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A famous lawyer as father is like a rebuttable presumption, says Abhishek Manu Singhvi

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if it’s law you’re talking about I don’tthink there is any direct attraction tolaw but I think it’s always theomnipresent omniscient sight sound smellof law if you are from a family oflawyers which makes a difference in thatcategory in my case I never thought oflaw I think consciously definitely atleast not till school living andpossibly not even till my undergraduatein economics certainly in school it wasall other things which interested oneone was always trying to be very muchfocused on the homework or the work ofthe day why did you do your schooling sosorry Saint Columbus okay all my elevenyears and I will be a good student infact I always joked that the best yearsof my lifeacademically have been in school becauseeverything after that has been downhillI stood first in India since you can’tdo better than that early I subsequentlyhas been done it but those days law wasnot thought about him school of the tortsubjects so there was very distant inour minds but certainly you saw

I saw myfather getting dressed and going tocourtI had the books of loll around me Igrandfather was a lawyer so that doesmake a difference so somewhere in thesubconscious it is there but just toenter near question ultimately I thinkthere was absolutely no pressure in mycase at all in fact it was a antipressure in at all to join law nobodyforced me to it happens by a process ofelimination you think a time that youdid not do what your father is doing youexamine other options then you end up bya process of elimination and it’s thesame with my two sons where I have atleast scrupulously avoided but by aprocess of elimination one is the Lordand the other is studying law but whereexactly did you do your law from so Ihad a somewhat peculiar trajectorybecause I did my school in st. Columba’sI did my BA in economics honors from st.Stephen’s and while

I was in StevensI got admission into Trinity CollegeCambridge but there is a gap of timebefore which the admissions come and theterm there starts so in meanwhile I alsodo on the lawdenne for about two months but wentstraight from there to trinity cambridgeand then i stayed on there and did myundergrad and then my PhD also fromthere and came back after about six anda half four years that must have been aa fairly defining phase in your lifewhen you were abroad in college on acampus and then going from being anundergrad to being a post grad and thenyes I was always a good student soMarilla thought that I would change muchbut while be a good student

I remained acomplete introvert right through myschool I remained broadly introvert evenin a outgoing vibrant college like st.Stephen’s the defining moment clearlywas that one became more outgoing whenwe went abroad partly question ofsurvival partly because we were strangecontext and a strange climate butcertainly I found that I became moreconfident and more extrovert after mystart at Cambridge what were the optionsthose days abroad as opposed to an Indialike today more and more students preferstaying abroad because you can teach youcan work in law firms there so what madeyou come back to India in my case it wasalways a fixed time immigration I neverin my mind thought that I’d stay there Ithink it’s just the way I think the wayI looked at things in fact during my PhDI also taught the st. John’s CollegeCambridge to supplement my income and toyou know keep my footing in academics soI could easily state that I was alsodoing my dining terms at you know atLincoln’s Inn so there was a reason tostay there but the moment I finished PhDI didn’t have a second thought

I’dalways intend to come back and I cameback how has it been being the son ofsuch an eminent lawyer do you think lifehas been tougher or easier for you it’sclearly both I think it’s not correct tosay that you have born with a silverspoon and you progress with the Platinumsystem clearly it gives you an edge inthe initial years clearly it gives you apush it gives you a back up andinfrastructure you have a library have acertain amount of resources alldefinitely pluses but this is a veryunforgiving profession and very early onif you do not work hard enough andunable to prove yourself in a few casesthe system rejects you so I think thefair thing to say is that there is ainitial push like a rebuttablepresumption in your favor but you haveto make sure that is not about it wasn’ta big leap when you come back afterdoing your PhD was it a big leap to comeback to India and then start completelyafresh with the system you probably notbeen familiar for a while as

I said is alittle peculiar trajectory because one Ihad this always this great fear of theunknownbecause technically I hadn’t studied theNativity of Indian law so there wasalways that feeling which was misplacedas I learned soon because it’s really avocational profession we learn on thejob but you had that theoretical fearsecondly I had done what 99% of personsincluding my father who was a doctorateI am from Harvard and a doctor fromCornell this really were from doing hesaid people don’t do PhDs in law and notnecessary as you get into practice socuriously it was my mother who said thatyou know if you are interested in thingsyou should still have to do it later onyou won’t get time so in those years andin Cambridge 50% of those who join aph.d program don’t complete it of thebalance 50% to do statistically theytake 6 to 7 years to do it so there’salways a fear of the unknown there aswell that you’re wasting a time thecolleagues are getting ahead and thereis no real direct tangible nexus betweena PhD and success in the profession sothat’s very lonely for

I was lucky toget my PhD in three now three years plusbut there was clearly a great amount ofapprehension and the third set ofapprehension set in soon after I camehere because I was looking around for asenior and barring one or two chambers Ifound that there are very few systemshere which actually encouraged a juniorsenior relationship so if you changechambers to join after and the few whichwere available were clogged up or fullwith names I’ll not takenow that they were full up so I decidedto be with my father for about a yearand a half and then I have been on myown and those first years the fourthmajor problem I felt was that daily inparticular unlike Mumbai and Calcuttahad no slot for the intermediate comesin at all you would have people whowould come and be happy with yourdrafting and your hard work and the factthat it would put a point across butthey would say that you either had to bethere beside of the senior or you had tobe the advocate on record with localOptima the only reason

I went intocouncil work was with a very genuinetremendous fear among this village Ihave to this day of procedure I’m alwaysscared about not doing firing process intime and being caught by the client orforgetting a date so for that reason Inever went into the on record localoptima field and that was a verydifficult period for four or five yearswhen you had some good work and goodplans we couldn’t hold either you had toyou know the time fathers either seniorif he was paying for one or there wasthe air-cool decor why should you payfor an extra chap in the middle who’slike a Stephanie do you think thatsystem has somewhat changedsubstantially over the years the four ofus I think in particular who worked ourway through the high court on thisfashion and then the Supreme Court butthey were not more than three or fourpeople at that time but

now it isdefinitely much much easier there’s agreater appreciation awareness of aperson who assists a senior counselthere is a greater willingness to aftera certain degree of seniority to brief aperson who may not be a senior and Ithink also with a great amount of trustI think in those days dele I’m probablyparticular in Delhi where there’s notradition being a district court as lateas 1966 they did not have a tradition ofthis kind so the practice was based onthe principle of distrust that if youwere intermediate counsels walk awaywith the a good records client I thinkthat has changedand you see the result very very manygood young people who are progressing inthat intermediate stageEnglish (auto-generated)

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