Interview: Mr. Hrishav Kumar, Associate at IndusLaw, New Delhi on Securing PPO & Call Back Internships

Interview: Mr. Hrishav Kumar, Associate at IndusLaw, New Delhi on Securing PPO & Call Back Internships

Sir, Please Introduce yourself!

I am Hrishav Kumar, I originally hail from Bihar, but I was born and brought up in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. I did my schooling at Kerala Samajam Model School and graduated in 2016. In 2017 I cleared CLAT and moved to NUSRL, Ranchi to pursue my bachelor’s degree (B.A LL.B (Hons.))  and I graduated from law school in 2022.  I am currently working as an Associate at IndusLaw, New Delhi with the Competition Law Team.

How did you decide to pursue law as a career? Are you a 1st Gen Lawyer?

I am not a 1st Generation Lawyer as my father is a litigation lawyer at Jamshedpur Civil Court, which is also one of the prime reasons why I chose law as a career. Although I was never 100% sure about pursuing law but growing up, I saw my father handling a variety of cases and earning respect from people and that always fascinated me to pursue law. Also, there’s a funny side to it, as a child I got to hear a lot from family members and friends that “you argue a lot and you’ll do good as a lawyer” which is funny but somehow it got stuck in my mind.

What do you enjoy most about your career? What is most enjoyable about working in the Competition Law Field?

I feel it is an exciting time to be a Competition lawyer in India. The world has witnessed a wave of digitization and as such the growth of the digital sector has presented a unique set of challenges for Competition authorities around the world, including the Competition Commission of India. A new Competition Amendment Bill is expected to be released soon and as such the existing framework might go through a lot of changes. Thus, as a Competition lawyer, it will also be a challenge for all of us to quickly acclimatize to the changes. Further, Competition law offers a variety of work. There’s the litigation side to it, i.e., the enforcement part, and also the transactional side, i.e., merger control. 

How did you find your niche in Competition Law and What factors drove you to pursue your career further as an Antitrust Attorney?

I still remember I was in the 2nd semester of my law school when I did a moot court competition, wherein the moot prop was based on Competition law and it was then when I developed an interest in Competition law. Thereon, I started reading a lot about Competition law and wrote a lot of papers on Competition law related topics. That’s how I found my niche in Competition law and I realized I want to be an Antitrust Attorney. Further, I really liked Economics back in school, and Competition law’s nexus with Economics is another factor that got me interested in Competition law.

What is a typical day at work like for you? What kind of hours do you normally work?

Right now, I am relatively new in the firm so I am still trying to figure out what a typical day at work would be like but having said that, the work hours depend upon the amount of work as somedays there’s a lot of work and somedays there isn’t much work but having said that 8 hours is the bare minimum which one has to put in and I think that goes for most of the law firms.

Who are the clients/customers for this industry and what are their problems/what types of matters do you generally deal with?

There are clients from almost all sectors in this industry be it the small and medium level players or big marquee players. Lately, the Competition authorities around the world, including the Competition Commission of India are looking forward to regulating the digital sector and as such a lot of companies operating in the digital sector might come under the radar of the Competition Commission of India.

You are also a Co-Founder of a Venture “Caim Consulting”, could you tell us about your venture?

Caim Consulting is the brainchild of 4 of us. We started Caim Consulting as a non-profit initiative with an aim to deliver cost-free legal assistance to start-ups, innovations, and businesses, especially those in the early phase of their business initiative. At Caim, we provide a wide variety of services such as the incorporation of business, protection, and registration of intellectual property, legal research & info, etc. It has been a great learning experience, working at Caim where we learned how to deal with different clients, counsel them and resolve their problems. We also got to learn and discover new areas of law.

You received Call Back Internships with 3 Tier 1 Law firms Trilegal, Nishith Desai Associates & IndusLaw, what would you like to suggest to aspiring corporate lawyers who wish to join T1 Law firms in near future to secure callback Internships? What are the do’s & don’ts? Or how one should move on to fetch a call-back internship as you managed to secure 3 call-back internships?

I feel that the formula for getting a call back is really simple, you have to be sincere, you have to be dedicated, and no matter how much amount of work you get, be it on a daily basis or weekly basis, the focus should be on doing your work diligently and providing quality and on time deliverables at internships, and it will do the work for you. You will have to take responsibility for your work and pride in it, at the same time it is important to keep in mind that you are working for the client and not for the firm. What I am seeing these days is a lot of students start panicking if they don’t get a lot of work and they feel that they might not get a callback or assessment which is not true. Even if you are getting 1 or 2 tasks in the entire internship period and you do your work diligently and sincerely, that’s going to do the trick for you, because people who are giving you the work have years of experience with them and know how to assess your caliber, they know whether you are good enough or not. So, if you are putting in your best efforts that will be appreciated and you will get a callback or assessment internship. Moreover, a lot of callbacks are given keeping in mind the vacancies, so if you are putting your best efforts and not getting a callback or assessment just keep on trying at different places, and sooner or later you will attain your goal.

