Swarnendu Chatterjee has cleared Advocate-on-Record examination 2019. He is currently working with L&L Partners. He has been interviewed by EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador Aadarsh Kothari
1.Can you tell your readers more about the Advocate on Record Examination which is conducted by the Supreme Court of India and when is the correct time to prepare?
‘Advocate- On- Record’ is an advocate who has cleared the Advocate on Record exam and is entitled under the Order IV Rule 5 of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013, framed under Article 145 of the Constitution of India to act, as well as to plead for a party in the Supreme Court of India.
There are four sets of papers of four different subjects namely, Practice and Procedure of Supreme Court, Drafting, Advocacy and Professional Ethics and Leading Cases.
The attributes which are utmost necessary for the examination is hard work, smart study, a neat and clean handwriting. Most importantly, one needs to keep a tap on the timing per answer, which shall not exceed 40 minutes in any case. Hence, one needs to practice writing answers as after 6-7 years of practice, one loses the habit of writing answers; especially in this profession. Since I had worked for about four years in the chambers of Late Shri. P. P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India who was an examiner himself, so I got constant guidance and support.
2. Since the Advocate on Record Examination is taken by lawyers who are exceptionally busy, how did you find the time for it?
As stated earlier, COMPLETE CREDIT GOES TO Late Shri. P.P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India for instilling the confidence and imbibing the necessities which according to him were necessary to be an Advocate -On-Record. When I was a chamber junior to Late Shri. P.P. Rao, during that time only I had made up my mind to appear for this prestigious examination. The teachings and guidance of my Late Senior came handy while preparing for this examination. Especially habits like, reading the judgments in toto, analytical thinking, etc.. It shall be noteworthy to mention that, I have been blessed with friends for life in this profession who guided me further. They are Pulkit Tare (Advocate-On-Record), Pallavi Pratap (Advocate-On-Record).
Further, my father Shri. Arabinda Chatterjee, Senior Advocate, Calcutta High Court, my constant guide, had also motivated me to undertake this examination and often guided me towards the highest standards which one needs to maintain in the Supreme Court while drawing up pleadings and arguing matters and that one needs to be crisp and precise, if he wants to achieve success here. Hence, I was determined to undertake this challenge.
When I took the exam, I was working with MAP Corporate Legal(a boutique firm). I took a sabbatical from 13th May 2019 to take the examination which was scheduled to take place from 10th-13th June, 2019.
3. What are your future plans since you have successfully cleared the examination?
So, currently, I am blessed to work under the guidance of Mr. Wasim Beg, Partner, L & L Partners. I would continue my practice with L&L Partners as I intend to grow as an Advocate under the mentorship of Wasim Sir.
If I may add with caution, I am aware of the “post office practice” which is prevalent and people equate the Office of Advocate-On-Record equivalent to that of a clerk or a notary. I strongly condemn such practice. Now that I have cleared the exam successfully, I have a responsibility that I owe to the profession and the Court and cannot be a notary or a clerk. L&L Partners has given me great support and I wish to continue to grow with them.
4. How did SCC Online-EBC help you in this journey so far?
SCC Online is an indispensable search engine for any lawyer and if one has to research on a question of law then there is no better option than SCC Online. I learned how to conduct research on a given proposition during my tenure as a chamber junior to Late Shri. P. P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. There is no better search engine on case laws than SCC Online in today’s legal arena. I base my research on questions of law while drafting any sort of petition with the help of SCC Online.
I am also grateful to SCC Blog wherein it covered four most important cases of my career till date, State Bank of India v. Moser Baer Karamchari Union and Another 2019 SCC OnLine NCLAT 447, Shivalik Cotex Ltd. v. ITO, ITA No.5819/Del/2018, decided on 01.07.2019, Rotocast Industries Case decided on 10.05.2019, Nahar Finance and Leasing Ltd v. Regional Director, RBI, Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s).17243-17245/2019, order dated 29.07.2019.
5. What advice would you like to give our readers who are currently in Law School and are looking forward to this Examination?
Yes, I find there is a growing tendency among the 4th and 5th Year Students, who take decisions solely on a monetary basis. But, money is not everything. The difference between job and profession is to be understood by budding law students. Litigation is a passion and is a profession. I would suggest the budding lawyers read the books on the lives of Late. Nani Palkhivala, M. C. Chagla, M.C. Setalvad and other stalwarts to gauge the pulse of the profession and the hard-work coupled with discipline involved in the profession. One should strive towards success and money will follow.
The subjects which are required for the budding law students who want to get into litigation should equip themselves with the basic knowledge of Code of Civil Procedure, Code of Criminal Procedure, Evidence Act, Contract Act, Constitutional Law, Indian Penal Code, Companies Act etc, which are taught in detail in law schools.
So the students who intend to undertake this examination in the near future should have a strong foundation coupled with ability and hunger for research.
Learning the Law is a never-ending process as stated by my Senior Late. Shri. P. P. Rao, Sr. Adv. and Late. Shri Ram Jethmalani, Senior Advocate said that “Law is a jealous mistress but a faithful one”.