Yuvraj Samant is currently the Founding Partner and Counsel at Law Care Legal Consultants LLP. He is a practising advocate appearing successfully before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, the Hon’ble High Courts of Rajasthan, New Delhi and Uttarakhand.
His experience in the field of Constitutional Law, Service Law, Real Estate Laws, Revenue Laws, Corporate Laws, Arbitration Laws and Intellectual Property Laws is extensive.
He has advised some of the big corporates and is the counsel for multiple companies including a multinational leader of the telecom sector, a Real Estate major and a market leader in the medical space. He has worked previously with the top-notch law firms including the erstwhile, Amarchand Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff, Trilegal, Lakshmikumaran and Srisharan, ALMT Legal and Luthra & Luthra Law. Offices and on the litigation side, he has previously worked with the chambers of Adv. Swadeep Hora and Senior Adv. Geeta Luthra at the High Court of Judicature for the state of Rajasthan and at the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India respectively.
He is an accredited international cross-cultural negotiator and mediator, having also coached various law school teams for mooting as well as mediation and negotiating competitions.
He has read law at a top law school of the country which is National Law University in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, it has been constantly ranked as the top 3 universities in the country.
Below is the transcript of the interview we conducted with Yuvraj Samant.
Priyanshi: Has Law always been the career you wanted to pursue? What made you realize your career goals and passion towards the perspective of law?
Yuvraj Samant: Law wasn’t a career choice at all initially, I was the regular Science, Mathematics student but very active with debating and dramatics during school. Ironically, I was an Engineering student before writing CLAT and entering into NLU Jodhpur. The city that I come from Ajmer, Rajasthan, many people were not even aware that there exists a CLAT Examination. One of my relatives who was a senior professor at IIT-Delhi informed me that there is an avenue of doing the five-year law course and it is really an upcoming field. The day I saw the subjects and read more about it, it really intrigued me and the fascination of one day arguing in a court of law and winning a case for someone, making a difference to the society, really got me inclined towards law. As I entered law school, my passion for law kept increasing on a day to day basis, from just competing in Inter-school Debate Competitions suddenly we were learning the intricacies of law participating in International Moot Courts, representing the University and the country at the world stage, everything became enigmatic and a big learning curve. I kept the mantra simple, learn one new thing every day during law school, law kept me enthused and I was always excited to be present in courts, see top lawyers arguing, the skill of maneuvering an argument in the direction you want to and the ability to counter tricky situations made me follow my heart. I believe in setting every day small targets and achieving them, the legal field is a tough one, one needs to dig deep in order to survive and keep the efforts going for a prolonged period. I always believe in the saying, if you really want something and are willing to put your heart and soul into it, everything else will fall into place for you to achieve it.
Priyanshi: You are one of the founding partners of the Law Care Legal Consultants LLP, could you please elaborate your journey of success, and what were the challenges you faced while doing so?
Yuvraj Samant: While in law school, something that I could sense is, the journey in law can only be traversed in case your heart is in it. Many kids while at law school put themselves under undue pressure of securing placements at high paying firms, without ever knowing where their interests lie or what sort of work would they want to do. But just because the law school fees inadvertently create a burden, not many can follow their passion and end up doing work which causes early burnouts. On the other hand, in case you are following your heart and are striving to do something you really want to do, initially, finances might become a struggle but it will improve very drastically, patience is a virtue in this field. Efforts never go in vain.
A career in law is always full of ups and downs, and importantly it’s about managing your downs effectively while trying to survive till the next phase of sunlight comes. As is the norm, straight out of a law school even I was looking for jobs be it in-house or in a law firm, meanwhile as I secured a job with a reputed law firm in Delhi, I had a couple of months available, so I decided to meet my mentor in the Legal Profession and he advised me to get into Litigation, so I decided to test waters and join his Chambers as he had a flourishing legal practice, those couple of months were full of action and a lot of varied work which I really loved. But the time flew by and I had to join my duties with the Firm.
A couple of weeks in, I fell seriously sick and was hospitalized, thereafter I resumed my firm job but the heart was never really in it. I left the firm job, went back to join the Chambers of my senior and enjoyed doing litigation. Then sometime in the latter half of 2016, I decided to set up an independent practice, it went well for a while before financial pangs started affecting my mindset, I decided to explore a couple of things and for which I am always indebted to my Seniors from Law School, it gave me the much-needed confidence to follow my heart. By August 2017, I had become much more determined and had my heart and mindset on pursuing things which I was always passionate about, for which I joined Law, leaving Engineering studies. In September 2017, we co-founded our Firm, Law Care Legal Consultants LLP, at the time we were trying to create a model where we would become a one-stop legal services firm for the Clients. As time has progressed, we have evolved into niche practice set-ups while still striving to be the one-stop legal services firm.
