Ajay Awasthi, a litigator practicing in the Supreme Court of India, spoke to the firm’s young associates on the ‘Art of Brief Preparation for Arguments’ in an interactive webinar organized by ALG on July 24, 2020. Ajay has previously worked in the chambers of Senior Advocates Mr. Pravin H. Parekh and Mr. Ram Jethmalani.
He shared practical pointers on factors to be kept in mind while arguing a matter before the court, including the manner in which to maintain one’s brief, with all orders and applications maintained chronologically, with flags and pagination to enable speedy identification of the right documents while arguing.
He shared with the audience that the brief must be read cover to cover, with a critical approach, and that one should try to anticipate as much as possible the arguments that may be raised by the opposite party or the court. He mentioned how in his experience reading the brief multiple times can help discovering fresh aspects.
Ajay mentioned that the importance of thorough research could not be over emphasised, particularly the importance of ensuring familiarity with all case laws which may potentially support the other side’s case. He talked about how best to present one’s arguments in the limited time that may be available, and how one can be well-prepared.
He also shared some interesting anecdotes from his own years in Court, and shared his views on the challenges anticipated in virtual cross-examinations in video conferencing hearings, including the possibilities of witness tutoring.
ALG thanks Ajay for taking out the time to share his thoughts and experiences.
Chhavi Jain, Legal Manager at Havells India Limited, spoke on ‘Unlocking the Expectations of an In-House Counsel’ in an interactive webinar session organized by ALG on June 20, 2020.
Chhavi, who handles Havells’ IP portfolio, extensively discussed the modalities and challenges of managing an IP portfolio and how to effectively meet the expectations of an in-house counsel by external counsels/ attorneys.
Detailing the roles and responsibilities of an in-house IP counsels, she also threw some light on the significance of brainstorming and sensitizing the product and design team(s) of a company about IP protection. She added that external counsels, who possess knowledge about the latest cross-industry and judicial trends, also play a key role in identification of IP in the developed product.
Chhavi also pointed out that timely and effective communications from the external counsels always helps in addressing and solving issues, meeting the deadlines, etc. Effective communication entails using indicative and intuitive subject lines for emails, providing clear and concise opinions, sending timely reminders and sending quarterly status reports. These pointers served as important takeaways for ALG’s attorneys who frequently interact with in-house counsels.
The importance of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in streamlining workflow was also stressed upon. SOPs which also define the roles to be played by external counsels, are useful for effective time management.
A clear understanding of brand positioning and knowledge sharing by external counsels also serve as important catalysts for a company’s success.
Chhavi concluded her speech by pointing that “…external counsels and in-house counsels…can…achieve the desired result by working together and complementing each other”.
She also fielded some interesting questions raised by ALG’s attorneys. Regarding the role of external counsels in decision making, she informed that while companies do not micromanage routine prosecution matters, they play a bigger role in high stakes matters like litigation actions. She also shared that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a decrease in litigation and an increase in amicable dispute resolution.