Pallav Palit is a Partner at Palit & Co., a full service law firm based in New Delhi focusing among others, on dispute resolution, tax, intellectual property, and insolvency and bankruptcy. He has over 8 years of experience in the legal sector including experience drawn from the top tier Indian law firm Khaitan & Co.
In this edited interview to Bar and Bench, Mr. Palit talks about his journey as a lawyer, the skill-sets required of a good litigator for practicing law and establishing a law-firm, qualities that one would need to secure an internship at law-firms including Palit & Co., and the pros and cons of a virtual internship.
How would you describe your law school experience? What is your most cherished memory from your time at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University (RMNLU)?
The time I spent in RMLNLU was perhaps the most delightful period of my life. Ours was the first batch selected via the common law admission test route, and we had a phenomenal mix of individuals coming from different parts of India. Knowing more about their lives and learning from their experiences, made the long five-year journey at RMNLU quite an enriching one.
Over the years, I have grown more convinced of my belief that one should not invest their time in law school to only mastering law subjects. That is a lifelong process in itself. Instead, one should focus on broadening their horizons and gaining a wide variety of experience. I consider my time at law school to have been quite adventurous, where I took every opportunity to travel, participate in competitions, participate in sports and gain work experience via many internships. All in all, it was an unforgettable time, to which I look back fondly.
As a first-generation lawyer what are the challenges that you faced while entering the legal profession and then as a founder of a new law firm? How did you overcome such challenges?
I feel that the challenges in the legal profession are not so different from other professions. The scarcity of jobs continues to be a challenge, but unfortunately that is the case with every industry in India. Having family and connections in the legal industry obviously confer certain advantages to newcomers in the field, especially during the initial stages.
However, if one manages to secure a decent opportunity, it then is completely up to the individual to take advantage of such opportunity and create their own destiny. Traits like constant pursuit of knowledge, a never say die attitude and resourcefulness, can never go unnoticed and one will then undoubtedly achieve success as long as one sticks to these ideals.
Starting your own law firm will always seem like a tough decision. I have seen several friends and colleagues wanting to quit and start on their own but always debating the right time to do so. It is a common conundrum. However, if you have an innate love for entrepreneurship and ache for independence, you will take the plunge sooner rather than later. Establishing a new firm with a young team, can be challenging and so can winning trust of clients and establishing the firm's ability to handle complex and high stakes work. All of this takes time and patience, as clients would seldom assign their most important work to a new law firm. Initially you start off with smaller assignments, which then become stepping stones to bigger value deals after you are able to prove the quality of your client service.
As a firm, I feel that we have been able to build that trust, which has led us to gain recognition and credibility. In short, the key has always been to act with integrity and to keep a positive approach.
Please could you elaborate on the work done by the dispute resolution team of Palit & Co.?
We represent clients from diverse sectors on a wide spectrum of disputes before all forums. We regularly collaborate with clients from the pre-litigation stage itself to help clients, identify the strengths and weaknesses of the case, and advice clients on the best strategy going forward. Predominantly, we support companies and businesses with disputes and issues arising from commercial contracts, wrongful actions by governmental and administrative authorities, intellectual property infringement and counterfeiting, arbitration and litigation claims in relation to engineering, procurement and construction projects, claims arising out of tax issues, white collar crimes, insolvency and bankruptcy, and media and entertainment laws.
What are the skills you look for while hiring juniors? In general, do you have any tips for the students to secure a job within the dispute resolution team of a law firm including Palit & Co.?
I like lawyers who can think out of the box, are relentless in their approach and have a passion to keep learning. A litigating lawyer must be completely dedicated to the brief. Being intelligent is not always enough. It takes tireless efforts to put up a strong watertight case. Long nights and early mornings are usual. Putting in the extra effort in the initial years is essential in gathering the required skill-sets and developing the right mindset and approach. I admire and respect junior lawyers, who understand this basic feature of legal practice quickly.
The aforesaid qualities in any lawyer would qualify him or her, as a deserving candidate at our firm as well as other law firms.
What is your opinion on online internships vis-à-vis an in-person internship? Is Palit & Co. currently offering any online internships? If yes, how can students apply for such internships?
Post Covid-19, I noticed that students quickly realized the unique possibilities which a virtual office offers and requests for online internships have been flooding in. We have followed suit and have been offering around four to five internship positions each month.
Virtual interactions cannot replace the in-person working experience, where one gets the chance to see all aspects of the workings of a law office first hand. Nevertheless, unlike before, students now have the advantage of being able to pursue internships not only during vacation period, but also alongside their regular college curriculum. This has enabled students to receive much more practical exposure than before. We have tried to customise our internship programmes to suit academic schedules of each intern and the work delivery timelines, discussions, etc., have been kept flexible. However, despite the virtual internships one does, students must continue to do in-office internships during vacations as they would pre-Covid 19.
Anyone interested in working with us may send a copy of their resume with a small note about themselves including their interests and hobbies etc. to email@example.com. Add in something interesting which catches our eye that compels us to want to know more about you. Then we will surely get in touch.
This interview was conducted by Campus Ambassador, Gyanda Kakar.