In Conversation With Vaibhavi Sharma, Senior Associate, Prosoll Law Inc.

In this interview with Ashima Ohri our Managing Editor, Vaibhavi shares her journey in law. She also shares her thoughts on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021 with the prestigious BW Legal World 40 Under 40 Best Lawyers and Legal Influencers Award.

How and when did you know becoming a lawyer was your life’s true calling? 

I had never initially planned to become a lawyer. I was slightly apprehensive to carry the huge responsibility of being a Second-Generation lawyer. Since childhood, I was more inclined towards academics and wanted to be an educator. With that, I decided to pursue my Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi. As I delved deeper into the subjects while pursuing my commerce degree, I noticed that I was always keen to read up about contracts commercial and taxation laws. My interest towards these subjects drew me to law and that was the turning point, where I changed my mind and decided to pursue law. During my journey at the law school, criminal law always intrigued me and the inclination towards criminal law became inescapable since then.

Would you please tell us about your specialization and the array of work you handle at your firm? 

Prosoll Law Inc, is known for its phenomenal expertise and path-breaking matters pertaining to Criminal Law especially in cases related to white collar crime; corruption, fraud, bribery and other economic offences. Keeping Economic offences as my primary area of focus, I am currently handling several cases related to Criminal Misconduct, Trap Cases, Disproportionate assets matters, bank frauds, money laundering cases. However, I believe that a lawyer must keep on evolving and should not restrict oneself to a particular area, keeping that in my mind I have expanded my horizons and am also currently representing my clients in other fields of law including Commercial Disputes, Service matters and Matrimonial Disputes.

What are your predictions for 2022 in the area/s of specialization mentioned above? What are some of the upcoming trends of the industry? 

After the pandemic, the country has undergone a digital transformation. The most recent trend of the industry is the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021. The Bill has the provision of exit for those holding private cryptocurrency within the stipulated time frame. The bill discusses the definition of cryptocurrency. A statute (if any) structuring digital currency will be a game changer. Yet another significant aspect that shall draw attention shall be the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018. Ever since the amendments, there have been numerous arguments and speculations by Legal Scholars, practitioners’ regarding the ambit of the amended sections. For instance, petitions mentioning the retrospective applicability of the amended Act are pending decision. Precedential Law deciding the pending Issue of Law is awaited.

One recent landmark judgement or the best judgment of 2021 that you’d like to share a word about.

Landmark Judgement undoubtedly would be ‘In Re: To Issue certain Guidelines Regarding Inadequacies and deficiencies in Criminal Trial v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors’, Pronounced by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in April 2021, wherein the Hon’ble Court noticed common deficiencies which occur in the course of criminal trials and certain practices adopted by trial courts in criminal proceedings as well as in the disposal of criminal cases which often leads to asymmetries and hamper appreciation of evidence, which in turn has a tendency of prolonging proceedings, especially at the appellate stage. The Court felt the desirability of a uniform approach – in description of exhibits, manner and description of recording of statements of witnesses, labeling of material objects, and so on. The Court appointed Mr. Sidharth Luthra and Mr. R. Basanth, Senior Advocates as Amici Curiae After considering the suggestions made by them in “Draft Rules of Criminal Practice, 2020” the Hon’ble Supreme Court formulated the quintessential guidelines.

As a new age lawyer, what to your mind is the one thing in the current legal ecosystem at the Bar, Bench, or in the Law Firms that needs our attention.

The current India legal ecosystem has taken impeccable progressive steps by applying technology to Indian Legal System. When physical movement was restricted, the Hon’ble Supreme Court swiftly guided the nation to Virtual Courtrooms, E-Filing and Paperless Courts, keeping dispute redressal as the heart and soul of the matter. Hybrid functioning of the court of law has reached across the nation and the litigants are been benefitted each day. Having said that, an aspect which still needs our attention is the representation of women at the Bar. The Bar continues to function as a male-dominated space, and there’s a dire need to make changes in that space. An ecosystem, where women taking up challenging roles is as normal, regular and ordinary as it is for their male counterparts, is needed.

Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 40 Under 40 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

To my mind, I believe that there’s no shortcut to success. There’s also no substitute for perseverance and merit. Both complement each other and form the two sides of the same coin. What worked for me was the audacity and grit to swim against the current. I decided to choose criminal law against the odds and strived to excel in it. To all those who want set off in a similar direction, I would suggest that they must pick their primary interest and stay focused on the path to strive perfection and excel in it. The starting point, the journey, the obstacles and the blessings are different in everyone’s story, what makes a difference is how you tackle them and overcome them. The end-goal has to be your focal point of attention and you can back calculate the action you want to take with the end-goal in your mind.

As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favourite book that left a lasting impression on you

A book which has left a lasting impression would most certainly be The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. It discusses the Principle of ‘Law of Attraction’. Readers are taught and encouraged to really visualize their goals clearly in order to attract what they want. It points out that it's not always a straight line between where you are and where you want to go, and we can't always detect when things will turn around, but perseverance and a belief in oneself is the key. 

While it is encouraging to see the increase in statistics of women in law and in leadership roles, would you say things have become easier, or does the way to the top continue to be a journey through labyrinths and mazes for women? 

If we look back at the 90s, the situation has started to improve as we see more women participating in the legal fraternity and leadership roles. I would like to point that we have reached an acceptance stage but not to a stage of Equality. The most daunting question is: “Why do women need that Permission?”, “Why can’t it be as organic as it is for men?”, Why can’t we move towards a society where the roles/ responsibilities are not gender based? It is true to say that women, more than men, must traverse a maze of challenges to be successful leaders. As we see women are still treated unfairly, often due to prejudice, stereotypical and patriarchal thoughts. As I stated earlier, an ecosystem, where women taking up challenging roles is as normal, regular and ordinary as it is for their male counterparts, is needed. Why can’t we move towards a society where the roles/ responsibilities are not gender based?

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