A Lawyer Can Succeed with a Good Grasp On Regional Languages and Laws: Vaibhav Kakkar, Partner, Saraf & Partners
Vaibhav Kakkar, Partner, Saraf & Partners reflects on his journey at NLU Jodhpur as an alumnus of the founding batch of the institution.
How has been your personal experience studying at the college? When did you graduate and what are the few remarkable moments etched in your memories about your college?
I graduated from National Law University Jodhpur in the year 2006 with the B.B.A. LL.B. (Hons.) degree and belong to the founding batch of the institution. The five years of college from 2001-06 to date remain some of the most memorable and significant moments of my life. Those five years at NLUJ established the foundation of my legal knowledge which has greatly contributed to the heights I have achieved in my professional career. More importantly, NLUJ gave me a platform to develop my personality and helped me in meeting a lot of like-minded people that remain close friends to date. I take immense pride in the fact that I could witness the formative years of NLUJ and could contribute to the university expanding to become one of the premier law universities in India.
Please tell us about the subjects and professors you like the most. And why?
I always had an inclination for corporate laws and ended up doing my honours in the same as well. My interest in corporate laws was inspired by my professor, Prof. Mitra, whose clarity of thought and skills in pedagogy are second to none. Not only did he allow me to understand corporate laws in their truest sense, but also developed a commercial bend of mind in me, which shapes my decision-making even today. As the founding father, it was his vision and conviction that allowed generations of students and professors to make NLU J the premier legal institute, that it is today. He made sure to provide us students with all the required resources to transform us into quality lawyers and more significantly quality human beings. My academic inclination toward corporate law also translated into my career choices and was a contributing factor in me getting due recognition at my internships and eventually me getting into a corporate law firm straight after graduating from NLUJ.
What would you say is the USP of the college?
At the time when I joined NLUJ, it was the first institution of its kind that offered integrated courses combining law with management and science. The USP of NLUJ has always been its academics with top-quality professors from all across the country contributing toward shaping the legal minds of the future. Also, to provide practical experience to students the university offers Court Room Exercises (CREs) in various subjects as a part of the curriculum. The CREs assist the students in tackling a practical factual situation and building their legal thinking and arguing skills which form the base for the start of their professional careers. These skills translated into students over the years, winning the choicest accolades in moot court competitions across India and the world. Apart from academics, the University has a state-of-the-art campus with spacious hostels and several sporting facilities for the all-around development of students.
Having spent some good years in the profession, what according to you are areas our colleges must focus on to cultivate the legal minds that the country needs?
Having spent over 16 years as a corporate lawyer in premier law firms, I can say that legal universities must focus more on teaching students about the application of legal principles to factual situations. While the universities may teach students the basic principles of law and the texts of the bare acts, it is of utmost importance that the students are guided towards applying these legal principles to practical cases as well. A strong core of legal knowledge combined with practical knowledge will make the students well suited for starting in corporate jobs after graduating from a law college. I am delighted that NLUJ has recognised this need and has started implementing initiatives like the CREs, regular lectures with professionals, legal aid camps and emphasis on internships, to help cultivate and prepare future legal minds.
Future of Legal Education in India: What needs our immediate attention and what are the ways we can improve?
I think the steps that have been taken to expand the number of national law universities and improve the standards of the existing ones have been steps in the right direction. Making premier legal education more accessible to diverse regions of India as well as to more students is only going to improve the quality of legal minds that are produced in our country.
Can one make a good career in law with knowledge of regional language and laws?
Yes, a lawyer can succeed with a good grasp of regional languages and laws. A lawyer with such knowledge can be an excellent litigating lawyer in a district court or a high court where the use of these particular regional languages and laws is prevalent. Even the commercial disputes teams in corporate law firms, which have started to establish their offices in diverse regions of this country, are looking to recruit lawyers with knowledge of the required regional language and laws.
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