An alumnus from our very own college, he is a talented individual who complements his work through sheer handwork and dedication. After spending a year in service to the Supreme Court of India, he is now pursuing his LLM from the prestigious King’s College in London.
Interviewed by Ghazal Bhootra
Could you give a brief introduction of yourself?
Hi, I am Samarth Jaidev from the NMIMS batch of 2020. After graduating, I worked as a Judicial Law Clerk with Justice Ramasubramanian in the Supreme Court of India. Since completing that, I’ve joined the Dickson Poon School of Law for my Masters. My pathway of choice leans towards intellectual property rights law.
What experiences during your five years of law school have been important for your career?
I would say that the most crucial skill I’ve learned from law school is grafting, and not academic grafting, grafting to make a system work in our college. I often consider that our batch and the senior batches functioned well together to get things going in our college. With utmost respect to the authorities, it was something that they were figuring out with us too. The process of understanding how to make things work as a college with the university that NMIMS is; was something that I learned and figured out. You have to be able to graft, adapt, and be confident enough to think on your feet. The camaraderie that we shared with our batch and the seniors helped me learn a lot about grafting, sheer determination, and to not think about something’s negative consequences before it has even been done. Sheer will, determination, and graft; NMIMS will give that to you in plenty, which helps you get comfortable with tougher circumstances that you’ll face in the future, during your career.
What made you choose judicial clerkship as a career option?
I’ve always been a person who has been interested in court litigation. I have a family background in the same. From the very start, I knew I wanted to do court practice, and my first internship was with a Judge at the Bombay High Court. To begin with, it was an eye-opening experience as I was clueless and didn’t have any prior experience. From that internship, I learned to view things from a neutral perspective, and to critically analyse the same, which really come in handy in your career. My final internship assignment was to write a judgment in full, which I believe was a great experience. It was nerve-wracking, but my Senior appreciated the end result.
This experience piqued my interest in court litigation. After that, I got into the rut of working part-time with college and I got to do that with lawyers and firms. I had always wanted an opportunity to work with a Judge again. So, when one of my seniors told me about this opportunity, I jumped right at it. With the pandemic, doing a Masters then wouldn’t have made sense anyway. If you stay close to a Judge, you get to think from their perspective. Today, when I see a criminal brief, I know a few things a judge would want for me to get his attention or to come to a common consensus while presenting an argument. In the Supreme Court, where you are only afforded little time on a miscellaneous day, you need to know exactly what to say. One-on-one experience to be told what you are required to say or not say was a hard, but priceless exercise. The idea behind doing a clerkship was to better myself as a lawyer, and I’ve certainly come far from what I was in college and when I left.
How far has your internship played a role in shaping you, and could you share your most important internship experience?
I adored the life of GLC students, who had the flexibility to work with college, but I did not like the fact that they lacked giving proper attention to the academic courses in college, and I wanted to balance both. With an institution like NMIMS, the academic standards are much higher. I would also like to specifically thank my faculty, who guided me through all my doubts and concerns to strike a balance through my academic and professional pursuits.
As a counsel practice aspirant, I enjoyed my internships under Mr. Rohaan Cama, Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud and Mr. Shyam Divan. They have been mentors to me and getting a chance to watch them closely upfront was priceless.
Throughout my college life, I was busy interning, which a lot of people find very hectic and a little too much, but I would say that it was very rewarding, and with the cutthroat situation in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, you need to be that prepared.
Do you believe that it is necessary to gain some work experience before pursuing L.L.M.?
Frankly, I’ve always thought that working through college would save me that time, and I would not have to go through that phase of confusion. I would still go with the idea that if you have clarity and are a headstrong person, having a lot of work experience is not going to change your drive to pursue further education. If you have decided on an LLM and you believe you have the relevant experience for the same through your internships, you do not need to hesitate pursuing it immediately after graduation. I have also noticed that once you’re in this professional rut, you become comfortable in the life and lifestyle. To leave all of that and then pursue further education is not an easy choice.
