Vaishnavi Gupta, Business Law

VAISHNAVI GUPTA

Alumni from our very own college, she works as an associate at Khaitan & Co. She finished her degree with a specialization in banking, finance, corporate, and securities law.

Interviewed by Kshitij Kasi Viswanath

INTERVIEWER

What inspired you to take up law and continue it with the rigour you are currently working with Khaitan?

VAISHNAVI GUPTA

I have to disappoint you. I never thought of being a lawyer until 2015. I never considered law as a glamorous profession like it portrayed in the TV series. My only “dream job,” if you all believe in, was a 9-5 job, and that I thought that becoming an engineer would guarantee me. So, like all other typical ‘baniya’ families, my father enrolled me in an engineering coaching institute, daily motivating me to clear IIT. Little we knew that destiny had something very different planned for me. It is rightly said that sometimes it is better to end something and start something new than to imprison yourself in hoping for what you are not destined to. So, I moved ahead and enrolled myself in a law school, hoping and wishing to finally fall in love with this field. While I am a first-generation lawyer and come from a very simple family today, my career has been dotted with many happy coincidences, helpful mentors, and colleagues. I cannot credit all of this hard work and perseverance alone. Some people chose to believe in me and support me. Over the five years of law school, I was always drawn towards business laws since the beginning. What was left for me to realize was what in Business Law, so five years helped me realize that Capital markets drive me, and I am continuing my zeal to date.

INTERVIEWER

What are some of the curricular, co- curricular, or extra-curricular activities which have helped you in the career of law today?

VAISHNAVI GUPTA

The first few years of law school are spent learning the fundamentals of the law, such as contract law, criminal law, and property law. The goal of the first few years is for every law student to understand the areas of the direction in which they will be expected to practice. Later, courses in intellectual property, business law, constitutional law, and other subjects are taken to understand the depth and breadth of knowledge that a lawyer is expected to possess. Every law student’s experience is unique, and your areas of interest may change as you progress through the years. Many law schools provide opportunities for students to write research papers and give presentations. I appreciated the opportunity to conduct research and write an essay on a specific topic.

Furthermore, law schools frequently allow students to form groups and compete in moot court competitions. This entail arguing in front of a judge to hone one’s oral advocacy skills. Keeping your cool in front of a judge (often an expert in the field) can be a gratifying experience. Furthermore, these competitions, as well as the experience of traveling to a different location, allow you to bond with your teammates and form some long-lasting friendships. All of this is not to say that law school is always smooth sailing. Because law subjects are difficult and time- consuming to master, there is often a lack of time to participate in extra-curricular activities. There is also a lot of competition among law students, as everyone is trying to outdo each other (much like in other professional schools) to get that coveted internship or the highest grade in the class. Some external opportunities, such as semester exchange programs and accolades within the law school, are directly linked to academic performance, so working hard and earning good grades is encouraged. However, all of these experiences help you prepare for the real world while also pushing you to do your best. It also teaches you how to deal with various human emotions and how to react to success. Just don’t get too caught up in it, and caffeine may become your best friend for a few years!

INTERVIEWER

Any advice that you would like to give to aspiring law graduates about securing positions or put out our resume to get into the corporate world and explore the corporate world?

VAISHNAVI GUPTA

I believe in hard work yielding great opportunities and never letting an opportunity pass you by. The first thing that a law student needs to understand is that learning law in books and practicing it is pretty different. While it is essential to thoroughly study the fundamental concepts as a part of the law school curriculum, it is also necessary to do as many law internships as possible. It really does not matter how well your internships are, how many big six internships you have. What matters, in the end, is learning. Sitting ideally in a big firm and working hard in a small firm is the line of difference that one needs to realize. The problem today is that we are learners, and the most important thing to learn is to analyse your own “calling.” To explore your interest, or I may say “calling,” is to answer the following three questions: (a) Does law interest you? [Remark- I have seen people completely changing their career path post taking a law degree. Answering this becomes really important in the first place] (b) Is Corporate law your field? (c) For which firm do you want to work? However, a word of caution; kindly note that the above questions do not have a timeline.

INTERVIEWER

What advice would you like to give corporate law aspirants on how they can be valuable interns or employees to their organization?

VAISHNAVI GUPTA

At least in terms of expectations, law firms do not distinguish between interns and first- year junior associates. As a result, every intern should conduct themselves and go about their work the same way that a first-year associate does. To that end, an intern should (a) show eagerness to learn and professionalism; (b) have an optimistic outlook; (c) be keen to learn and soak up things quickly; (d) be confident in voicing their views and inputs; (e) be able to handle pressure and come up with practical and commercial alternatives; (f) never be afraid of taking responsibility; and (g) be active in seeking feedback.

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