An Interview with Dr. Annu Bahl Mehra (Associate Prof. & Deputy Dean at MUIT Noida, U.P)

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1. Hello Madam, Please Tell Us Something About Yourself to Our Readers.

I Dr. Annu Bahl Mehra am a law enthusiast, with more than 8 years of teaching experience at colleges and universities, and with an approximately of 4 years of working experience in the corporate world. I’m currently working as an Associate professor, in School of Law at Maharishi University, Noida. Prior to that I have worked in MVN University, Noida International University, and Lloyd Law College and for a few years at Janhit College.  I have also worked as a legal advisor before I tried my hand in teaching, which brings me down to a 12 year long career in the field of law.

2. What Inspired You to Choose Law as Your Career? Why Law and Not Engineering or Medical Studies?

During the initial years of my schooling I wanted too become an engineer( like every other kid) but as years passed by I realized that apart from engineering and medical there are more principles through which I can perhaps be a boon to the society. People then were not really aware about their rights, at times they didn’t even know how to respond when something happens which might need legal representation. Law as a career provides empowerment to the common man, creates an environment where people feel confident that nothing unjust could happen to them and at the same time reminds them that no-one can get away with the turmoil they might cause to an individual or to a group. Initially, I wanted to practice as a lawyer but I realized that through teaching I would reach out to a greater audience and give the world more lawyers to provide them with justice, which is probably a thousand folds more than what I could have accomplished as a single lawyer.

3. You Completed Your LL.B from M.M.H. College, Ghaziabad and LL.M From Amity University and PhD from Noida International University. Tell Us About Your Law School Journey.

I completed my B.Sc and LL.B from M.M.H. College, Ghaziabad, which is also my hometown. After my graduation in law, I worked as a legal advisor for a few years, which is when I decided to pursue my post graduation, because I did not want to be stagnant in my work life. After completing my post-graduation, I started to lean towards teaching as a plausible career option, and this is the same time I joined Janhit College as an Asst. Professor. With time my interest in teaching started to outgrow my dream as a practicing lawyer, so to get better acquainted with law and to be better at my job; I decided to get a doctorates degree in law from Noida International University while working too at the same university.

4. Did You Pursue Any Extracurricular Activities Such as Mooting, Debate, Seminar, Online courses, Publication and Sports? How Did This Contribute to Your Holistic Development? Do You Think Such Activities Are Important in Law Student’s Life?

I have participated in more than 25 national and international seminars, I have gotten around 20 papers published in various journals, I have completed around 7 online courses from  London University, Pennsylvania University and more, I have also conducted various Intra and National Moot Court competitions in the universities that I’ve worked in, in the capacity of a convener. I was the chairman of Internal Complain Committee and right now I’m a member of  POSH cell at Maharishi university. I have also been invited as a guest speaker in International and National webinars. I was the coordinator of legal aid clinic through which I organize various workshops in university and outside. I’m also the editor of two International Journals which helps me be in loop with the current legal scenarios. All my activities are centered towards student development and on me growing as a professional, thus I strongly believe that such activities will help students grow in the art of law.

5. What Kind of Internships Did You Do While You Were A Student? Any Remarkable Experiences During Your Internships That Shaped Your Career Choices Later?

Back when I did my graduation, the internship culture wasn’t prevalent and much into practice so I didn’t really do any official internship. Rather I worked with one of my relative who was a practicing lawyer to get hand-on and practical experience in law, but now the times have changed and I highly recommend doing internships to the students under good lawyers and law firms in order to groom themselves as better professionals.

6. How important a role do you think law school plays in shaping one’s career?

In modern developing societies, law, legal education and development have become interrelated concepts. Law schools are more than teaching institutions; they are institutions of learning that have one core mission, i.e. The advancement of human knowledge and understanding. The quality of education, exposure and opportunities one might get at a law school is highly proportional to how a kid turns out after his/hers graduation, so getting into the best law school as per your score should be ones top priority.

7. Describe your teaching style. How do you define good teaching?

I prefer interactive teaching methods in which students have active participation through discussion,  I assign them to study case laws after which we discuss the issues and laws which are related with that specific case. This is the method through which you can develop a good reading and researching habit which is necessary for the upcoming lawyers. Presentation is also a method which I often use. I encourage them to participate in the legal activity which is also a practical mode of learning. Doing moot courts and extempore is highly appreciated and often my personal preferred mode of elucidating on difficult and confusing topics.

8. You can be best described as an academician. When did you realize that academics is the place where you can excel professionally?

After a few years of working as a legal advisor, I didn’t really see myself being an asset to the society, or being someone who is a part of the great change. This gut feeling made me switch my career to teaching. that lead me to doing my masters and then doctorate in law. After being associated with academics, especially with a subject like law, I got great satisfaction with the job I do. Talking about the scope of my profession, I believe that it has the ability to take someone with deliverable knowledge to places. Teaching is a profession with a constant edge, where one has to constantly improve himself and if one has the drive to do that, then there is no stopping.

9. Do You Feel That the Legal Profession Has Significantly Changed from When You Decided to Study Law? What Are Some of The Changes That Have Positively Impacted the Profession and Legal Academia in Your Opinion?

Well, there have been significant changes in the profession. I believe that because of the better available education system, the students are far better equipped to face the real harsh world. Back then a lot of people opted for law because it was a family lineage subject and only wanted to be successful by cutting corners or by any means, but now people have true and genuine interest in the subject who want to take this subject up for their graduation, because it’s their passion and not because it is forced on them, also back then there was no way of getting practical court room experience, but in contrast to now, all thanks to the moot courts and all the available platforms for students, they get the practical knowledge and the speaking practice before really entering into a real court, which I feel is a great deal for them and the initial clients that they would take up after graduation.

10. Do You Feel That There Are Differences Between Students Of ‘Elite’ Law Schools and Students from Other Law Colleges and Traditional Universities?

There definitely is a difference, elite law school kids pass entrance exams and are obviously more affluent with the subject because they’ve put their sweat and blood in the subject way before a lot of other kids were even sure about what they want to do in life. Still that doesn’t make the non-elite law school kids any less. I truly feel that where this a will, there is a way, if non-elite law school kids puts their heart and soul in the subject and work hard through the course of their graduation,  they too can break the curb and turn out to be successful and capable lawyers. Anyways getting into an elite law school does not guarantee success in a court room, it all depends on how well one has made out of the available opportunities and if they really have an edge in some way or another in front of their opponent. Also at times getting into the elitist of law school might not be the best thing for a kid because of the unhealthy competition prevalent there, but again the kids need to make the most of what they get and be satisfied and try to be their best versions to be good lawyers to build a great nation.

11. The Best Experience and Success Habit You Would Like to Share with Law Students to Encourage Them.

Finding a point in a case that provides them an edge over their opponent is what every lawyer needs to win a case, and a student can develop this only by data interpretation practice that they get by doing case studies and research work. This helps the student have an eye for details that other people generally might miss out, and this would take a lawyer places and help him make a mark for himself in the legal world.

12. Lastly, What Would Be Your Message to People Who Want to Take Up A Career in Teaching?

I would say that it might look like a easy way to escape the real court room turmoil, but it is not as easy as it seem to be, it does has a great scope professionally and good pay-packages but it also requires great  dedication, devotion and an urge to constantly improve oneself, and a lot of patience. So one should really be ready to face long working hours before they take the profession up, but I would say that the level of satisfaction one might get with it, is incomparable to any other and you would never really regret your decision if you’re really capable and are ready to grow with your job.

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