
10. How do you feel to be placed at Surana and Surana?
It feels too good and awesome. This is a firm where I wanted to work since my first year of law. A firm where I really wanted to be with but never in my dreams imagined I could ever make it.
A bunch of good people. It’s more like a family. You are taught a lot and the firm renders a very good exposure.
Of course, I’m also gifted with a wonderful circle of friends in my office who makes the working atmosphere really vibrant and jovial.
11. What are your long-range and short-range goals and objectives? When and why did you establish these goals and how are you preparing yourself to achieve them?
If at all I work with a law firm, Surana and Surana was my only choice. If I didn’t make it I was planning for independent practice.
After a few years I’ll come back to the God’s own country and I’ll start from square one in criminal law, cyber law and PILs. I’m sure that I’ll be returning with the best teacher, experience.
12. Where do you see yourself in the coming years?
I never condition my mind on that. As well sell said, ‘man proposes and God disposes.’ I have decided to accept God’s proposal.
Till date, he had the best plans for me. I’m sure he’ll be knit the best robes for me available in the legal fraternity in which I’ll be smiling from my deep heart’s core. Let’s wait and see.
13. Any suggestions for young law students?
Being a book worm wouldn’t help you much in this profession, in my view. Explore. Grab opportunities. Let it be big or small. Never miss it. Give your best.
When you work as a team keep up the team spirit up to the end. Trust me, the compatibility you have with your teammates can do wonders. All the individual prizes you get is just a by-product. Success of your team should be your prime and only concern.
When you achieve something that achievement itself speaks louder than words. Be down to earth. Always be an approachable person. The more you teach, the more you learn. The more you give, the more you gain. Aim your success. Never target your opponent’s failure.