Dr. Swati Bajaj is an Assistant Professor at Amity Law School, Delhi (Affiliated to GGSIP University). In this interview conducted by Campus Ambassador the professor talks about her own master's in corporate law, the art of teaching a lot more.
What subject(s) of law do you specialize in, and what prompted you to pursue that field?
I have done my LL.M. in corporate law and my Ph.D. in Competition Law. In my teaching experience, I have always taught subjects like company law, Investment and competition law, banking and insurance law, income tax, international trade law, international commercial law, and the likes.
While pursing LL.M. I harbored an interest in competition law, maybe because I always liked economics and I found both the subjects to be of a similar nature. I also pursued my interest in the same field by interning at the Competition Commission of India (CCI) in 2013 and then I working there as a Research Associate for 2 years before joining Amity.
In other subjects like tax and banking, my interest grew out of curiosity. I always wanted to fill my own Income Tax Returns or to control all my bank related activities since the day I started earning. This curiosity prompted me to understand the law related to these subjects more thoroughly.
What encouraged you to become an educator in the field of law?
I believe I always had the potential to teach. I used to teach my friends while pursuing B.A. LL.B. also. But what encouraged me to choose this profession for myself is the belief that if a teacher wants, they can change many things. In our country the educational system is like a bull’s eye.
Most of the learning is undertaken to clear exams and obtain degrees. I have seen students who studied only to get passing marks in exams and get their degrees and then suitable jobs. What I feel is that education cannot be found in books or over the internet.
I believe teaching is an art which can give students both theoretical and practical experience at the same time. A teacher with potential can build futures. I found this profession to be more challenging than others if performed honestly and fairly. This profession requires originality. When you are honest to who you are, then only can you succeed; when you try to copy others, you lose your own identity.
My first job as an educator was at Chandraprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies & School of Law and the overwhelming response I received from my students encouraged me to remain in this profession. I still receive calls and messages from my students. They call me to discuss their problems and to take advice. I think this respect is what every teacher wants from their students and I did receive that. So, this encouraged me to work harder for my students. When someone shows their blind trust on you, it becomes your erstwhile accountability to win them.
Also, one important reason why I am in this field is my husband who has always encouraged me to do more in this profession.
How has Amity Law School, Delhi adapted to the virtual setup of teaching during the COVID-19 lockdown?
COVID 19 is, I believe, a hammer which has knocked down almost everything. Every institution and sector has tried to save itself from the raging pandemic and willingly or unwillingly adapted to a new normal to sustain itself. Be it litigation or office work or teaching, digitalization has played a vital role in saving businesses, jobs, education, etc.
It has been difficult for many. For parents, for school children, for everyone who has never been so comfortable with mobiles, laptops, teaching in front of cameras, etc. In the same line, Amity Law School, Delhi also choose to adapt itself to virtual teaching rather than waiting for the pandemic to get over. I felt that we at Amity have adapted this very beautifully.
I personally believe that due to this sudden pressure, we all found ourselves with ‘zero choice’. Our economy got affected very badly and we had to survive anyhow and I think not only Amity, but everyone everywhere has tackled this situation commendably.
We at Amity are not only conducting classes on the MS Teams software, but we are also conducting competitions, meetings, Journal Inauguration, webinars, and so many activities.
Being the Chairperson of the Amity Law School Moot Court Society, what changes have you witnessed in the culture of mooting post COVID-19?
Mooting is the most important activity which I think every law student wants to indulge in. It is not only fun, but it gives them a lot of exposure to the practical application of law. Before this pandemic, every moot court competition used to be organized properly in a court like structure called the moot court room.
No doubt, this pandemic has affected the fun and excitement of arguing in the moot court hall, answering the questions of judges and facing the opponents. But, as I mentioned before, we did not let anything slide through the cracks. We conducted moot court competitions virtually, through MS Teams , where we added judges and the teams and they participated by sitting in the comfort of their homes.
If we look at the positive side, online mooting has indeed reduced a lot of prior preparations like setting up moot court rooms, arranging for meals, etc. In fact, we can say that it has reduced the cost and made the activity more economical and accessible.
Being the faculty advisor of the ALSD Student Journal as well as a former Research Associate, how essential is the skill of writing research papers and articles for a law student?
Research or say re-search it is a never-ending practice. One’s research surfaces ways for other to do more research. However, I want to admit the fact that in many colleges and universities, students have not been taught the actual way of conducting research. In fact, students do not even know the essence and fundamentals of why one needs to research.
I remember once when I gave my students an activity of writing a research paper, some copy pasted the work of others. When I asked them the purpose of their research, they simply replied, “because you said it ma’am”. This hurts me a lot. I believe research is an idea, an opinion, a new transformation. It isn’t just finding something over the internet. In fact, it is finding something in the society, and in the minds of the people, and it involves deep analysis.
Research is important not only for law students or lawyers, but in every subject and in every aspect. However, before that we need to understand its relevance and its methods. Otherwise, it might lose its essence and not serve any purpose.