An Interview with Sheetal Chauhan (Assistant Professor of Law at ICFAI University, Jaipur)

Ms. Sheetal Chauhan is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Law at The ICFAI University Jaipur. She has completed her B.A. LL.B(Hons) from Amity University, Rajasthan and LL.M from Amity University, Madhya Pradesh(AUMP). She is pursuing her Ph.D from AUMP. She has few publications in the International Journals and have a past working experience of two years with AUMP as a Visiting faculty.

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

Hello! I hope everyone reading this, is safe and healthy at their place and thank you Law Corner for this wonderful opportunity. Presently I am working as an Assistant Professor of Law at The ICFAI University Jaipur. I was born and brought up in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh and my schooling was from St. Paul’s School, Gwalior. Thereafter, I did my B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from Amity University Rajasthan in 2017 and LL.M. in Constitutional and Administrative Law from Amity University Madhya Pradesh (AUMP) receiving a silver medal in academics in 2018. I joined AUMP as a visiting faculty soon after LL.M., meanwhile cleared UGC-NET with 99.08 percentile and worked for almost two years. My tenure at AUMP was a good training period which helped me in building the foundation for teaching side of an academician. I am also pursuing my Ph.D. in the area of Constitutional Law.

2. How Did You Gravitate Towards Law? Why Law and Not Engineering or Medical Studies?

Honestly, I was never inclined towards either Engineering or Medical. So I opted for Commerce by default because back then, there was no option of humanities in my school but eventually figured out that Commerce didn’t interest me either. But I was fairly good at language (English) and Social Science. So almost at the end of my 12th grade, my mother encouraged me to pursue law since it had nothing to do with my previous stream. And that is how I made the perfect career choice for myself. All thanks to her!

3. You Completed Your B.A LL.B(Hons) from Amity University, Jaipur and LL.M & Ph.D from Amity University, Madhya Pradesh. Please, Tell Us About Your Law School Journey and Experience.

My Law School journey was a concoction of personal and professional learning. I lived in the residential campus of Amity Jaipur for good 4.5 years, so it was a world of its own. I met some amazing people as my peers, friends and teachers who taught me so much in their own way. I literally grew in that campus, from a teenager to an adult and living in hostel was a lot of fun. I was never into long hours of studies but I was clear on my concepts and reading of law.  I was exposed to various fields of law through internships that again helped me to figure out what I would want to do in the long run or atleast what I would not want to opt for. I clearly knew that a corporate job or litigation was not my thing at all, though I thoroughly enjoyed my internships, especially litigation.

After graduation, I moved back to my hometown and completed LL.M. from Amity University, Gwalior. Though it was a year course, but it was enriching. It was at that time I decided to pursue academics and fortunately I got full support from my teachers at AUMP, who gave me an opportunity to teach right after masters. I was given 9th Semester as my first ever batch to teach, which was bit nerve-racking initially but gradually it worked out pretty well. The only thing that I regret was not being very active in the co-curricular activities throughout my college. I did conferences, research papers only in the last two years of my graduation. But I will balance it out by being at the other side of the dais now.

4. What areas of law fascinated you the most?

I was always fascinated by Constitutional, Criminal and Administrative laws as I could relate to them more in comparison to Business Laws. The nature of these laws is multifaceted and the fact that there is so much history to their evolution and extension, has always intrigued me. I also really liked Interpretation of Statutes, Jurisprudence and Public International Law. I think a teacher is the real catalyst in generating interest of students in a subject and I was fortunate to have been taught by some of the best faculties. For any subject of law that may interest you, the focus should be on the philosophy behind and the objectives it tends to achieve. This helps in the analyzing how to read the law and contemplate it with the present scenario.

5. How important do you think mooting or any co-curricular activity is in shaping one’s future career in law?

Mooting is the most practical exercise that gives student a close experience of litigation. It enhances research skills, reading of laws, framing of arguments, articulation of speech and getting into the details of things which are indispensable qualities of a good law student. I think Research Paper writing should also be encouraged from the initial years of law school like mooting. Apart from this, any co-curricular activity whether it is debate competitions, conferences, seminar, essay or judgement writing, etc., gives wider perspective to students opening new horizons of law to explore and develop holistically. It really contributes to the smooth transition from law student to law professional. A person may be very bright academically but it is equally important to be socially intelligent, interactive and adaptive. So active participation in co-curricular activities is highly recommended.

6. What Is Your Topic of Research for LL.M? Why Did You Choose That Subject for Research?

The topic of my LL.M. Dissertation was “Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles – Mutual Impact and Interaction”. There was a separate paper on Fundamental Rights and DPSP during masters and since both of them go hand in hand forming an integral part of the Constitution, I wanted to critically analyze their relationship and co-existence.

7. What should be the prime concern of a law student?

The prime concern should be to

  1. Maintain a healthy balance between both academics and co-curricular activities, since neither of it can be ignored.
  2. Work on skill development and update yourself with current trends of law.
  3. Take your internships very seriously, plan them before hand and make a conscious effort to learn and add value to your knowledge and experience.
  4. Develop your CV, as academic grades are of limited value.

8. Where Do You See Yourself Five Years from Now?

Though I do not plan too much because it has never worked out that way but yes going forward in the direction that I am in, five years down the line, I would have my Ph.D. completed with a lot more of experience and knowledge in teaching and research, some unexpected achievements and hopefully goodwill of a distinguished academician.

9. The best experience and success habit you would like to share with law students to encourage them.

Read a LOT, this is one habit that is irreplaceable and cannot be emphasized more. It cannot be developed overnight and you have to work on it gradually to make it a habit. Make sure to read some good content daily, it could be an article, column, blog or anything. It is better to read different authors on the same subject, because knowing different perspectives will give you a comprehensive and extensive outlook and you will be able to develop a rational opinion of your own. The perks of reading are collaborative to enhanced vocabulary, research and writing skills which will give you an upper hand in whichever field you choose to work in.

10. Lastly, what final piece of advice do you want to pass on to the readers of the Law Corner?

From the very little experience that I have had in the past few years, my advice would be, not to fear from exploring and experimenting in different fields of law because you might find something that interests you more or even if you don’t, you will have some experience. It is absolutely fine if you want to deviate from your previous career choice or do not have a plan. The imperative is to keep moving ahead and always have a backup plan. Don’t get stuck with one thing and please do not take unnecessary pressure just because your peers are ahead of you professionally, rather channelize that energy on self-improvement. Have patience, work hard and you will find your feet. Best of luck!

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