Mr Abhilaksh Grover is an advocate, who earned his degree in law from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. Formerly an associate attorney at J Sagar Associates, a law firm of high repute, Mr Grover went on to attain the LLM from the prestigious UC Berkeley. Apart from academics, Mr Grover has had a successful career as a mooter, winning honours at top international moots such as the Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot and the Leiden Sarin Air Law Moot. We approached him for some valuable insight on all of this and more.
Q.1) What influenced to tale law as a career and how was your life at NALSAR?
Honestly it was through process of elimination. At some point in school one is put through a rude crossroads of choice that usually include the streams of science colloquially known as medical and non medical; commerce and humanities/arts. Science was out and it was then between commerce and humanities. Although I took up commerce I was always interested in history and political science and law is one field which uses the interplay of such subjects. Interestingly, long back, on a family trip to Calcutta, I recall my mother telling me about the then novel concept of the prestigious national law schools coming up in various parts of the country, as we crossed one on the way. It was then that I secretly started aiming to secure a good rank in the entrance exams. I was fortunate to be admitted to both NLU-Jodhpur and NALSAR and joined the latter. Life at NALSAR was great fun and I must say I learnt a lot from the environment at the university and my peers, all of whom are doing very well today.
Q.2) You have been an avid mooter and have been awarded several times at international stage. How do you think mooting helps a law student in understanding the nuances of real-life advocacy?
Over the years, having seen my Father practicing law and then head the Bench, I was aware that practice of law requires good oratory skills and the only way to acquire it is through public speaking. My Father always pushed me towards participating in debates and declamations in school and frankly I was quite poor at public speaking but I didn’t give up and took up mooting only to improve my oration. I was not concerned too much about winning or losing a competition, although I gave it my best shot and of course with the immense efforts of my teammates, I was able to successfully enjoy the mooting experience. I feel mooting is a great avenue to for public speaking and analytical reasoning and one must not be shy of participating. After all, college is meant for experiments and one has nothing to lose. As for the second part of your question, I feel mooting is the closest experience one can get to arguing in court, no matter the excessive academic nature of the exercise. Court room advocacy has many more variables at play that are only learnt through years of experience but a mooter may not feel the initial stage fright in court and may be more comfortable than others.
Q.3) Coming from a legal background, how do you think the struggle is different when compared to a first generation lawyer?
Practice of law amongst other things requires the skill of networking and it must also be the right kind of networking because ultimately only lawyers who have clients willing to represent them can showcase their legal skills in court. In college, unfortunately not much is spoken about the business side of things in a legal practice and a lack of network may seem daunting to a first generation lawyer. For a first generation lawyer who is not exposed to the life of a litigating lawyer, it takes a few years to navigate through what may at first seem a very complex maze of procuring clients, soliciting and performing in court. Someone from a legal background, as I am, is able to absorb certain ways of litigation through the sheer process of osmosis but the rigours remain the same. So its a head start to begin with in terms of the initial understanding of the profession. However, the profession demands extreme dedication and patience, much like meditation where instant results are not possible but over the years, those who stick on get to yield the fruits of labour and it then does not matter whether they had a legal background to begin with. There are countless that have not been very successful even with the right background and many that have scaled pinnacles of success without a legal background.
Q.4) How should a law student shape his/her profile and what extra-curricular must one do if one wants to pursue higher studies abroad?
Evidently a profile to pursue higher studies abroad must be academic at the very least, however it must be tailor made towards the academic interest as well. The final resume must match the statement and objects of the ‘Statement of purpose’ that most universities require. Academic writings in reputed journals carry a lot of weight and so do extra-curricular activities like mooting. However, in my experience grades count for a lot, especially if one is applying right out of college. Extra curriculars then are much like embellishments on the CV. A lot of universities also prefer work experience and look for a mature profile so it really depends on where one is applying. Safe to say, there must be a connect throughout the application with what one has done and what one intends to do in the future through the course. It is therefore important to start structuring the resume accordingly around the third year of college.