Nitika Marya, senior associate at Vahura, in this interview with acadman.in has talked about her life at University Institute of Legal Studies – Panjab University, working with the Consulting Firm – Vahura, the role of moot and research paper in getting a job, among several other things.
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Please tell us about your early life, exposure, and aspirations during school days?
I grew up in Ambala, and completed my schooling till 10th from Convent of Jesus and Mary, and did my 12th from Navy Children School, Mumbai. Never the one to sit idle, which could mean participating at the state-level skating competition or being the sports captain and being involved in every extracurricular activity my school had to offer.
I come from a defence background and have always been a big fan of the Indian Armed Forces and from a very young age saw myself being a part of the force. My school and my family always gave me the confidence to walk into unknown terrains with ease. Also, in sports, I liked keeping difficult targets for myself and pushing to achieve it.
Shifting to a place like Mumbai from Ambala also made me realise that I am a good and a natural connector, who loves to meet new and diverse people.
How was your experience at Institute of Legal Studies, Panjab University? Did you get enough time to indulge in other socio-political activities?
I really immersed myself fully into the college experience and played a critical role in helping me identify who I am. I was chosen to be the Class representative and was genuinely interested in my education and believed in the need for practical aspects of it. I was an active volunteer for any kind of field-work on a number of projects that included issues like drug abuse and rehabilitation.
My college gave me the confidence to express my opinions without fear. I always enjoyed participating in all the extracurricular activities and as is the case with most college students, I travelled extensively with my friends.
Which things are required to get a job at Vahura or any other Consulting firm?
We are an eclectic mix of people from law firms, in-house legal teams, leading recruitment & HR firms, psychometric and tech companies. There is a common philosophy that we share, which comes down to two things – taking the road less travelled and that we are quite revolutionary. All of us here have left our traditional comfort zones to pursue something different.
To get a job at Vahura, you should be someone who enjoys being in the people business. You should love to meet new people and know how to use every opportunity to network and turn it into business results. Ability to balance between confidentiality and yet maintain transparency in the way you are working is very important. You should be a great communicator, no matter whether you are interacting with a Partner of a firm, General Counsel of a large corporate, Associate or a fresher. You should be able to establish a good relationship and work extra hard towards building trust. You should have a high level of attention to detail and researching skills. You should be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. And, more importantly, you should be someone who can work in a team in order to find the best candidate for the requirements you work.
Which skills do you look at while hiring new lawyers?
In case of freshers, their internship experience, willingness to learn, clarity on where they see themselves in the next two years.
In case of a professional with some experience in the legal industry, definitely, their expertise, interpersonal skills. Pedigree matters with certain Clients.
Every client’s requirement is different, hence there cannot be one solution. What is critical is that you should know how you can add value to your employer and be clear of this unique prop.
What do you think is the role of Moot and Research paper in getting a job?
Gives you a practical sense of how real legal life would be.
One should know, if they are pursuing Litigation ahead, your moot court experience and research papers play a very important role. Also, this helps you in getting a good internship with litigation law firms.
Also, from an In-house lawyer perspective, this experience is important because you Liason/work with the external lawyers who are doing Litigation.
How did you come across Vahura?
I always wanted to get into law because of my interest in Defense. As I continued to research opportunities in the law, I realized that there were very few resources and people who could offer guidance to young law students, particularly those interested in a more holistic perspective that looked beyond the already existing, conventional choices. I wanted to act as a bridge between students and the system and my work at Vahura allows me to do just that.
You could say that it’s a way of reinterpreting the age that if you want to change the system, you have to be a part of the system and with Vahura, I interact closely with legal professionals and the industry, gaining insights into its working every day.
What has been your role and experience there?
I am a Senior Associate, part of the In-house team in Vahura. I look into the recruitment requirements for companies, MNC’s, Venture Capital,etc., looking for In-house counsels at a Pan India level. Apart from this, I am also a part of the legal team in Vahura where I look into and review, agreements when we are engaging with the Organisations.
I’m excited about my work. Vahura offers me the opportunity to meet people who are interesting. I love my colleagues and the time I spend with them at work is precious. I feel like I’m getting closer to bridge the gap between professionals and students– a purpose that initially led me to Vahura.
What message would you like to give to the law students?
I might be repeating myself however it is very important to always stay faithful to what you want to do. Even if what you want is not a majority opinion, that’s fine and this could still mean that you have opportunities ahead. You do not always have to go to a big law firm or corporate but you can always join a startup etc. and find yourself, the way Vahura helped me find myself.