Please tell us something about yourself.
I am Yuvraj Samant, a proud alumnus of NLU Jodhpur. I am a lawyer and the founding partner at LAWCARE LEGAL. The firm is based out of Jaipur and has offices in Delhi and Mumbai. Being an Accredited Mediator and a Cross Cultural Civil & Commercial Negotiator, I believe that in a litigation-loving society like ours, the concept of mediation could ideally grow manifolds if litigants are counselled well. As a first generation lawyer, I am learning about the profession every single day, and this process of learning ideally never stops in the field of litigation. That’s the beauty of being a lawyer, that no matter what your age might be, you never stop learning. I am also a passionate photographer and a sports fanatic.
What were the reasons behind choosing law as a career?
To be honest, law as a career was quite unknown when I decided to opt for it as a career. Common Law Admission Test was not popular then. None of my family members come from the legal fraternity and therefore it was quite difficult for me to make this decision. I am thankful that my parents allowed me to select my own path. The driving force behind choosing law as a career was the adrenaline rush that I used to get while thinking of arguing a matter in front of a judge which could have a profound impact on the society. Law allowed me to hold on to my penchant for debate, dramatics and current affairs. At the same time, engineering never interested me.
Tell us a bit about your life at the
Coming to NLU Jodhpur, from the quaint and peaceful city of Ajmer, was an interesting and a fulfilling experience. I am hundred percent sure that no other degree or career option could have given me this satisfaction. I was the usual ‘science-maths guy’ who enrolled for an engineering degree soon after XII standard. I was asked to prepare for CLAT by an alumnus of NLU Jodhpur.
Jodhpur provided me the best atmosphere to grow as a human being and as a professional. The people I met there had the most profound impact on me. For example every time I can read a case law within minutes, I remember our legal methods’ professor’s impact. Similarly, every time I am able to understand the nuances of the law of writs, the only person to whom the credit should go is our constitutional law professor. We had some of the best young professors in the country, who were absolutely fantastic in leaving an impression on us.
Life on campus was quite happening to say the least. The best part about law school was watching cricket matches in the mess, helping build the first ever synthetic badminton court in the law school circuit, walking around the campus in the evening, or star gazing all night long and obviously photography. Everything has been special in the University and shall always be cherished.
What were the extracurricular activities you participated in during your college years?
I participated in quite a number of moots during law school, mediation competitions, parliamentary debates, MUNs etc. To be frank, there is unnecessary hype and glamour attached to certain types of moots and certain specific debates and MUNs. I believe that every moot court competition can teach you a lot. Litigation is very different from the way moots happen in our country. The key is to learn court mannerisms, learn to research well and to draft accurately. If you take your CREs seriously there is a lot to learn from these activities. There should not be any undue pressure on students who do not participate in moots, or debates or MUNs. Apart from usual co-curricular activities, I actively played badminton, squash and cricket, which helped me reduce stress and made my stint in Jodhpur enjoyable to the hilt.
In which year of law school you became certain that you will be pursuing litigation after graduation?
To be frank, even though I knew that I would love litigation, I did not decid to get into practice until the final year of my law school. After graduating, I went to meet my mentor and my senior under whom I worked initially, who gave a short pep talk which was the deciding factor. He gave me hope and a vision, which I believe every young lawyer today needs. He was instrumental in shaping my career as a lawyer.
For litigation as a career, what kind of internships should one look for?
As a law student I would recommend that one must not restrict oneself to a particular type of internship. The best time to experiment, to gauge your own interests and explore new fields is during internships. But this might not find coherence with a lot of people, hence those who have their mind set on building a career in litigation, should intern in their second year with a lawyer who practices in high court and trial court. Most importantly, the lawyer should be willing to teach you and guide you. (luckily for me, the lawyer under whom I interned in my first year was the one whom I assisted as a Junior later on in my professional career and he continues to be my mentor). During the third year, one must try and intern with a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court. I highly recommend a judicial clerkship or an internship with Judges at the Supreme Court or the High Court in order to get a holistic perspective. During the final year, one should concentrate on finding a lawyer who can help one understand the finer nuances of litigation as a career choice and with whom there are chances to work after graduation.
In litigation, how should one choose the field of law one should specialize in?
