Here is a quick conversation with Vivek K Chandy, Joint Managing Partner at J. Sagar Associates, who was recently listed in LawWiser Super 30 – Most Influential Law firm Professionals


As one of the top legal minds in the country can you share a moment in your career that you consider a true highlight or milestone?

I recollect being a junior counsel in the Bombay High Court in a matter in which I was led by Navroz Seervai. On the other side was late Ghulam Vahanavati, one of the top senior counsel in the Bombay High Court.  I sought an adjournment as Navroz was on his feet in another Court.  The Judge however asked me to go on with the matter and admitted the petition after hearing Ghulam and me.  Was important that I was fully prepared and able to make my submissions without getting too flustered.  Also, was great to find that Judges like Justice Ajit Shah were most accommodating and encouraging to juniors.


How do you perceive the role of lawyers in addressing broader societal issues in today’s time? Are there particular instances you believe when the legal profession contributed to positive social change?

When I started my profession, I had almost no work and used to appear without charge in Public Interest Litigations.  I was able to do a lot for society in those matters and also learn a lot as there were top senior counsel appearing in most of these matters.  Young lawyers should consider this as a route to doing something for society even while getting the much needed experience.  It is important that these litigations are actually in the public interest and not motivated by private interests.


Given your exceptional expertise, what strategies do you employ to stay at the forefront of legal innovation and thought leadership? Are there any specific routines that have contributed to your continued success in the legal field?

I strongly believe that we all learn something every day and what is most important is to have an inquisitive mind and not believe one knows it all.  Reading both current affairs and literature helps make one a rounded lawyer.


In your experience, what do you see as the most pressing challenges facing the legal industry today? And what advice would you offer to the next generation of lawyers entering this field?

Most smart young lawyers want to do Corporate work as the rewards are immediate.  We need smart young lawyers going into litigation and that is something that is missing.  We also need good lawyers going into the judiciary and the government ensuring better pay to the judiciary.


Mentorship is often cited as a key factor in professional success. Can you share insights into your own experiences with mentorship, both as a mentee and a mentor?

I have been lucky to be mentored by top lawyers like Dadi Engineer, Navroz Seervai, the great H. M. Seervai, Zia Mody and Jyoti Sagar.  I try and mentor the youngsters that I work with not only with respect to the law, but with respect to being commercially savvy, both for themselves and for their clients.  Someone who knows the law need not necessarily be successful as a lawyer and it is important to help youngsters make themselves successful lawyers.


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