Perseverance is key: Adab Singh Kapoor on being a first-generation lawyer

Perseverance is key: Adab Singh Kapoor on being a first-generation lawyer
Adab Singh Kapoor

Adab Singh Kapoor & Associates is a litigation and corporate advisory law firm based in Delhi. Their practice extends across diverse areas of law in various forums and jurisdictions.

The firm's founder, Adab Singh Kapoor worked as an associate in Paras Kuhad & Associates for 2 years and then as an associate in DSK Legal for a brief period before branching off on his own.

In this interview with Campus Ambassador Vishal Sharma, Adab discusses his decision to go independent, the skills that are vital for a litigation counsel, and a lot more.

Before you’d started your own law firm you had worked for a brief stint with law firms, how were your initial years ?

I had worked with Paras Kuhad & Associates, New Delhi for approximately two years and had a brief stint with DSK Legal, New Delhi, before staring my own firm, Adab Singh Kapoor and Associates in 2011. My time at Paras Kuhad & Associates is memorable for several reasons.

For one, even though I was new to the profession, I was given the opportunity to argue before various forums including the Supreme Court. As such, I was exposed to the realities of litigation early in my career and the same has stood me in good stead ever since.

I was also introduced to the grind of long work hours and left to grapple with the daunting and complex procedures (as it seemed then) involved in drafting and filing cases before various courts and tribunals.

The fact of the matter is, it is because of such exposure, that I have been confident enough to start my own firm and practice, and face all the practical, unprecedented challenges that have come my way during this process. I have never looked back and regretted my decision of starting my own practice, at an early age, despite being a first-generation lawyer.

What is that one skill or trait one must possess while starting their career in litigation?

Perseverance is one of the key traits which is required in litigation. A client reposes a lot of faith in the advocate and an advocate should never shy from passionately propounding the cause of the client, especially when the going gets tough.

Even if unsuccessful in an attempt or two, the advocate should persevere to get the best possible solution for the client in the given facts and circumstances of the case.

In certain cases, when the results may not be entirely favourable to my client, instead of being disheartened, I have come up with alternative and creative courses of action to yield the desired outcome. I have also represented my client from the trial court right up to the Supreme Court, in order to passionately espouse the cause of my client. I believe that this is possible only when one possesses the spirit of perseverance.

What is that one subject of law or area you find to be the most interesting?

Family law.

Apart from marriage, adoption, guardianship, divorce, maintenance, partition, succession, inheritance, the practice in Family Law, often involves the interplay of various other fields of law including criminal and commercial.

Family Law gets more challenging and interesting in the case of inter-country dispute resolution between family members. I am also pursuing my PhD currently, where my thesis revolves on the topic of striking a balance between genders as far as maintenance laws are concerned.

Since you’re a Company Secretary yourself, how far is it helpful and how in-sync does it go with the profession of law?

The qualification of company secretary helps in the practice of commercial law or in understanding commercial aspects, while handling other areas of law. Understanding the commercials of the client’s business transaction helps better while representing the client.

How difficult was the transition from a law student to actually working in the field of law?

Law school provides several practical methods of training such as moot courts, mock trials, client counselling etc. However, court craft is an art and is often learned on the job. Moreover, sound understanding of the procedural aspects of legal practice, often help in obtaining favourable orders for the client.

Court craft and mastery over the procedural laws, comes with time, and a law student, may initially find it difficult to grapple with it. However, on the bright side, if the law graduate perseveres, court craft and procedures, become an ally sooner than later.

The question on which every law student debate is, since you’re from a Non-NLU college, do you think there is disparity between an NLU graduate and a Non-NLU graduate?

I do not think that the institute makes a lot of difference as long as one is confident in one’s abilities, has identified one’s calling and is working in a field of law which one is passionate about.

One must determine exactly what one wants and pursue that goal with focus and dedication. It is one’s passion that is the driving force and will propel one towards achieving one’s goals and help in carving a niche for oneself in one’s area of specialisation.

How does the process of digitisation affect your practice?

The current COVID 19 pandemic has posed a lot of challenges which initially seemed rather overwhelming; however, I also felt that, in some ways, it has been a blessing in disguise.

The lockdown gave me the opportunity I was looking for, to guide my firm through the transition from a completely manual system to an entirely digital mode of functioning. Our files are now organised on a cloud system.

We have software for live collaboration so that multiple associates can simultaneously and conjointly work on legal drafts and documents. Our data backups are safe and protected and there is a much lesser risk of losing documents as they are no longer in hardcopies.

These processes save immense amounts of time, effort and money.

We are also able to do our bit towards the environment by saving a considerable amount of paper. We have started arguing all the matters, through scanned soft copies of the files stored on our laptops, across all the forums/courts/tribunals.

It is a welcome surprise to see how even the courts in Delhi and across India have adjusted so smoothly to a digital mode of functioning, which complements our own digital facilities in the office.

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