This is a tricky question. I believe that as a young lawyer, you can never choose a particular field to specialise in, as it hampers your growth. As you grow, you realise what matters you like doing or find yourself suited to. The choice of area, depends on the lawyer you are assisting, the kind of matters that keep flowing to you on a personal level and the ease with which you are able to handle the matters. Also the place at which you practice makes a lot of difference as the kind of matters one would do in Rajasthan are slightly limited as compared to New Delhi or Bombay. The exposure varies. Ideally, the field of specialisation should be the one that interests you, keeps you engaged and at the same time challenges you to do better every single day. Find a lawyer under whom you can learn more on a particular subject and within a short period of time you will start doing the kind of work that you always wanted to.
Is it necessary to start under a senior and work under him for few years before moving on into one’s own private practice?
Although it is not a cardinal rule, but nevertheless it is one which cannot be easily waived off. Working under a senior for a few years will equip you with the necessary skills. You will end up emulating a lot of your senior’s habits or quirks which go a long way in establishing your legal practice too. Further, association with a senior gives you recognition and eases your entry into the Bar. Working with a senior becomes a sine qua non if you are a first generation lawyer. In litigation, having your own practice is the easy part but sustaining it is difficult. Hence working with a senior in the beginning for a few years, before gradually moving on to one’s own practice, is advised. Litigation is more about how you are able to follow a routine, burn the midnight oil and keep pushing yourself every day, even though the initial years seem to be very tough.
How true is the common perception that “the first generation lawyers are ought to struggle”?
Getting into litigation as a first generation lawyer is a crucial decision. The remuneration is not high and the law school fee inadvertently creates burden and there is not much you can do about the incubation period in litigation. It takes atleast 3-4 years of practice, when you get a chance to argue matters before the Bench. The toughest part is to survive on 15-20 thousand rupees per month as a salary. Law schools tend to glorify placements and as a result peer pressure takes over. It takes immense amount of patience and strength to survive the initial tough phase and as a first generation lawyer it becomes even more arduous a task. Most of the times its about fighting your own thought process. But if one can remain dedicated for a couple of years and is extremely passionate about litigation, the things ease off soon and one can make a decent living out of litigation.
In litigation, a lot depends on how you tide over the tough times, your support structure, a good mentor in the field and sources from where the work flows in. Every single thing contributes in making a successful litigation career and one must be thankful for every blessing and opportunity that one gets.
What does a normal routine for litigating lawyer?
A normal routine for a lawyer is really hectic. The day starts off with a quick scan of the matters for the day, files in the bag, case laws and notes, one has to reach court before the opening bell in order to be present for any mentioning. Thereafter the day is spent running from court to court, either assisting your senior, waiting for your matters to come up or filing the documents or petitions at the right place. A lot of offices start working as soon as the court proceedings are over. Client conferences and preparation for fresh matters are done during the office hours. Usually the day is long and extends beyond mid night, and if you are lucky some days you reach home early by 9:30 or 10:00 pm.
How has been your experience as a lawyer till now?
It has been amazing and I have loved every second of it. I have seen my share of ups and downs and have been through some tough times. I must commend, here is where the NLU family contributes. A lot of seniors from University have helped me. They remain my constant source of strength alongside my family and friends. Life as a litigating lawyer is very difficult for the initial months and you need to scourge through all your reserves of energy, patience and strength. But you also get the satisfaction of being present in the court and making a difference.
Any message or tips for our aspiring litigators?
Life in litigation requires a lot of hard work, patience, building a routine and finding your niche. For all those who wish to pursue a career in litigation, all I would say is, to be humble, be reverential towards the bench, seniors and colleagues. You are there to assist the court and not to fight a battle against the Judge. Litigation needs one to have a keen eye for detail, ability to understand, lucidly to explain complex principles and to present facts in a crystal clear manner. As a young lawyer, build a vision for yourself and strive to achieve it. Make smaller goals and attain them every single day. In the long run, you can see yourself achieving bigger goals. As, the results are not immediate, do not get disappointed easily. There will always be light at the end of the tunnel and in no time you will be doing things that you imagined for yourself. You need to be genuine in your efforts as hard work has no substitute. Lots of reading and researching is the key to a successful legal career.