Interview with Mr. Vivek Singh, In House Counsel at Oil India Limited.

Questions for the purpose of Interview

Q. Kindly introduce yourself. Your early education and all?

Firstly, I would like to thanks, team for giving me this opportunity to share my views. My name is Vivek Singh and I am a Senior Legal Officer in Oil India Limited.  I was born and brought up in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh and completed my schoolings from Saraswati Vidhya Mandir, Kanpur. Being a science student, I wanted to be an Engineer. I was eagerly pursuing to get into IITs. However, I could not crack the exam. Thereafter, my father told me about five-year law courses which appealed to me.  So, I sought and gained admission to ICFAI University, Dehradun. After taking admission in BBA/LL.B course, I realized that I had taken a good decision.

After graduating in 2016, I got a campus placement in CGC Partner Law Firm where I worked for six months. Thereafter I decided to go for LL.M. I appeared in the LL.M entrance exam of BHU & DU and got selected in both Universities for LL.M. However, I joined Delhi University because I wanted to stay in Delhi for PSUs preparations.

Q. When do you started preparing for CLAT PG?

I started preparing by the time I joined Delhi University for LL.M where I met few of my seniors already selected and working in different PSUs and few were waiting for their job letters in the same. They guided and motivated me throughout my CLAT PG preparation. I was preparing CLAT PG only to secure a good rank so that I could get into the PSUs to work as In-house Legal counsel.

Q. Mode of your study? Any coaching or self-study?

I personally believe that consistent hard work leads to success. It’s all about better planning with a lot of precision in your preparation. We should always be responsible for what we need to do and perform them to the best of our abilities.

I did not take any coaching for CLAT PG. I prepared notes for each subject from various sources keeping in mind the syllabus of the exam and previous years’ question papers asked in CLAT PG and other LL.M. exams.

This exam does not require any special coaching. If the candidate is diligently reading books, Bare Act and Guides and has prepared his own notes, he can easily make it through.

Q. What was your preparation strategy? Please do mention which books do you refer to and your timetable for the preparation.

One of the best ways to prepare for any examinations to analyzed exam patterns and previous years’ question papers and accordingly frame the strategy.  My strategy divided into three phases

Phrase-I to revise core subjects like Constitution, Tort, Contract law, Jurisprudence, etc.

Phrase-II   To make own notes for quick reference in view of CLAT.

Phrase-III To solved as much MCQs as possible from various sources.

For this examination, first of all, I have cleared the basic concepts of core law subjects for which I referred good law books and question answers series of Singhal Law Publication and Ascent Law Publication (list of books provided in suggesting a book, Colum). My advice to the aspirants is to start preparing from these books so that you will able to clear your basic knowledge of core law subjects.

Once I have completed phase –I of my strategy, I focused on preparing my own short notes from the below-mentioned suggested books. Your own short notes are very important especially for revision at the eleventh hours of your exam.

For the CLAT PG exam, you must have a strong command over MCQs. In MCQs, you have to choose a suitable answer for that you need to practice and practice a lot so to clear your conceptual knowledge over MCQs from various available books.

Q. What are your responsibilities as a senior officer of the legal department at Oil Inidia?

Presently, I am posted at the corporate office, Noida. The work at the corporate office is varied & demanding. I look after vetting of contract i.e joint operating Agreement, Production sharing contract, concession agreement, MoUs etc., handling of Arbitration matters and court cases, drafting of various legal instruments, providing legal opinion to different departments as and when required, to prepare replies/counter-affidavits and to attend negotiation meetings etc.

Adding to the above, I also look after compliances of the company like preparing agenda & Board notes on Quarterly basis and presenting the same before the Board of Directors.

I owe my professional learnings much to my senior colleagues, mostly to my boss Mr. Saroj Kumar Senapati, CGM-Legal and Mrs. Kumudani Sharma, DGM-Legal. Overall, legal experience so far has been good. The work culture of the legal department at OIL is varied and different from other PSUs. Every day is a new challenge and comes with complex issues with lots of opportunities to learn something new.

Q. What are the Challenges of working as in-house counsel at PSU?

Being a fresher and having no practical experience in the Oil and Gas Sector, it was quite challenging for me to understand the type of work for the first months. But the seniors never made us feel any less and treated us at par with them. They gave me guidance wherever I required.

With the increasing litigation and active litigants, the role of in-house Legal counsel has been changed and plays a very vital role in any Business organization. As legal counsel, our job is not only to defend the organization but also to save it from unwanted litigations because litigation is very expensive and time taking. Handling Arbitration matters and court cases on daily basis and ensuring that proper representation is made in each and every case is our first and foremost job. We also have to ensure that our representation filed on time without any delay. These days PSUs are focusing on preventive litigations and strives to protect his interest by way of proper legal vetting through their legal department. Moreover, you need to tender potential advice to your organization in a hundred and thousand crores matters and soliciting them in the court of law. That is a huge challenge in itself and requires in-house counsel to go thorough & being well versed with the company’s various policies, guidelines, rules and regulations.

Tips from your side to students?

This exam requires constant hard work with proper planning throughout the preparations. Aspirants should have their own strategy and stick to it. They need to stay focused on their goal and should remain detached from any distractions. I personally believed that hard work never goes in vain. Believe in God and believe in yourself.

Thank you!