Although I wouldn’t really call my journey in law a success yet, sure there have been many challenges, some highs and some lows. Challenges that I have faced in the legal profession are pretty common I believe which most of us are fighting. Being a first-generational lawyer, it takes time to adapt to the professional mindset and the culture of being in the profession of law. Furthermore, being a young lawyer in traditional states or cities, you need to work doubly-hard to secure a place in the field, otherwise, you will be washed ashore. For young lawyers, finances are always a concern, so it was with me, but I never let that affect my work and always tried to put my feet on the ground and start working. I knew that money would inadvertently by God’s grace come if I have worked hard. A personal challenge that I faced and my mentor really helped me overcome it, was that I was never present in the moment. If I was working I used to worry about my duties at home; when I was at home I used to worry about my career and future; sometimes I used to worry about whether I will be able to survive in the profession or not, whether an in-house job is better or being in litigation is better, he told to me in straight words “Yuvraj, this way you will not be able to survive anywhere, leave the profession right away and go take care of these things in case you are so worried, once you are working, forget other things and when you go back home, forget your professional worries.” This advice holds me in good stead until today.
Priyanshi: You’ve worked in many of the corporate law firms and as well as you’re a practising advocate. In which area does your interest lie, litigation, or corporate?
Yuvraj Samant: Ah, that’s a tricky one! As much as I want to say that I absolutely love being a Dispute Resolution Counsel or a practising Advocate, I am also aware of the fact that Corporate work puts the bread on the table at most times. In today’s day and age, I strongly believe a uni-dimensional lawyer will find it difficult to survive as compared to a multi-dimensional lawyer. With the growing world and ever-evolving nature of disputes, it is extremely important for all legal professionals to be well rounded and thereafter to build their niche at advanced stages of their careers. Personally, advocacy work really enthuses me and I have been constantly building my practice.
Priyanshi: You have coached various law school teams for mooting as well as mediation and negotiating competitions. What is your opinion about the caliber of legal education provided in India? What could be done to churn out more competent lawyers?
Yuvraj Samant: Well, the lesser said about the legal education sector in India the better. It appears that legal education in India is a privilege of the elite (the NLU’s, Jindal’s and other Pvt. Institutions) but, the education in those elite institutions is also not up to the mark. Although I can tell you that we have had the privilege of being taught by some of the best legal thinkers and professors at NLU Jodhpur during my time. Of late, I have observed the proliferation of NLUs and the crazy number of private universities offering legal education without having necessary resources and just trying to jump on the bandwagon of the five-year law course to make a quick buck have necessarily created a sort of a crisis and sham businesses which are misguiding young law students. I am appalled that young kids get swayed into doing law and pump in lakhs of rupees of hard-earned money just to be taken in by the education business mafias. I believe every student must holistically evaluate their prospective colleges/universities etc. in case they are going to study law. In reality, the legal industry does not have the sort of demand that matches with the output of law graduates in the country, hence one needs to be very careful.
Also, the legal education regulator should be extra diligent and stringent while granting permissions for law universities or colleges to function. Regular checks on the faculties, facilities and infrastructure should be done. In order to produce good and competent lawyers, one needs to provide conducive atmosphere, facilities, exhaustive libraries and critically thinking faculty members who have mastery over their subjects. Bright, dynamic and hard-working young kids across the country are facing challenges in absorbing quality legal education, there is no dearth of talent or willingness to learn, it is just that they have systemic barriers in even acquiring knowledge.
Somehow, I have an inkling that this COVID-19 pandemic is going to revolutionize not just the way our court’s function or justice is delivered but is also going to change the dynamics in the legal education sector. The only work to do is now to create huge reservoirs/pools of knowledge accessible to students freely across the internet and other means such that if today a student sitting in any part of the country wants to learn about Space Law from a professor sitting in France, he/she should be able to do so with access to the lectures within minutes from the comfort of their homes/classes. It will be a win-win situation for institutions as well as students, where geographical borders will no longer be a limitation to learning.
With respect to what can be done to produce more competent lawyers, I feel there is a marked difference in theoretical law and the practice of law. Law schools must pay special attention to increasing the industry interaction of students, regular guest lectures of professionals in the Universities, accommodating internship slots of students by being flexible, after all, it is not possible that all the students in the entire country can intern at the same time at firms or with lawyers, hence academic schedule should be designed keeping in mind the market. With ever-growing fields of law, institutions should be more innovative and keep themselves abreast with producing cutting-edge research. Project39A of NLU Delhi, the work being done by Legal Aid and Awareness Committee (LAAC) at NLU Jodhpur, the Centre for Arbitration and Research at MNLU Mumbai are some examples of many such centres doing commendable work.
