Anant Gupta graduated from National Law School Odisha and is presently the CEO and Co-founder of Memo Pundits, one of India’s leading moot coaching organisations. Prior to co-founding Memo Pundits, he worked for one of India’s largest law firms, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas as well as working as an independent consultant for BMW India. In addition to Memo Pundits, he also founded infinite detours a trekking startup.
Here is the transcript of the interview with Mr. Anant Gupta.
Rohan M Therattil: As the Co-founder and CEO of Memo Pundits, one of India’s leading moot training institutes, can you share with our readers how you came up with this idea and what inspired you to set up this organization?
Anant Gupta: Rachnendra and I co-founded Memo Pundits in 2014 while being in our 3rd year of law school in NLUO. Around that time, our college was winning Best Memorial awards back-to-back and this was something that fuelled our excitement to no end. Rachnendra and I had personally helped out around 10 moot teams to win such awards which were participating in moot court competitions of all variety, including prestigious ones like Philip C. Jessup. Throughout the process, we got to know how crucial a role hard work and practical techniques play to win a citation at a moot court and how much students are struggling to learn and adopt them. This underlying demand of guidance, we realized, had the potential of creating a successful business (as we all know that necessity is the mother of invention; we just needed to implement it).
Therefore, along with continuing our grind that comes with being 3rd-year students of law school, we experimented with our first pilot project by arranging a 4-day workshop on Drafting, Editing, and Formatting of Moot Court Memorials for our college students. Even though our initial target was to secure around 20-30 registrations, we were pleasantly surprised and quite elated when more than 120 students, which even included our seniors, opted for our workshop in less than 24-hours. So, with full vigour, we started teaching them, and also received remarkable feedback from our first batch for our unique style of approach which was quite different from what most students are used to in college in the form of boring lectures. After teaching about 300 students by the end of our law school, we realized one factor that still guides and motivates our steps to this day – knowing how much our product is adding value to the lives of numerous law students all over the country.
But then Rachnendra and I started our jobs after graduating college and got extremely busy, leaving Memo Pundits inactive for a good 2 years. At the time I was finalizing on quitting my job at SAM, restarting the engine of Memo Pundits seemed like the ideal thing to do. We commercialized the course around this time, gave it a professional appearance, and began promoting the notion of executing it in various universities across India. Slowly but steadily, Universities began to respond positively to the course. In the last one year, we have launched various online courses on key topics related to mooting, all of which are available at affordable prices on the official website of Memo Pundits.
Rohan M Therattil: Can you share your personal experience from the mooting days of your college life? Which is the one mooting achievement that you value the most?
Anant Gupta: Now, I was that school student who was extremely deterrent to any form of public speaking and remained like that throughout my school days. Even standing in front of my classmates made me anxious and sweaty. So naturally, I completely rejected the idea of mooting during my first year of law school and was not ready to let go of this age-old fear of public speaking.
But then, in my second year, I decided that enough was enough and I needed to overcome this irrational fear that was stealing away so many amazing opportunities from right under my nose. So, I participated in an intra university moot court competition, and even though our team did not even make it to the top 10, it left me with an experience, something that proved to be extremely useful in my next moot court competitions.
So, despite of not winning my first moot, I could sense the improvement I was making slowly and was proud for deciding to participate in more and more competitions. Then in my third moot court competition, I won the Best Speaker and Best Team awards, something that boosted my confidence and energized me to a great extent for the coming competitions. From that moment on, I just wanted to get involved and keep making progress. I can confidently claim that I fell in love with doing my best to do better, an ability that has supported me in different facets of life, and will always do.
Another mooting achievement I cherish a lot is the Runners-up title at the coveted NUJS-HSF Corporate Law Moot Court Competition. The reason why this was so special was because by the time I decided to participate in this moot, I had already secured a PPO at SAM & Co. So in reality, this moot was going to do nothing to my CV. But my reason to moot was never about the CV, it was “for the love of the game”, which is why I decided to participate in it and we did amazingly well!
Rohan M Therattil: As an avid mooter in your college days, what advice would you give to students on how to best balance internships and mooting along with their academic advancement in college?
Anant Gupta: Internships and Mooting are indeed some of the most significant parts of being a law student, but they are also some of the most exhausting ones. So, even though resumes, job applications, and different experiences should be given great importance, we cannot forget about our academics, something that most students keep ignoring until it gets too late. So, it is crucial that we keep a few things in mind while going for these activities, and can get the most out of each experience while still having time for ourselves to cool down and rejuvenate. Now we all know that the answer to this is intelligent time management and scheduling our commitments, but few understand how to implement this in real life.
So, the first tip is effective prioritizing; which is ranking all the tasks based on their significance and how much time they deserve, all the while being aware of the end goal. It is better to note them down properly, either in planners or on the computer. Here we need to remember that no matter what, at the end of the day academics should always come first. Be picky with the co-curricular activities you have decided to participate in and do enough research about them before committing to them. Now, considering this sheet, customize a realistic schedule that would serve your intentions and goal for the day or week. Do not forget to add the most important component; me-time. Then, no matter what, stick to this schedule. One trick to this is awarding yourself after you have done so, which could keep the motivation and discipline high enough to keep going. Also, prepare this schedule before the week begins, or at least the day before. This would help you to kick-start the next day or week without wasting time contemplating how to go about it, which could be discouraging to most of us.
