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LexTalk World Talk Show with Rajeev Goswami, Head Legal at Ather Energy



Rajeev Goswami is a seasoned corporate lawyer with over 23 years of experience in law firms as well as multinational corporations. He is Fellow Member of ICSI, India, Associate Member of ICSA, UK, LLB from Delhi University and MBA from IIM Lucknow. He has been an entrepreneur himself and has also been imparting knowledge to young professionals as guest faculty in India’s top institutes including various IIMs, ICSI & law colleges. Rajeev is also a prolific and much sought-after speaker and has graced podiums at premier professional bodies like NASSCOM, ASSOCHAM, PHDCCI, Indian Chamber of Commerce etc.


Interview:


Host: What motivated you to choose the Legal sector as a domain of work and how has been your career span?


Rajeev: Law is not just a qualification, it is a way of life and a prestigious one. Law equips one with the knowledge and tools to make a change in the society. Legal qualification develops diverse skillset and also opens up the doors of various opportunities e.g. one can practice in a court of law, become judge and deliver justice, become in-house counsel and guide corporate on strategic matters, become entrepreneur, become legal correspondent and so on. I’ve used my legal qualification to delve in multifarious activities and professions. I’ve been an entrepreneur, partner in a law firm and Head Legal in various prestigious corporate houses including Vedanta Ltd, Ather Energy etc.


Host: What are the different challenges and opportunities that you have or had faced while working in this field?


Rajeev: The major challenge of working in this field is to keep track of the legal and related developments. In addition to plethora of statutes (Acts and Rules), there are clarifications, notifications, amendments etc. On top of it, each judgment is a law unto itself and the law, in this way, keeps developing, and sometimes changing, frequently. Ironically, this not only provides challenges but also opportunities. Since there are multiple platforms (Commissions, Courts, Forums etc.) that interpret and develop legislations in their respective fields, it provides multiple career options to choose from. A lawyer can choose to become subject matter expert in a particular area of practice and become hugely successful.


Host: What kind of solutions would you like to advise others, especially those who want to take up this profession?


Rajeev: My advice for the budding lawyers would be to inculcate the habit of reading. This field is so dynamic and fast-paced that an entire new library of legal works is created daily by way of various statutory updates and judicial precedents. The best solution would be to choose at least one area of practice and master it. ‘Jack of all trades and master of at least ONE’ should be the mantra.


Host: What do you think regarding the use of technology andhow much of impact is it going to create in terms of the industry and future businesses?


Rajeev: Technology has helped legal profession in many ways. From the computers, printers and scanners to introduction of AI (Artificial Intelligence), the profession has seen it all and used it all too. During the Covid times, all the courts and forums implemented virtual hearings. Many court-hearings are now being streamed live and can be accessed by even general public in certain cases. Only a few years ago, much of this would have been unbelievable. While it has brought a lot of convenience in the lives of lawyers, it has also started a debate on whether technology will replace the lawyers eventually. ChatGPT has been shown to produce professional-level documents. However, in my humble opinion, like most of the disruptive technologies, it will only help in development of better professionals. We have to make the technology our partner in progress.


Host: The pandemic saw some courts begin moving towards more remote proceedings and availability. Is this sustainable, and a possible way to increase access to justice, in your opinion?


Rajeev: Covid disrupted the world and forced early adoption of many path breaking technologies. Virtual hearing is definitely one of them. Allowing lawyers to appear remotely made them more productive, saving time and resources. Few lawyers were also able to simultaneously mark appearance in more than one courts. Live streaming of hearings brought great transparency to the entire process. It also allowed more inclusiveness and involvement from the affected parties and also, in some cases, from the public in general. Even though pandemic related restrictions have now been eased, many courts are still allowing hybrid functioning which is a welcome step. With the development and adoption of latest technologies, this is definitely sustainable as well.

 

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