Part of BW Legal World 30u30 club of achievers, Commercial disputes lawyer Gibran is an independent legal practitioner at the Chambers of Gibran Naushad. He is a Senior Panel Counsel for the Government of India in the Supreme Court with work mandates relating to extremely diverse fields of law.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What made you choose a career in law? And how was the experience of studying law?
I was brought up in Delhi and have done my schooling from Delhi Public School, RK Puram. I am a first-generation lawyer. Since my school days, I was quite interested in political and social happenings in India and abroad, and since law always formed an intrinsic part of such events, I naturally got inclined towards this field. I had decided to do law quite early on in my high school days and consequently decided to write law entrance exams after high school.
National Law University Delhi was an enriching experience for me, academically and socially. Despite the academic curriculum of the university being quite rigorous and hectic, the overall atmosphere of college encouraged you to get involved in a variety of extra-curricular activities. While I did mooting in law school, I got more inclined towards research and writing from the third year onwards. I published quite a few papers while I was in law school and participated successfully in multiple national and international essay competitions. My interest in research and writing has continued since then, and I still try and write articles on topical aspects of the law that I engage with in my regular practice.
If you could suggest one reform in the legal ecosystem, what would it be?
I strongly believe that there should be more fairness in the pay mechanisms that presently exist in litigation in India. Most young litigators who are working with independent practitioners or small litigation setups are paid extremely less which makes it difficult for them to opt for and survive with litigation as their prime career choice. If we want better lawyers for the future, this needs to surely change.
Please tell us about your specialization and the array of work you handle in your private practice.
My independent practice presently is a mix of government and private work. I am a Senior Panel Counsel (Panel-A) for the Government of India in the Supreme Court with work mandates relating to extremely diverse fields of law. I am also engaged by the Government of Andhra Pradesh for their water dispute matters in the Supreme Court and the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal. Parallelly, I work regularly with corporate houses, start-ups and MSMEs. While I get engaged for matters relating to almost all fields of law, I do a lot of regular work relating to tax law, arbitration, insolvency and bankruptcy, Delhi HC (original Side – commercial) and general SC mandates (SLPs and Civil and Criminal Appeals).
You were awarded the prestigious Inter-Pacific Bar Association Scholarship in the ‘Young Lawyers’ category for 2020/2021. Could you briefly tell us about the selection criteria, application process and benefits for young lawyers seeking to apply for the prestigious scholarship?
The IPBA Scholarships for the Young Lawyers category (> 35 years) has quite a competitive selection process. IPBA comes out with application brochures for the scholarship every year and the application process requires you to submit your professional / academic credentials, work experience, recommendations, achievements etc. The applicant also needs to submit an essay elaborating in detail as to why such candidate should be selected for the scholarship. The scholarship was awarded to 8 candidates globally in the year I applied.
The Scholarship opens up doors for the scholar to the IPBA network, its programs and committees which consists of lawyers from all over the world. IPBA has 24 specialist committees where you can engage and participate on a regular basis. Additionally, events organized by IPBA such the Annual General Conference are some of the most sought-after law related events global events presently. The scholarship gives to sponsored and specialized access to all these events and programs and accordingly helps in integrating your presence with the global legal community. IPBA usually selects only one scholar from India and accordingly, the scholar becomes a representative of India amongst a select group of practitioners from around the world.
Many Congratulations on joining the BW Legal World Elite 30 Under 30 Club of Achievers 2021. What to your mind has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?
I feel that law being such a labor-intensive profession, you should only pursue a field that you really find interesting and engaging, be it litigation or corporate or policy work. It is not a breakout profession and requires continuous effort and hard work over a substantial period of time, and accordingly, you should only pursue a field, to the extent practically possible, where you see yourself continuing for a sustained period of time.
As a final note, would you please recommend to our readers your favorite book that left a lasting impression on you?
I can’t think of a favorite book but a really good book I recently read was ‘Doing Justice’ by Preet Bharara and would surely recommend it.