Aneesh Sadhwani is an Advocate who practices at the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court. He is currently working as an associate at VK&S Partners. Before this, he worked as an associate at Singhania & Partners LLP. He completed BA LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. He was a member and the convenor of the Student Bar Association.
He was an avid mooter and has won many moot courts and mediation competitions. After graduating, he is very often called by different universities to judge the moot court competitions.
Here is an extract from the interview of Advocate Aneesh Sadhwani.
Vidushi: You pursed B.A L.L.B from Symbiosis Law School, Pune. Back in your school days, were you always inclined towards Law or you wanted to do something else?
Aneesh: Even though I was quite an introvert during my school days but somehow the idea of appearing before a court, arguing, and practicing law always fascinated me as a child. This was more so after seeing my father, a chartered accountant by profession, preparing for his matters before the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal, and arguing those matters. So when my time came to choose between Chartered Accountancy and law, I found law was the one that suited me.
Vidushi: You have participated and won many awards in moot courts, trial advocacies and mediation competition. Your team was also judged as the best team in the 2nd Christ University National ADR Competition. Please enlighten our readers as to how has the mix of various events helped you evolve as a law student and as an Advocate?
Aneesh: In law school, I had the opportunity of being part of the Moot Court Association which was actively involved in conduction, organization, and assisting the participants representing our college in such mooting events. Being part of the Moot Court Association gave me that requisite push to participate in such events and I ended up participating in various competitions like criminal trial advocacy, moot court, mediation, client counseling and eventually started assisting other teams as well.
So mooting for me kick-started a process of self-learning. It was a time when I was not just dependent on the classroom learning but would actually go visit the library, start reading, researching, learning to use the online databases more effectively, preparing multiple drafts and reviewing them time and again, framing issues and arguments, learning teamwork, while dissecting every fact, section and law.
For me, all these competitions have taught me something or the other. Moot court has taught me the importance of preparation and presentation of arguments in the most concise manner, Trial advocacy has taught me the importance of procedural laws and thinking on the feat for cross-examination, mediation competitions has assisted me in evaluating the strengths and weakness of my case to negotiate, Client Counseling has taught me the importance of fact gathering and so on. So regardless of me winning and losing such competitions the self-acquired knowledge while preparing for such events has stayed with me and has ultimately helped to improve my understanding of law and made me more confident to face the situation at hand as an advocate.
Vidushi: You were very much into participating in Moots and other events and now you practice at the Supreme Court as well as the Delhi High Court. How would you compare the Mooting Culture with the real-life Court Proceedings especially the part of the argument? It is said that there is a difference between Arguing in Moots and Arguing in Court. What is your take on that?
Aneesh: Moot court and other legal competitions are merely a glimpse of what might come your way in the future. As it is a time-bound activity, it aims to create a simulated situation for the students to understand the importance of legal researching and preparing concise and structured arguments.
However, arguing in a court is completely different compared to a moot as the moots only have final arguments. In a court, there are arguments that happen on various applications, framed issues before court reaches the stage to entertain the final arguments. In court, the stakes are high as it involves many stages before reaching the final arguments and the way of addressing the court and arguing also differs from matter to matter and in different forums.
But I must say that participating in moot courts and other such activities do prepare you in terms of confidence and articulation to a large extent. Moreover, it teaches you to research, application of law, drafting, etc
Vidushi: Apart from events such as Moots, Seminars, etc., Internships are said to be one of the most crucial factors which shape a person. Few students do get PPOs from Internships while most of them do not. We would love to know your best Internship Experience and how did Internships help you in shaping your career?
Aneesh: An internship is one of the best experiences that a law student can get in terms of understanding how a legal setup runs, how to procure and deal with clients, and most importantly of all how various courts and tribunal functions.
As a law student, you are quite unsure about how the setup runs and how the law as stated in the bare act and books actually apply in practicality, so while choosing my internship I always tried keeping my internship in such a manner that I could get exposed to various types of legal setups and there functioning.
So I started my internship with the Red Cross Foundation, Ahmedabad which gave me a grass root understanding of legal aid, disaster management organizations’ functions, and various statues created to assist the functioning of such organizations. Later, I got an opportunity to intern with esteemed law firms like AZB &Partners and Nishith Desai and Associates where I had an opportunity to work on due diligence and assist in research on some interesting legal propositions. I also interned with a legal firm ‘Lexstart’ which worked actively in the startup arena advising several startups in the investment transactions, which provided me with great and much-required insight in the sector.
But out of all these internships, my internship with various advocates practicing before the Bombay High Court, Gujarat High Court and Delhi High Court had a great impact on me. I could actually see the provisions that we read back in law school come to play in real life. It was my interaction with those lawyers while walking in the court corridors, seeing them argue on the matter that we were working and researching on last night, judges pointing out minor legal irregularities which could have a huge impact on a case, or just randomly entering court to hear the matter which was being argued, etc that intrigued me and helped me in deciding to take up litigation and eventually practice as an advocate before the various trial court, Hon’ble Delhi High Court and Supreme Court.
Vidushi: Nowadays, there are various types of events that are available for a Law Student to participate. What according to you should the students prioritize?
Aneesh:. As all these events in a law school are created to a harness and promote legal knowledge among the students, I personally believe that no knowledge goes to waste and this is why I think a student in the formative years of the law school should give a try to everything that interests him/her.
As there are so many law colleges, legal forums in the country and abroad providing so many opportunities to the legal students in the form of moots, research papers, articles, running internships, etc., it provides exposure for a student to learn something new and discover new facets of the legal world. This not only helps the students in figuring out the subjects that interest them but also ultimately helps them in figuring out their career path.
Vidushi: You started your career as an Associate at Singhania and Partners and now you work as an Associate for VK&S Partners. What were the challenges you faced when you started your career? How was the transition from a college student to suddenly becoming a working professional?
Aneesh: As soon as I received a PPO from Singhania and Partners I started working in the very first week after graduating, The first couple of months for me were tough as I was just new into the profession so it took time for me to understand the functioning of various tribunals and courts, filing procedures, prioritizing and managing all the work that came my way. However, I had good seniors/colleagues who guided me and were always there to answer my questions, so slowly with time I learned to manage, prioritize my work and things fell in place. The first few months were quite crucial in teaching me that the profession requires learning on the go and a certain amount of patience and not to be bogged down by the hurdles that come initially.
Vidushi: Lastly, what would be your advice to the young students at Law School?
Aneesh: To my fellow law students, I would say that learning in this profession is a never-ending process. It does not matter whether you choose corporate law, litigation, policy research, or in-house setup, everyone who is working in this profession right from a judge, senior advocate, partner in a law firm, junior advocate everyone continues to be a student of law. So take every opportunity you get in the law school which may come in the form of moot court competitions, research papers, internships, etc. to learn and understand the legal system. It will help you to be better prepared while representing and mooting your point as a legal professional.