Priyanshi: Your experience in the field of Constitutional Law, Service Law, Real Estate Laws, Revenue Laws, Corporate Laws, Arbitration Laws, and Intellectual Property Laws is extensive. Which area intrigues you the most and why?
Yuvraj Samant: Although it is extremely difficult to choose a field of law which intrigues when one is practising day in and day out, I would like to share with you, the instance why I started being really intrigued/in love with Constitutional Law in specific, during my law school days, our Professor for Constitutional Law was a real stalwart, Prof. K.V. Mohanan, he was a walking encyclopedia, he built in us the critical acumen required for being inquisitive and thoroughly professional lawyers, then we had Prof. I. P Massey who taught us Administrative Law and Professional Ethics, the aura and charm with which they made the subjects enchanting was unmissable. I thoroughly enjoyed my discussions on Constitutional Law with Prof. Mohanan, Prof Massey, Prof. K.L Bhatia and Late Prof. Vedantam Shastri, while at NLU Jodhpur, they went a long way in building critical thinking skills, my love for constitutional law and even towards litigation per se.
Priyanshi: Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic many judicial proceedings are held online due to lockdown and special measures. Is this online method of hearing cases and holding judicial proceedings in India online appropriate for a country like India where still some people don’t have a proper internet connection in remote areas?
Yuvraj Samant: To be quite honest with you, the online method of hearing cases is not really the way litigation should be conducted, it should only be limited to the current pandemic situation and be done away as soon as possible. In the online method of hearing, the negatives far outweigh the positives, and as you have rightly pointed out in a country like India, this online mode of hearing has only multiplied the problems instead of resolving the issues.
Recently Hon’ble Supreme Court itself has taken suo motu cognizance of the plight of the lawyer community at large and issued notices to state bar councils. The online method of hearings is a stop-gap arrangement and should be done away with at the speed of lightning and the systems need to get back to working at full strength in order for the majority of the lawyers to survive.
Priyanshi: Do you think there is the scope of Mediation in India as compared to Litigation? Also, why do you think it doesn’t have a good success cordiant?
Yuvraj Samant: India is a litigatious country by its very nature. People rush to approach the courts all the time and are willing to fight it out, whereas in other jurisdictions, sometimes if you lose the court case the legal costs and the other costs would make one go bankrupt, hence people think twice before fighting their battles in courts. Although now India is awakening to the concept of Mediation with the push by statutory law and a nudge by the COVID-19 pandemic, people have realized that it is very beneficial to settle disputes amicably than to fight a fierce and bitter battle. Mediation did not have much success or limelight up until now because everyone considered that people would have to end up being in court irrespective of mediation or one of the parties did not even consider mediation an option, but with the 2018 amendment in Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts Act, 2015 wherein mandatory pre-litigation mediation has been envisaged, it appears that the watershed moment for Mediation as a dispute resolution Mechanism is going to arrive in India, with Ayodhya case being referred to Mediation, statutory support being provided and with the pandemic and ever-increasing litigation costs, it might not be wrong to say that Mediation’s days in the Sun are about to begin in India.
Priyanshi: What would be your advice to the young students at Law School as well as Law Graduates who are yet to step in the field and start their careers? What are the essential qualities and skills required to establish a prospective career in law?
Yuvraj Samant: Although I am not someone who would advise people on their journeys because I believe everyone has their own unique situations and problems to overcome, but surely, I can share some of the lessons that I have learnt in the profession and which are going to be beneficial:
- Hard work has no substitute and there are no short-cuts to success, etch this line in your heart, take it as gospel truth.
- Always be upright, honest and an ethical professional, your image precedes you, it is very easy to get swayed by the everyday bling and by seeing what some other people might be doing, but in the long run, to be successful these are things that will count.
- Develop the skills to be a keen listener, quick assimilator of knowledge and effective speaker, who can convey the most important message in the least possible words.
- Learning to never ever give up, to keep trying, to wake up every single day and turn up to work. There is work for every deserving professional in this field, don’t ever worry about work being big or small, do it.
- Be well researched and thorough. Wherever or whenever you believe you will manage somehow and do not prepare enough for a hearing or for work, that will be the place and time you will face trouble, so always prepare for the minute details.
- Have a mentor in the field and religiously follow his/her advice.
- For a lot of youngsters choosing to litigate, the money will inadvertently become an issue. Try being innovative and active, network and reach out to friends, seniors, colleagues and lawyers generally informing them that you are available for work, that will ensure that the tough period is not a long one.
- When you are a young advocate or a legal professional in the field, there will be many people who will give you myriad kinds of advice, listen to everyone, but never let any not-so-positive advice impact you or let you get disheartened. Keep your will strong to follow your dreams.
- Try avoiding the ‘herd mentality’ and make logical decisions.
- Always strive to be one step ahead of the curve.
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