Mr. Samriddha Gooptu is an Associate with the Competition Team at Trilegal headed by Ms. Nisha Kaur Uberoi. Mr. Gooptu is an alumnus of Amity Law School, Noida. We had the privilege to have a conversation with him about his journey of law.
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Can you tell our readers about your journey of law?
I hail from Kolkata and have done my schooling from Don Bosco School, Park Circus, Kolkata. I have completed my B.A.LLB.(Hons) from Amity Law School, Noida. While pursuing law, I was not particularly inclined towards just getting good grades but preferred participating in Moot Court competitions, client counselling competitions, writing research papers, interning at law firms and spending quality time on music, research papers, and interning at law firms primarily.
What made you choose Corporate Firm over Litigation, even though you had a great inclination towards Moot Court Competitions?
I was more focused towards the corporate side of law since my initial days at law school. and as such I wanted to be a corporate lawyer. Further, I have a few cousins who are into corporate law and have been my role model. It is not like I did not consider litigation, but it’s just that I felt more inclined towards corporate law. At law school I did enjoy studying Law of Evidence but at the end of the day it is not just the subject you study, you have to make sure, you lovethe subject as a subject and the practicality of it as well, and that’s exactly where I feel Competition law clicked for me.
Sir, you started as an Intern at Trilegal, and then you achieved the position of Associate. Can you share the journey from an intern to an Associate?
I did my first internship with Trilegal in June 2019. I was primarily working with the General Corporate team and I discussed my preference of doing tasks related to Competition law with them, and the team was really helpful in guiding me to get competition law related work from the competition team. They ensured that I could assist both the General Corporate Team and the Competition Team. Both the teams were very cooperative, which made me balance the tasks allotted from two different teams at the same time. Later on, I secured a call back from Trilegal. After the callback, I worked with Trilegal in February 2020 primarily on issues pertaining to individual liability under the Competition Act, 2002 and on laws / regulations pertaining to the leniency regime under competition law in India. I must say that I have been lucky enough to work on the same matter as an Intern and now as an Associate.
Can you share with our readers, how can one improve their research skills?
Research I believe requires a lot of patience. You won’t find everything you need easily. Sometimes research takes hours and sometimes it does get boring/tedious. The best thing is to “restart.” Refresh your mind, see which all keywords you have used till now and what all research platforms you have gone through, and then try some different permutations and combinations until you gradually arrive at what you’re actually looking for. Sometimes, you need to refer to pari materia provisions of alternate legislations to look for cases that might be applicable to the matter at hand. For example, if I want to search for cases pertaining to Section 48 of the Competition Act, I may not find too many case laws because the subject of competition law is quite nascent in India, , so here you might have to refer to a second or a third law which could help you in your research in relation to a pari materia provision. Another thing is that, we have platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn, where, by using the correct keywords, you may find circular or notifications which ordinarily you may face difficulty in finding via the traditional modes of research. This was helpful, while I was interning at Trilegal in June 2019. All of us were looking for a circular but no one was being able to find it because it was not available on the official government website. Then I referred to LinkedIn and many such portals but in the end, I found the circular on the Twitter page of the concerned ministry.
So, one needs to mould according to developing technology, think beyond, and use the correct keywords in the research.
How did you narrow down to selecting Competition Law as your area of practice?
I studied Economics from classes 9 to 12 and I was amazed by the concepts relating to how the market functions, demand, supply and market dynamics on the whole. After 12th, I started liking law, and then I thought about what could be the best possible combination of Economics and Law. From there, I found my interest in Competition Law. Moreover, the faculty teaching Competition Law in our law school was really commendable, she made us read judgments, orders, etc. While reading the order you’ll realize how the market forces operate and how the competition regulator tends to look at a particular market. I wrote research papers, articles, participated in Moots, etc., pertaining to Competition law to enhance my interest in this field. No one falls in love with a subject one fine day, you need to read it, work on the practical side of it, and then finally opt for it as a profession.
Is selecting a specific area of practice for fresher’s recommended?
One needs to have a background about all the laws that are there. By loving one subject or a particular sphere of law you cannot neglect the other laws. You never know which field of law makes you think differently. For example, when we work on enforcement matters in competition law, we refer to many legislations like Law of Evidence, CPC etc. So, if you select one specific subject you tend to read more about that law but you need to have a hold of the other laws as well, at least the basics. In practice, though I’m pursuing competition law, I cannot be like I will only know about competition law, and should not bother about other laws. One must be always aware of the recent and upcoming laws, as you never know which market you might be dealing with tomorrow, Therefore, one must always be aware of other laws as well.
Many students face problems while applying to Tier 1 or Tier 2 firms. Can you give certain suggestions concerning the same?
One must structure their CV and the cover letter in a very crisp, short, and to the point manner. You can not share the same CV with a law firm and a practicing advocate because what you aim to learn from a law firm and that from a practicing advocate may not necessarily be the same. For example, if I need to do an internship based on Competition Law, I will structure my CV in such a way that the person who reads my CV gets an insight into my interest as well as my prior accomplishments in the same field. Secondly, I think one must never hesitate to reach out to people. Sometimes you may have the merit but you may miss out owing to some technicality. For example, , 10 people, reach out to a partner of a reputed law firm on LinkedIn on a daily basis, you never know maybe one of them does get a chance to do an internship basis the merit such partner sees in the CV concerned. Therefore, never hesitate to reach out to people politely.
Corporate law is related to long working hours. What is your take on the contention?
The first few years are full of struggle, no matter what field of law you end up choosing. . In corporate firms, yes the working hours are long but the nature of work makes the difference. For a person like me, I don’t mind long working hours, basis the work I like to do. Corporate life is tough but it teaches you a lot. It makes you go through the hardship of long working hours, but it grooms you. The fun college days do get over once you start working in a field you like, so the nature of fun changes accordingly
Do you think corporate law is the new escape for first-generation lawyers?
The answer to that I feel is a Yes and a No. If you opt for corporate law without even analyzing or liking the nature of work, that will pose a negative impact. One must read all the laws and keep his/her mind open and basis their liking and area of interest select a path for themselves.
What are the skills that you look forward to in the person willing to work with you?
A person who wants to learn. I won’t mind working with a person having zero knowledge on a particular subject manner but is willing to learn, compared to a person with the ‘know it all mentality.’ Everyone, including me, learns new things each day, at times from the mistakes as well. For the smallest of the querries I have, my team at Trilegal is there to back me up. I am a fresher myself, and have made mistakes myself, but I always end up learning something new everyday. It is crucial to analyze what you want to learn and what you need to learn. The urge to ‘learn’ remains primary.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to the readers of LegalReadings?
Firstly, read a lot. Don’t just do a plain reading, try to implement what you read in your practical life (even though hypothetically). Secondly, Law school is not a place where you just mug up things, have fun but when it’s time to work you must work diligently. You can have fun in 9 out of the 12 months in law school, but those 2 to 3 months each year that you are allocated to intern, take them very seriously, because that is exactly where you tend to learn things and understand how to apply the law in practice.