I. Greetings of the day, team EBC-SCC Online extends a warm welcome to Anasuya Choudhury in this interview. So, would you like to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us about your journey into law?
Thank you for having me here. It is both a pleasure and an honour. I am Anasuya Choudhury. I have completed my LLB from Campus Law Centre, Delhi University in the year 2013. I have also completed my LLM from King’s College, London with specialisation in International Dispute Resolution in 2018. I have previously worked with Bharat Sangal, Dushyant Dave and Parag P. Tripathi, who are all designated senior advocates of repute, and primarily practising in the Supreme Court of India. My areas of work include civil, constitutional, commercial and corporate Law. Previously, I was also been awarded a scholarship to the prestigious International Court of Justice where I learnt about the critical aspects of international law.
II. Could you describe your journey towards law as a career?
Well, I have had a straightforward entry into law as my career. My father himself is a designated senior advocate before the High Court of Guwahati. My childhood memories include me donning my father’s gown, trying to be him. I would loiter around his chamber and so I pretty much grew in a household where law was an integral part. I always knew that this is my calling and I was willing to put in the requisite effort to be good at it.
III. Post pursuing your bachelor’s degree in law from Delhi University you went to King’s College, London for your LLM, what made you choose international dispute resolution as your area of specialisation?
King’s College, London is renowned for its faculty of international sispute resolution. Dr Holger Hestermeyer who was the Head of the Department, is world renowned for his work in this field. Further, one area of law that interests me is space law and its mechanism of dispute resolution. These two reasons pushed me to pursue my specialisation in this area, since I was going to be a part of the best.
IV. Since you have been an associate at VK & S Partners and the legal counsel for Shapoorji Pallonji Group and currently you are the Head of Litigation at Eminent Jurists, which of the three roles have you found the most challenging and how?
I find my role at Eminent Jurists the most challenging. This is so because when you lead a particular case, the entire onus is on you. Your legal acumen defines the graph of the case. Further, being answerable to the litigants teaches you a lot because all the expectations and hope that they carry, rest on your shoulders.
V. What was the most challenging case that you have dealt in your career and what was your biggest experience from it?
Without taking names, there are a couple of public interest litigations that I am appearing in, before the Supreme Court of India. We appear for parties wherein the bread and butter of approximately ten lakh families are at stake. My biggest experience from it is the fact that the common man keeps a lot of faith in the judgments of the judiciary. One order can change the life trajectory of millions of families at one go. The enormity of a situation is understood when you are an integral part of it.
VI. What are the skills in your opinion a law student should develop during his years in law school, if he/she has decided to venture into the field of litigation?
Critical analysis and the ability to read between the lines are extremely important to be nurtured by a student while at law school. I am a firm believer that a case should be prepared from the outlook of the opposite party. It then gives us an upper hand since we have a more holistic perspective. More often than not, the truth is more than what is just stated in a plaint. It is then extremely important to be able to correctly assess the right legal remedy for a particular problem. Often, I have seen that advocates falter in this part. One more skill that a law student should definitely learn is to write down the chronological facts of a case and its arguments. Learning to make briefing notes early on goes a long way in shaping your legal career.
VII. How important is doing proper legal research and how should law students equip themselves with legal research skills?
Legal research is the soul of being a good advocate. If a student has a good grasp on the judgments passed by the courts of the land, as well as the legal acumen to analyse them, then such a student is already ahead in the game. Reading is the only way to equip oneself with such a skill. Majority of the new generation of lawyers believe in shortcuts. People do not like to read. Reading is the backbone of our profession. The more you read, the more you will succeed.
VIII. What do you mean by “exhaustion of search” and in your opinion why is it important?
Exhaustion of research is important since it means that one has the best grasp over a particular topic. You can never be a good advocate if you do not have the patience to endure exhaustive legal research. Then again, the courts of the land have passed beautiful and remarkable judgments which deserve appreciation. Judgments of Justice Retd Y.V. Chandrachud, Justice Retd P.N. Bhagwati, Justice Retd Krishna Iyer, Justice Retd Dipak Misra, Justice Rohinton Nariman, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud to name a few are a treat to the interested. They are well crafted, beautifully versed and touch you in unexpected ways. You see the beauty of the legal system through the medium of judgments. Hence, read and read more.
IX. If I am getting my facts right, you pursued law from Delhi and in spite of hailing from the north-east, you preferred to settle in New Delhi. What changed the trajectory of your life and do you have plans for shifting bases someday?
Let me share another fact. I have completed my graduation in Psychology from Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University. I chose psychology because my father always wanted me to get into government services. But I was sure that law was my calling and Campus Law Centre was the institute where I wanted to study. Further, Delhi has the requisite educational structure and a plethora of luminaries to its cap. The Supreme Court of India and most of the tribunals and its Appellate Benches are in Delhi. I wanted to be in litigation and Delhi was the perfect and only choice. Of course, my life will be easier shifting base to my hometown and working with my father. I do appear before the Guwahati High Court on a regular basis. But, Delhi has a wide variety of cases which Guwahati does not. The way I have developed my legal skills here will go a long way in shaping my career if I shift base.
X. In your opinion, what is the most probable cause that leads to the shift of the eminent legal fraternity of north-east to metropolitan cities and what could be the best possible way to tackle it?
The aura of the Supreme Court of India is the best reason why people shift bases. There is a general perception that the work in metropolitan cities is more varied, the exposure to learning is better and the chances of making a better life higher. Hence, people shift bases, enduring all the hardships that come the way. The only way people will stop shifting base is when there is more opportunity of work. This will only come when the Government focuses on smaller towns and cities and pushes for their development and financial growth. If investments increase, educational excellence spreads throughout the length and breadth of the country and does not concentrate on a handful of metropolitan cities, infrastructure is built, employment is generated, it will automatically increase the potential and scope of more work in smaller cities and then directly influence the choice of a person to not shift bases.
XI. Apart from your work, what are your other areas of interests?
I am an avid reader and I have a flair for writing. Presently, I am making up my mind to complete my PhD and hence time is spent on writing the proposal and then rewriting it all over again. I am also a fitness freak and love travelling.
XII. Any parting message for our readers?
Law is a tough profession. This profession is of survival of the fittest. However, there is also a lacuna and vacuum when it comes to excellence. There are a lot of lawyers who are skimming through the profession with mediocre approach and talent. However, if one is dedicated, sincere and has a love for reading and analysing, then the scope of drawing a name in the profession is unparallel.