INTERVIEW WITH MS. SOUMYA SHEKHAR, INDEPENDENT LEGAL RESEARCH PROFESSIONAL BY KATCHERI.IN

Q1. How would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello, I am Soumya, a legal research enthusiast. I passed out from National Law University, Delhi and joined Luthra & Luthra Law offices. After 2 years of working there, I went on to do my Masters in Corporate and Financial Services Law from National University of Singapore. I received the Faculty Graduate Scholarship from National University of Singapore to pursue my Masters. After a few years of working in law firms and as an in-house counsel, I decided to venture into legal research consultancy. In 2018, I started offering legal research services and have been continuing with that since then. I am also a teaching enthusiast and have started my YouTube channel in order to educate law students. I also run a mentorship programme, wherein I take around 5-10 students for a period of two months and mentor them in research and writing skills.

Q2. What inclined you towards legal services?

I have always been a person who loves to interpret words. Law gives me that scope. Moreover, the immense opportunities to use my analytical skills also drew me towards law. As a 17-year-old, I got hold of a Law of Torts book. It fascinated me so much, that I decided that law is my calling.

Q3. What were your areas of interest while you were in law school?

The first 2 years of law school were all about criminal law. As I entered third year, I started getting more and more interested in IPR, especially trademarks. However, during the last two years of law school, which are the most important, my interest piqued in corporate and securities law. I was always interested in mergers and acquisitions law and securities-related laws.

Q4. How did you go about developing expertise and knowledge in these areas?

I chose the hard way. I decided to present papers in these areas. Writing a paper, makes you go deep into these issues. It is not only superficial research but also a deep-dive understanding of its dynamics and mechanics. Apart from that, I would suggest, keep your concept and basics clear. Read the bare Act. These days blogs are also an immense source of knowledge and understanding.

Q5. What were the biggest hurdles and challenges that you faced in early days of your career? How did you overcome them?

There is a huge gap in the theoretical learning in law schools and the practical way in which work is done. I started in the field of employment law. I did not know such a field existed. I did not know what is a due diligence. Learning the practical side, took some effort and posed a significant challenge.

Q6. Please tell us something about your experiences at National University of Singapore?

My experience at NUS was very meaningful in bringing me to where I am today. The academic culture there is very different from Indian law schools. The amount of thinking which goes in to the curriculum is praiseworthy. I learnt a lot and honed my research and writing skills and developed an analytical bent of mind.

Q7. What can help a student get through the application process at the National University of Singapore?

Develop your CV focussed towards the area you want to specialise in. Write research papers, participate in moots, be part of extra-curricular projects. While writing your SOP, try to develop it as a story. Unravel your life journey in the same. Tell them what inspired you to become a lawyer, tell them how would their college help you enhance your skills and how would you add value to their college.

Q8. How was your job interview at Indus law firm? Please give our readers some tips to nail a law firm interview.

A law firm interview is typically focussed on the CV of the candidate. Prepare your CV well. Know what you have written in your CV. If you don’t know something accept. Know the concepts and basics before you go for an interview.

Q9. Please share a bit about your experience in Indus law firm and Trilegal?

These places helped me develop the perspective which I was lacking. They helped me develop holistically. It was a wonderful learning experience.

Q10. How did you become a legal research professional? What are the skills required for it?

It was a gradual process of self-realisation, wherein I realised that my true calling is legal research and writing. I decided to give up my lucrative job and venture into an independent role. For two years, I have handled a varied portfolio of clients ranging from law firms to legal startups, universities, edtech platforms etc. I have also rendered my services to international organisations and individuals. Recently, I started my YouTube channel and a mentorship programme, in order to fulfil my interest in teaching. If you want to develop your legal research skills then learn to read, understand and interpret the content. Learn to analyse everything you read and critique the same. Follow a structure and do a structured research. While writing, focus on the flow and the target audience. Avoid using fancy words. Focus on concepts in order to have your basics strong.

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