Interview with Tanya Shree, Advocate on Record, Supreme Court of India

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Tanya Shree is an Advocate on Record at the Supreme Court of India. She cleared the Advocate on Record examination in Feb 2020. She started her career in litigation in 2013 by practicing mainly in the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court. In 2018, she started working as an Associate at Indian Innovation since its inception on a pro bono basis. She completed BA LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Pune.

Libertatem Magazine interviewed Miss Tanya recently. Here is an extract from the interview of Advocate Tanya Shree

Vidushi: You joined Symbiosis in 2008. Back then, there were very limited Law Schools in India. Did you appear for other NLU Entrance Exams or Symbiosis was your only choice? Back then, what were the deciding factors to choose between limited Law Schools?

Tanya: Coming from a non-lawyer’s background, my interest in law arose during my +2 years. I had given CLAT and SET examination. Back then a total of 8 colleges were allotted through CLAT. The consideration that weighed with students were ranks of the colleges’, with NLSIU, Banglore being the most favored and difficult to get through. Through CLAT counseling I was allotted GNLU, Gujarat. However, I chose Symbi because a lot of my peers and seniors at that point in time told me that Symbi had a lot of opportunities in terms of extra-curricular activities, which are as diverse and as varied one can imagine. I think it’s absolutely true about Symbi as the college provides a unique curriculum wherein apart from academics a lot of emphasis and opportunity is provided to the students by way of extra-curricular activities, which adds to the overall development of law students.

Vidushi: You joined the Bar fresh from Law School. What challenges did you face?

Tanya: I cannot say that joining the bar fresh from Law School was a cakewalk! In my college days, I was an avid mooter and my various internship experience with law firms made me realize that I was not cut-out for a desk job. Therefore, immediately after my graduation, I joined the chambers of an Advocate-on-Record. My major challenge was with the practical side of the law, especially filing procedures, etc. wherein I had to deal with a particularly rude clerk, it was a herculean task to get the work done through him! And one had to try many ways to get the work done through him. The other challenge that I faced was low payment. In litigation, one puts in at least 12 hours of work a day every day for seven days,  even when one is sick and still doesn’t get paid a basic minimum salary. However, the joy of getting relief in matters is unparalleled, especially the first few ones!

Vidushi: Young Lawyers these days face a lot of issues after college if they wish to go for Litigation. One of the most common problems is of no stipend or very little stipend from their employers. They are offered an almost negligible stipend for the hard work they do at the Lawyer’s Chamber. We are always heard that this is one reason which drives many prospective lawyers ways from the work and they eventually are attracted to a decent to higher-paid Law Firm or Corporate Jobs. What is your take on this issue? Do you feel that the young lawyers should be paid at least some decent salary or stipend to at least sustain themselves in a different city?

Tanya: Yes Definitely! At least some respectable salary is a must. A decent salary apart from sustaining you also boosts your confidence. This is one area the litigation offices are to look into and maybe young generation lawyers can show the way.

Vidushi: You have had a remarkable practice of around 7 Years. Have you ever faced situations of moral slippery grounds, cases that caused some ethical turmoil? If yes, then how did you deal with it?

Tanya: In the practice of law, 7 years is nothing! I am still taking baby steps and is very much a student of law. Till now, I have not faced any moral slippery grounds. A lawyer is an Officer of Court and if she/he remembers this always, I don’t think he will ever face moral slippery grounds.

Vidushi: congratulates you for clearing the Advocate on Record Examination. Can you tell our readers more about the Advocate on Record Examination and when and how should they prepare?

Tanya: Thank you for your warm greetings. Advocate on Record is an annual exam conducted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court. Lawyers who qualify this exam, are eligible to act, file, and plead on behalf of their clients before Supreme Court. Usually, the exams are conducted at the end of May or the first week of June. There are four papers, which are Practice and Procedure of Supreme Court, Drafting of Petitions of Supreme Court, Advocacy and Professional Ethics, and Leading Cases.

Regarding preparation, it varies from person to person. If you are practicing regularly at Supreme Court, you are already familiar with its practice and procedure and would not require much time. However, as the examination is a written one (and it’s been ages since we have written continuously for three long hours!), it’s advisable to start developing the habit of writing daily. I had started preparing for the exam from May onwards, as from the second week the Court closes and that is the time when you can focus completely on your exams. It required one month of continuous effort to effectively cover the entire syllabus. Apart from going through the study materials thoroughly, discussion with peers and guidance from Seniors also helped me a lot. Anyone needing any assistance in this regard is more than welcome to contact me as it would be an opportunity for me to give back to the bar.

Vidushi: Lastly, what would be your advice to the young students at Law School as well as Law Graduates?

Tanya: Follow your passion! Do multiple internships in various disciplines such as corporate law firms, litigation law firms, NGOs, Advocates, etc. It is by interning at different places that you would know of different aspects and challenges that each workplace has and eventually you will figure out what exactly you want to do. If you love the work that you do, then even arduous work timings will not deter you. For me personally each case comes as a puzzle and like solving puzzles, you won’t bother looking at lengthy judgments and commentaries, in order to find the most suitable solution to your case. While, for someone who does not like litigation, it could be a humungous task to dig through each and every judgment! Therefore, do whatever you want to do, but love it. One more thing that the Law Students and Law Graduates need to keep in mind is law is an ever-evolving subject and it helps to keep oneself abreast with the latest changes in society and its consequent change in law including technological changes.

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