- Interviewee – Chetna Shrivastav
- Educational Qualifications – BCL, University of Oxford; BA LLB(Hons), NLIU Bhopal
- Professional Posts – Associate, Trilegal
Interview by Nandini Garg, our campus leader from NLIU Bhopal.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Guess I can’t use my Instagram bio here. I am a writer at heart and a lawyer by profession. After graduating from the National Law Institute University, I pursued the BCL at the University of Oxford before joining Trilegal as an associate.
Tell us about your time as a student in NLIU, Bhopal.
It is difficult to summarise the memorable five years. NLIU offered me the opportunity to not only pursue law academically but also to participate in varied extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.
(At the risk of making this sound like a résumé-like narrative) I represented NLIU as an adjudicator in a few debates and participated in moot court competitions. I was also a part of the NLIU Law Review and the convener of the Media Law Cell.
Apart from mooting and paper publications, why and what other kind of co-curricular activities should a student undertake in his/her law school life?
While these two are important activities for a holistic development as a law student with a good résumé, one should explore as many co-curricular activities as possible, such as debating, MUNs, mediation competitions etc.
These help one hone oratorical and negotiation skills which are crucial for a lawyer (or for that matter for anyone dealing with the customer care executives!).
Tell us about the kind of internships that you undertook for a career in the field of corporate law.
My first internship was at a non governmental organisation (RLEK). It was an enlightening experience to discover the status of legal awareness in the remote areas of our country, through field trips.
I later interned with a senior advocate at the Supreme Court. Most of my internships were however at law firms like DSK Legal, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas and Khaitan & Co. since I enjoyed researching on commercial laws.
You have graduated in BCL from Oxford. How did you prepare to get admission in such prestigious institution?
My answer might seem disappointing to the readers since I honestly did not prepare to get admission. Since the application is a compilation of the student’s performance throughout the five years of law school, there is no scope for any active eleventh hour preparation.
However, the only preparation involved was procuring the recommendation letters from the professors which, owing to their generous cooperation, turned out to be a smooth process.
Please share your experience at Oxford. Did it help in your current working as an associate with Trilegal?
Rather than talking about my experience at Oxford, I can tell you that Oxford is an experience. The learning happened both in and outside the classroom.
Besides the intellectually challenging and extremely insightful seminars, I also cherish the profound dinner table discussions with students from varied international and academic backgrounds. Helped that I was there during very interesting political times.
Oxford changed the way I approach legal research. The stress was on the why rather than merely on the what of the content. This analytical outlook helps me understand the black letter law with better practical perspective which is crucial for a practising lawyer.
Is being good at academics necessary for obtaining a job at top-tier law firms and graduating from foreign universities?
While I will not underplay the importance of being good at academics, I will also stress on the need for a holistic development by balancing academics with co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. However, the key to obtaining a good job or admission in a good university is consistent good performance.
Any suggestion or advice for our readers.
While advice from seniors and others’ experiences are a good starting point before making career decisions, do not rule out possibilities and always be sure to explore your own options.
Unsurprisingly, life is unpredictable and things don’t always pan out identically. Being a law student means having diverse career options. Exploit this opportunity by accumulating varied co-curricular and internship experiences in order to be able to make an informed choice.
Lastly, for those (like me) who chose law also to avoid mathematical calculations, wait till you find yourself calculating Stamp Duty!