Can you share a glimpse of your PPO journey at IndusLaw, how you managed to secure a PPO and what the technicalities involved in getting a PPO @ IndusLaw?

I first interned at IndusLaw in February 2021and I was really lucky to have a good mentor, even during my 1st internship as well as the assessment internship, people were really helpful, they taught me a lot and I learned a lot about the technicalities of Competition law and got the glimpse at the practical side of it which was really helpful for me and, fortunately, people liked my work and I received an assessment internship. Thereon, I received good reviews for my work and luckily IndusLaw had a vacancy and I received a PPO from the firm. While I didn’t go through an Interview for my PPO, I can share the experience of my friends who appeared for an interview. The people taking your interview are aware of the fact that you have worked well and that’s why you’ve got so far. As such, many a time these days people don’t bother asking technical questions. They focus on getting to know more about you, and what kind of person you are, and they tell you about the policy of the firm and what is expected out of you. However, the manner of the interview varies from team to team and firm to firm. There is no straightjacket formula for securing a PPO, the key is to know the basics of the practice area you want to build your career in.

From which year in your law school, did you start to build a Competition Law centric CV and what would you suggest to law students to work on their CV for building expertise in any of the niches of their own choice?

As I mentioned earlier, I developed an interest in Competition Law while doing my first moot in 2nd semester but till my 3rd year, I explored various areas of law including competition law, tax, and dispute resolution. I interned at various law firms and chambers to discover my niche. In my 3rd year, I was sure that I want to pursue my career as a Competition law attorney. What I would suggest to law students is to first try and explore different areas of law and then, later on, decide about the particular area you would want to build your career in. If you feel demotivated about not being able to secure an internship in a particular area of law, then try your hands at other available options as you never know when you will develop an interest in other areas of law. To the students who are in the 1st & 2nd year of law school, my suggestion for you is to relax and try to enjoy your life as a law student as much as you can. Having said that, try your hands at everything you can initially be it moots, research papers, MUNs, or, parliamentary debates. As such, by the time you are in your 3rd & 4th Years, you will be able to figure out the area of law you want to build your career in.

What are the skills required by an Intern at Law Firm to perform at an Internship at T1/T2 law firms considering that they are looking for PPO offers?

As I said earlier, you must be dedicated, you must be sincere, you must be open to new challenges, and you have to be open to learning new things. You have to be a good and quick learner because when you go to the law firms then you have to keep in mind that there are people in the firm who have high stakes on them, that’s their bread and butter and you cannot expect them to teach you the basics. Having said that, I have been lucky wherever I have interned as I found really good seniors who would tell me how to proceed on a particular task and whenever I had any doubts, they were there to clear my doubts. So, while people there will surely help you out, you have to do your homework as well.  Interns have to take accountability when they go to law firms or any place. As is said, you must own up to your work, and take pride in it, you must be accountable. Because ultimately you are not going to a school or a college, but you are going to a workplace and the people there are not teachers or professors but working professionals.

During your law school days, what were you more inclined to mooting or publications, and how does it help you in fetching PPO?

Initially, I was inclined towards mooting like most of the law students I really enjoyed doing moots. I did 1 national moot and 1 intra moot but after that, I started focusing more on writing papers. After the third year, I published a lot of papers and articles, including  over15+ papers and articles on international forums like Oxford Business Law Blog, Kluwer Competition Law Blog, Competition Policy International, etc. Writing for such reputed forums helped me enhance my research and drafting skills and also helped me a lot in securing internships and PPO.

How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field? What would you suggest to those students who do not have good grades and how can they manage that? How could they secure a job at Tier 1 law firms considering that T1 firms are picky?

Having good grades is always helpful, it’s never bad having good grades, the primary focus of any student should be on securing good grades because having good grades on your CV is an indication of your sincerity and it is always a benefit. When you have good grades, you even feel good about yourself. Having said that, unfortunately, I have been someone who didn’t have good grades in law school, and not having good grades is not the end of the road as good grades are not everything. I have even seen people who had wonderful grades but couldn’t perform well at their internships and were unable to get the job offers they always wanted. At law school, you learn the theory aspect of law but interning at law firms or chambers is a different ball game altogether as you get to know and see the practical side of law and which is totally different from what you learn at law school. I compensated for my grades by writing lots of papers, reading, and, researching the area of law I was interested in. When it comes to securing a job, I feel you have to be smart about it and focus on learning and experiencing the practical aspects of law through internships. However, as a student, one should always try and secure good grades but then if that doesn’t happen then don’t get disheartened about it because that’s not the end of the journey.

Your suggestion for law students on how they can excel in law school.

For excelling at law school, I would suggest them to try their hands at everything and figure out what suits them the best and enjoy a lot. Try doing moots, try writing papers as it will help you to enhance your personality, skills as well as your CV.

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