Therefore, even though balancing college academics with internships and moot courts is no easy task, through a systematic and healthy schedule, it is possible to accomplish all the tasks while having one successful college experience without letting stress and anxiety take over our lives.
Rohan M Therattil: After years of participating and judging various moot competitions, what are the key factors which you think are critical for a favourable outcome?
Anant Gupta: A favourable outcome in a moot court competition is something that is achieved by considering a lot of factors and does not have any possible shortcut to it. But from the perspective of a judge, we do pay attention to a few factors and make note of whether they were properly mentioned or executed. It mostly starts with gauging the understanding achieved, insight gained, and analysis done on the moot problem by the participant. The grounds of appeal, the relevance of the cited authorities, the capacity to summarize facts, cases, or laws are all taken into consideration.
Then, the structuring of the arguments presented is keenly observed to find the logical relevance, understanding of the legal issues that have been raised in the moot problem, and application of the law to the presented facts to put in all the parts and forming a concrete and complete argument.
After that comes the style, mannerisms, and etiquette followed by the speaker. Everything starting from the tone of the speech to the body language is taken into account. Maintaining court etiquette while going through the highs and lows of the competition is no easy feat, and students often lose their composure without realizing it. Therefore, daily practice sessions are a must to be well-seasoned to the stress-inducing environment and to be able to speak to the judge directly without looking down and reading from the prepared script every other second. Therefore, establishing the balance of confidence and humbleness through multiple practice sessions will increase the chance of acing the competition a great deal.
Rohan M Therattil: With a tremendous number of mooting opportunities for students to select from both nationally and internationally, how can the mooters best select and apply to the multitude of moot court competitions? And how can they best start their preparations once the same is allotted to them?
Anant Gupta: Now mooting is one of those activities that need full attention, devotion, and commitment. Therefore, choosing the wrong competition can waste all of that hard work and midnight grind, which makes choosing the right competition extremely crucial. So before selecting the one for you, it is better to consider a few things beforehand.
Firstly, get to know the organizer of the competition through research, friends, and seniors which would provide crucial insight into the competition itself. Then consider the edition of the moot to check its authenticity as the scope of scam always remains high. After ensuring its legitimacy pay attention to the subject matter it deals with, i.e., the topic of the moot. It is important for you to like the topic enough to spend hours researching on it daily. Now, sit down and go through the moot proposition calmly. See if you can analyse the major issues given, to a certain extent. If you are completely unfamiliar with the issues raised, then it is better to move on from that competition and choose another one. The next step would be to take a look at the final submission date of the memorial and also at your schedule. Try to figure out whether it is possible to invest in mooting without sacrificing your academics at that point of time. If you find you can realistically manage the timing, then you have found your competition.
Then comes preparation. The first and foremost thing to do and continue doing is to study the moot proposition very carefully in order to know, understand, and memorize the facts of the case. Start dividing them by considering which of them would aid and support which side. Then familiarize yourself with the main authorities, something that would help to prepare for possible questions on the holdings of these cases and the reasoning behind them. Then prepare a solidified theme based on which your arguments will be focused and bring them together, leaving behind a central message. Keep this in mind while creating the outline of the arguments. Keep preparing for the questions that could be asked by the judge based on your delivery to find out the possible loopholes your arguments might contain. At the end of the day, keep discussing and practicing. Most of the problematic areas will come into light through this process only. Therefore, start and start as early as possible to reach the maximum potential.
A very important aspect of getting the best out of your potential is to get a mentor for your moot. Through its Moot Mentorship Program, Memo Pundits has helped many teams win their dream moot with the help of our expert panel of mentors. You should try it out today!
Rohan M Therattil: With the emergence of COVID-19, the entire legal system has seen a huge shift into the online or virtual mode unlike ever before. How according to you the mooting culture has changed because of the same. And what would your advice be to students who are preparing for online moot?
Anant Gupta: Covid-19 has indeed changed our lives in the most unexpected ways, where we have no other option but to deal with it to try and make the most out of it. So, in the current scenario, moot court competitions can be conducted only through online mode, something that has been worrying a lot of students who are confused about the whole transition. Now, there are a few simple but effective steps that could come in handy for reducing this confusion surrounding the whole thing.
The first thing to do is to properly get acquainted with the streaming app where the competition will be held. You will be surprised how helpful this simple step will turn out to be. So, after installing the application, explore the options and use them a few times to avoid possible technical glitches. Then arrange and conduct multiple online demo moot sessions with your teammates to remove the hesitancy and scepticism surrounding virtual sessions. Another important thing to do is to create a backup for all the research material, preferably through a google drive link to avoid any associated problems regarding material sharing. You should also try and acquaint yourself with the online mode of research through databases and E-books as most of us will not have access to hard copies.
In the end, remember that virtual sessions are a form of real-time interactions where the basics of the competition remain unchanged and you have to format, research, and prepare a speech like any other offline moot court competition. Therefore, do not give up the enthusiasm and put your best efforts together with your teammates to win over all the adversaries in the way.
Want us to Interview someone you know or admire?
Please recommend their name for an Interview by filling up the recommendation form. They can be a Lawyer/ Law Firm Associate or Partner/ Dean/ Professor etc.