An Interview with Dr. Pyali Chatterjee [HOD, MATS Law School, MATS University, Raipur]

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Dr. Pyali Chatterjee is currently working as a HOD Law Department, MATS UNIVERSITY, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Doing Research and writing good quality paper is her passion. She has published 4 research papers in Scopus indexed journals till now and many in UGC listed journal and peer review Journals both in the national as well as in international level. Some of her research paper has been selected for publication as a book chapter which will be published from Springer, IGI Global and Elsevier. She has presented many research papers in the overseas conferences, International conferences and national conferences. Most of her research paper is related to health and criminal law. She is associated with various journals as an editorial board member. Her area of interest is Contract law, Criminal Law and Health law. Currently, she has been teaching students of both UG and PG levels. She has guided many LLM students during their dissertations. She is a member of various committees at MATS University like Liberary Committee, Exam Committee, DRC member, Equivalence Committee, Admission Committee.

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

I am Dr. Pyali Chatterjee, having a Doctorate from Amity University, Noida. I have done my LLM with Contract law as my area of specialization from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottyam, Kerala and graduated from the Department of Law, Calcutta University. I have completed my schooling in Arunachal Pradesh. I am a keen researcher and have published more than 30 research papers in UGC and Scopus indexed journals as well as in International recognized Journals and presented more than 30 papers in international and national conference/seminar. With over 7 years of teaching experience, I was also associated with Disha Law College, Raipur and ISBM University, Raipur. My area of interest includes Criminal law, Contract law, Health laws and Human rights. Currently, I am working as Head of Department in Mats Law School, Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Prior to academics, I worked before Calcutta High Court and Law firm for near about 3 years.

Madam, what interested you to take up Law as a profession?

Since I was in school, the law has always fascinated me as my father was a government servant at Arunachal Pradesh Police. It was my father who inspired me to choose law as a career. The different aspects of law and how it affects the general public, as well as its international impact, have always made me keen to learn more about it. Therefore rather than opting for any generic field, I preferred to go this route and pursue my further studies. As my father was a police officer, criminal law was one of the subjects in which I was very much interested and I studied IPC, Medical Jurisprudence from my father. He played a very important role in my life. Many times I visited the police station with him during my childhood. All this together lead me to choose law as career.

You Completed Your B.A.LL.B from the Department of Law, Calcutta University and LL.M from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala and Ph.D from Amity University, Noida. Tell Us About Your Law School Journey and Experience.

My law school experience has been a very interesting one. The faculties and mentors we had were well experienced and equipped with knowledge which helped us groom and diversifies our horizon in the field of legal studies. Apart from the routine lectures, we had several practical training in the field as well which ultimately polished and prepared us as professionals in the law field. My mentors were always my idols who helped me grow and learn on a daily basis. The unlimited hours of hard work and consistency entailed in me from these institutions are the key factors which have helped me in my professional life. I actually learned about the importance of research in a student’s life as well as in the academic field from Amity University, Noida. Prior to this I never give importance to research work at all.

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?

Honestly telling you that during my graduation days I have never paid attention to research/mooting at all. Maybe at that time, I did not realize the importance of mooting in students’ life because moot court competition was very rare at that time. All though it was there in our curriculum. That was one of the major drawbacks during my student life which I accept now. Being a law student one must be active in mooting, research paper writing, paper presentation. This will not only help you in your resume but it will increase your knowledge and interpretation skills too.

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

We had a strict internship routine that was included in the curriculum which helped us greatly in determining our career choices. During my graduation, I have done an internship in two different NGOs. It was during my internship with HRLN when I decided to practice as a criminal lawyer before Calcutta High Court and to fight for women’s right as I have seen cases of women’s rights violations during my internship period at HRLN. Even in some of the cases, I have counseled them also along with the panel advocate.

Madam, If You Could List Out 5 Activities Which on A Scale of Priority, Should Be at The Top in Any Law Student’s School-Life, What Would Those Be?

The top five activities that shall be particularly included in the curriculum according to me are:

  • Moot Courts.
  • Research article
  • paper presentation
  • Debates.
  • Networking.
  • Student associations and Sports.

Madam, How Did You Decide to Go into Academics? What skills do you think are required for a career of academics?

I join teaching so that I can balance my professional as well as family life. Though I never thought to join in teaching during my college life but now I enjoyed this profession.  For academics, one must have a command over their specialization subject. Communication and interpretation skill is also very much important.

Tell Us About Your Teaching Methodology. Do You Encourage Students to Take Notes or Do You Engage Your Students in Active Class Participation?

I am strictly against the practice of providing notes to my students; my teaching methodology mainly includes the active participation of students in the classroom. Teaching them how to apply different rules and philosophies of law and how they could use the same to produce a change and create a much better outcome for society. While teaching simple things like case analysis I make them learn how to dissect a case and break it down to discrete components like the facts, issues, precedents, rule, application and holding. Therefore my lectures always focus on the practical aspects and encouraging students to participate actively.

When Would You Say A Legal Academician Is Ready to Start Writing Books? Any Time Management Tips for Budding Legal Academicians? When Would You Say That an Academician Is Successful?

The job of a legal academician is not only teaching and evaluation. The system of legal education does not limit itself to teaching theory and different subjects of law. The explanation of the theory itself requires a practical approach for a better understanding of the topic. The study of law requires constant research from the academician’s side, which, in turn, is beneficial for the learners and students in general. Therefore, in my opinion, with constant guidance and practice in the field of research, a legal academician is ready to start writing books.

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?

Back in the day Legal study was just about becoming a lawyer and practicing in courts. Over the course of time, the horizon has widened greatly in a way that now there are several other career options that one can opt for after pursuing his legal career. More and more students are interested in taking up law as their primary option after school and graduation. This development is mainly because of the inclusion of practical aspects and other curricular activities for the holistic development of students.

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

My advice to the students would be to keep reading, practicing and keeping a healthy perspective towards their learning. There should be a balance between the theoretical and practical aspects, they should not shy away from being active in class, take advantage of the resources provided to them by the institutions and they should always be thirsty for more knowledge.

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

For many people teaching is a very simple and effortless job. My first advice would be to, first of all, be sure whether you are skilled and learned enough to guide students. An academician is someone who mentors students in every aspect of life and not just delivers lectures. Therefore one should be confident and dedicated enough that they can polish and mentor other students and impart knowledge and guidance both in the professional and personal front.

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