An Interview with Pallab Das (Faculty of Law at National Law University Odisha)

1. Sir Please Introduce Yourself To Our Readers

Hi, I am Pallab Das, at present a faculty and PhD Scholar at National Law University Odisha. After almost 4 to 5 years of industry practice I finally chose my calling i.e. academia and I must say when you keep searching what you love to do, you will definitely find the answer. At NLUO, I have been teaching Maritime Law, International Commercial Arbitration, Indian Penal Code and Legal Methods. I am also fond of classical dance and writing. So I have been learning Kathak Dance since three years now and occasionally I do write on abstract topics of Life.

I constantly believe that I have seen many humans without clothes and many clothes without humans; so try not to be second part of this statement. Being a good human is rare and if you can be- then be that good human who will always be looked up to.

2. What Inspired You To Choose Law As Your Career?

Well! Honestly, I was good with theoretical studies when I was a child and after studying Science, I somehow did not like it and then I thought if I study law there will be many avenues open for me to try and experiment. Since I did not have anyone to guide at that time, I chose to traverse a path which was difficult yet challenging. And sooner when I entered law school, I came to realize that I loved law. So it was not by choice but by chance that I landed up in law. But then I keep saying this often in my classes that when you take a decision- it cannot be a bad or a good decision- you need to make the decision bad or good after you have already taken the decision by proving yourself that what you decided was good for you. Whatever you chose, if you work dedicatedly I am sure you will achieve success and happiness.

3. Tell Us A Bit About Your Study Time During College Life

I studied law from ILS Law College, Pune. I was not that studious kind of a person. I always had a motto that you must give your 100% and don’t worry about the results. So, I exhausted every bit of opportunity that came in my way. Starting from moot court, to getting a rank in my final year in Pune University, to having started the only Hindi/English Theatre club at my Law college. I must say, I have had a wholesome experience of fun and intellect at my law school. During that time, studying from a traditional school we did not have so many options that we see today. In today’s time, a law student does varieties of co-curricular and extra-curricular activities but at that point of time, we only knew that we have to study and do internships. So I did my part of internships and then when I graduated I started with Litigation and landed up in Odisha Judicial Services and now finally in academics.

4. What Inspired You To Pursue Your LL.M At Swansea University, UK?

My experience at Judiciary told me very early that this is not what would suit me, so I had started applying for higher studies and I was very sure that LLM is something that I would want to pursue from abroad. So while practicing at the High Court of Orissa, I had got a case on maritime law on arrest of a vessel. That intrigued me and I realized that the scope is immense and there are hardly many players in this niche area. So, when I got a scholarship at Swansea University which is World’s one of the top university in Maritime Law, I jumped at the opportunity and went to the UK to further my higher studies. That’s how I landed up with maritime and commercial law as my Master’s degree at Swansea University.

5. What Made You Focus Primarily On International Commercial And Maritime Law?

It was in practice that I got hold of these two subjects and when I got a chance to join Swansea University, I was introduced to International Commercial Arbitration by one of the finest professors I know. It was he who developed further interest in me to continue my research area in international commercial arbitration. With regards to maritime law, it happened that when I was studying at Swansea, I got a call from a shipping company in Mumbai and they offered me a job. But by then I had not completed my degree but I assured them to join as an intern. Since then I believe I started my career at NLUO as a maritime faculty and I did not have to look back- as if I swam the ocean meant to discover the nuances and swim across it.

6. Do You Think That Mooting, Publication, Debate And Internship Are Important In Law Student’s Life?

I believe mooting and debate are an integral part of a law students life. This will help students hone their skills of argument as well as researching abilities. As a law student, if one does get involved in mooting and debate, you get to know your strengths and weaknesses and you get ample time and opportunity to polish your skills and get prepared for the real life. In terms of publication, it is of utmost importance because you get to know a lot by self-researching as well as you get prepared for higher studies or scholarships; the selection committee of higher education institute both abroad and in India gives due importance to peer reviewed publications. By doing internship in varied fields of law one gets to know what one will be good at in terms of selecting job. Therefore, one must definitely participate and explore all such opportunities one gets in these five years at law school.

7. What Should Be The Prime Concern Of A Law Student?

The prime concern of a law student according to me is to see that he/she gets into the habit of reading as much as possible on a daily basis. Because when you go into real life practice or law firm you will need to read a lot and get the solution at the neck of time. Therefore one must read at least forty pages on a daily basis so that one gets accustomed to the rigors of legal practice. In addition, you must have the knowledge of the current decisions and legal scholarship which gets published in journals and online legal forums, this will help you stay updated with the latest happenings of the legal industry. Further, as a law student one must participate in every possible competitions and opportunities that the college offers along with having a consistent academic grade, this will help the student in their final year if one is applying for further studies abroad and in academia as a career.

8. The Best Experience And Success Habit You Would Like To Share With Law Students To Encourage Them

I would suggest that you must start from the very first year itself to interact with seniors so that you know all the opportunities they have explored in law school and you can also start building your CV without any waste of time. In addition, try to build as much network in the legal industry by doing internships, attending conferences and workshops so that you build a forum for yourself which will help you get a job and be a good lawyer. As I said, daily reading habit is a must to be inculcated and having a work-life balance will take you a long way in the real life. So start practicing the habit of when to work and when to give time for your personal development. This will lead you to success if you work hard. There is no substitute to hard work and a disciplined life.

9. Tell Us About Your Experience At Swansea University. How Would You Say Is It Different From An Indian University?

I have had a sound experience at Swansea University. There we did not have classes daily rather we had to choose four modules which was divided across the week. A two hour lecture which was optional to attend and followed by a seminar class which was compulsory to attend. We learned more in the seminar classes than in the lecture room. This gave us ample time to attend library and study on our own. There was different pattern of examination in which we were given question papers to take home and complete the research within 24 hours and submit it to the exam department. They use to check plagiarism on a strict basis so everyone had to write their answer on their own. This was something new to me and helped me exercise my mind on a regular basis when it came to maritime and arbitration laws. In terms of personal life, I learnt to survive in a foreign land all by myself where I was working part time to earn my livelihood as well as take time out to study. The most important part is I had to cook myself which made me learn how to divide the 24 hours’ time one has by doing different work yet secure a merit in the master’s degree. That helped me shape myself as to who I am today.

10. Students Can Often Be Indecisive About The Courses They Want To Take For Their Masters. How Did You Make This Decision?

When it comes to Masters abroad, you get to attend induction classes wherein the faculty will explain the merits and usefulness of a particular module. Based on the induction classes you can choose which subject you wish to take for your thesis. In India, I would say that you must develop a keen interest in a particular subject during your undergraduate school and based on the same you can select your practice area. This will help you get prepared and know which subject you would wish to take in your post-graduate studies. This is how I had selected my course in maritime and arbitration laws.

Lastly I would suggest that law is a jealous mistress, you need to give time to law if you want success in this field. Working hard is the only way out to achieve in the field of law. There is no shortcut to this.

Thank you.

Law Corner

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