In Conversation with Gauhar Mirza, Partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Gauhar Mirza is an experienced Advocate, Skilled in Arbitration, Information Technology and Criminal Law. He is proficient in handling complex dispute matters, arguing and representing clients before all Tribunals, including arbitration and all courts up till the Hon'ble Supreme Court. He usually advises tech giants and various construction and automobile industries on disputes and expansion of business. He is currently a partner at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, one of the prominent law firms of India in their Delhi NCR office.
1. Thank you for considering this interview session with us, sir. We are honored to have you as our guest, and we look forward to hearing your insights and experiences in the legal profession. I request you to introduce yourself to our readers, we believe it would be an excellent opportunity for them to learn more about your esteemed background and experience in the field of law.
2. Please tell us about your journey in the legal field so far, and what motivated you to pursue a career in law?
Response: I came to Delhi from Bhopal to study law. Purely a first generation lawyer as my father was a government officer (now retired). The city was new and had its own challenges, but teaches you everyday. During college days the advantage of being in Delhi was that one could do part time internships at law firms and keep the experience continuous. I remember being a regular intern at a boutique law firm in Gulmohar Park where I would get a stipend, which helped pay college fee, buy books and maintain myself in the city. The learning was amazing. The motivation to do law came from the passion to articulate and present something. It was the best profession for me as it offers variety of options.
3. What is the role of an internship in a law students career and how they can choose the best internships for them? Getting internships in law firm today are very tough specially for the students from tier 2 or tier 3 law schools. Please provide insights into your internships and how they have contributed to your professional growth during the early stages of your legal career?
Response: Internship plays a key role in making you understand what is waiting for you in the future. I was fortunate to have interned with NGOs, litigating lawyers and firms. It helped me understand the range of different kind of work and organizations. Different set-ups also make you learn how to organize yourself. I do not prescribe to the notion of there being any tier in law schools. Also as I mentioned earlier, internship can be done at any form of organization, a NGO, litigation office or firm. One must not be fixated to the idea of just going to big firms and if the application does not go through, feel disheartened. Law is a profession where your spirits need to be high at all times. There is no success or failure, its just your perception.
4. What challenges did you face during the start of your legal journey, and how did you overcome them?
Response: I would not say that I did not face challenges. Coming from a small town, learning the lifestyle of a metro was the first challenge. Initial lack of guidance in law school days was the second. But if you are motivated and try to see around, these are very small issues. Go out and there is enough help available. Law is the only profession where once you are in Court, everyone is a lawyer and a colleague. You can walk up to anyone and ask any question and most of them are happy to help. I did the same. I was not shy to reach out to anyone if I needed any guidance or help.
5. What do you consider to be the most significant milestones and achievements that you have attained thus far in your professional journey?
Response: Being promoted to the role of Partner at a Tier1 law firm at a young age and the only disputes practitioner in that batch was a fairly good achievement for me. But the recognition I received from Courts in the form of acceptance and appreciation for my work is unmatched. Having myself argued and winning high stake arbitrations and matters before Court continue to be milestones in my career.
6. As a partner in one of the most prestigious law firms in India, can you tell about the challenges that you encounter in your daily work? The legal industry is renowned for its complexity, and I am certain that as a leader in your field, you have a unique perspective on the daily challenges that must be navigated to maintain your firm's reputation for excellence. Would you be willing to elaborate on some of the most significant obstacles that you face in your role, and how you work to overcome them?
Response: To be honest there are no such challenges if you love what you are doing. Being a partner or not does not change the hurdles that you will face in this field. One thing I do sail through the rush and complexities is that I practice “patience” and do not let any urgency affect my mental peace. I will find the solution, so why worry has been my motto and style of work and I would encourage everyone should have that.
7. In order to maintain a balance between your professional and personal life, what approaches do you employ to effectively manage your time and commitments? Could you share some strategies or techniques that you find beneficial for achieving this balance?
Response: I get up at 5 am in the morning. Assure that I do atleast one form of exercise- hit the gym, cycle, swim or walk. At 6.30 am I lay down my days schedule on a paper and keep it in the pocket of my shirt and keep ticking the task that are over. I try to spend some time also with my family because in the end, only they matter. During weekends I usually work but find some time to do public speaking, teach some course or meet friends.
8. What qualities do you consider indispensable for achieving success in the legal profession, and what strategies would you recommend for aspiring lawyers to cultivate and nurture these qualities?
Response: Patience. You just learn that and you will achieve what you desire. Never work for a specific goal, make milestones.
9. In your opinion, what are the principal limitations or shortcomings that exist within the present legal and disputes landscape in India?
Response: I think the gap between what is taught at law school and what actually transpires at work is the biggest gap one needs to fulfill.
10. What do you think of the potential impact of the Bar Council of India's (BCI) recent decision to permit foreign law firms to practice law in India, specifically in relation to the field of international commercial arbitration?
Response: It may benefit the overall market and collaborations as in the era of globalization, these steps might help. International commercial arbitration is still being done at a good level and whether entry of foreign law firms will impact that, is a debatable question.
11. As an accomplished individual who has attained notable success in the legal profession, what guidance or advice would you offer to law students who are embarking on their career paths?
Response: Focus on what exactly is your interest and do not get confused with multiple options. Have patience in achieving your milestones, it will happen one day.
The Interview was taken by Abhishek Bhushan Singh (Advocate Litigation and Disputes Resolution, Founder and MD Nyayshastram)