I would like to quote one of my seniors here, “Out of sight is out of mind.” Once you are there and you disappear for a year or two, it is not like there is a shortage of lawyers in the country, both on the corporate and the litigation side. If you are not there, there is going to be a second Samarth Jaidev, a second someone who is willing to jump on and make a mark. No one is going to be benevolent and sweet enough to wait till you’ve completed your masters and come back. It does not work that way. This was my thinking. So, it worked for me since I was working in Delhi and gaining experience first-hand while not losing anything in Mumbai. The people with whom I had familiarised myself knew my plan all along. Delhi followed by Masters and then returning to work worked out for me.
What experiences or internships have played a role in your admission for higher education, and what advice would you like to give your juniors who wish to score such admissions?
For the first part of the question, my mentors Mr Shyam Divan and Rohaan Cama (whom I modelled myself upon and who was also an alumnus there) and Dr Abhinav Chandrachud, played a great role. I have a history; my Uncle was also a King’s college graduate from its 1989 batch. For me, it has been something that I have deeply wanted since my childhood. It was a dream, and I was clear about it. In courts, you will find people completely anti-LLM people because they do not see the financial quotient making sense, and then you will find people who are strong advocates of getting the experience and developing flair. I have been lucky to have had Seniors who encouraged me to pursue my dream.
I am grateful to have had Seniors who wrote my references themselves, rather than relying on generic drafts. I was lucky in terms of getting support from my family, bosses, and the faculty at the college. All of them constituted strong support for me to be clear with my plans for the future.
If you want to go to the United States, the colleges there are very liberal. You need to have a balanced profile with equal proportions of academic and extra-curricular interests. You will be shocked to know how many Tier-1 colleges consider your applications there because they don’t base you entirely on academics. USA has some of the best colleges in the world. But, for me, it would not have been financially viable and was not an option I could pursue despite my interests.
If you are looking at the United Kingdom, bluntly, what matters is your academics. While professional experiences do add weight to an application, it cannot stand if the relevant grades aren’t there to support it. Based on your grades, you will have an idea of the expected college that you can get into. Colleges in England also pay attention to publications and papers you worked on. If that is the case, they might offset some of the grade requirements per se, but otherwise, you need to be a person with good grades, and that is what makes your profile. A tip from my end would be to work with an NGO, which would be a value addition in terms of community service, thus enhancing your chances. In your SOPs, writing a little bit about your social service experience goes a long way, as it enables them to look at you in a different light, as compared to just another person having a mark-sheet.
Other places like Europe more liberal in comparison to the UK. Singapore and Australia are great options too. So, my last piece of advice to you would be in terms of your masters: Know how much you are willing to pay, if your budget is more, and if you are willing to consider a job in the US, which (believe it or not) is a bit welcoming in terms of providing jobs.
What is crucial for you to know is your budget, subject, area, and whether you want to return to India or stay abroad. It is critical to know which college is good for which course as each college has its own flagship courses and modules. If you are someone who wants to pursue higher studies abroad, I would suggest that you start the admission process towards the end of your fourth year and be in a place to finish your IELTS by July or August because most of the colleges open up their process of accepting admissions from October-mid and have a rolling-basis admission system. Thus, the earlier you apply, the greater are your chances because of the higher number of openings. Apply earlier and your chances of getting in could be better. There are also certain scholarships programs that you could have a chance at if you apply earlier.
That is why I believe that starting at the end of your fourth year and thinking about it then is better. Your SOP will need time, and when you compare your first SOP to your most recent one, you will realise that your first application is not as good, but you will not know until you take the chance and apply. The entire process of knowing that you’re going to a foreign country, studying something different, and coming back with that tag is thoroughly exciting. If any student in NMIMS ever wants to reach out to me regarding the same, feel free to do so. I consider it as my responsibility towards NMIMS and my juniors. Having been through it for two years, I can say that I have a fairly good amount of knowledge to help my juniors with their college applications and other such on paper and off paper requirements to get into colleges. I’ll share my email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that you all can reach out to me with your doubts and queries. Not just for that, if you ever need help with litigation or court practice, you can mail me, and I’ll be happy to help you with it.