Mr. Tariq Khan is the youngest BW (Business World) Legal 40 under 40, 2020 and also featured in Fortune 500 (India) magazine (Special Issue, 2017-2018) for authoring the best seller book “On the Rise”. He is frequently invited to speak in various law conferences and events by domestic bar associations, law schools, alternative dispute resolution centres amongst other organisations. He has been teaching arbitration as a guest faculty for the past six years in some of the prominent law schools of India. He is also a writer and a columnist having more than 50 publications to his credit in various journals, magazines and popular legal news portals.
1- To your perspective, what is the ideal development of a law student during his primal years of university and what should they do to expand and polish their skills?
My advice to others would be to get rid of all the negativity around you, some people in our lives act like anchors that are constantly trying to slow us down, cut them lose. Live in your present and plan the future because if you carry the burden of past negativities/unpleasant memories and recall them, then your downfall is inevitable. Always remember that the greatest successes come from having the freedom to fail and by keeping your mind on the objective, not on the obstacle. Keep in mind, success is the best revenge.
Reading definitely helps! In my free time I see speeches/videos of the legends of law and learn from them and I read judgments of my role model centenarian Justice Krishna Iyer who possessed hoarded wealth of a vast vocabulary which helps me in writing articles and has also improved my legal lexicon over the period of time. Keep yourself updated with recent developments in law that can easily be done by following legal news portals.
Also, “Mooting” broadens the horizon of law students and provides them with a platform wherein they can learn, grow, work in new environments and of course travel and meet new people. It is the most enriching activity that gives law students a firsthand knowledge of being a lawyer. It’s a platform for the law students to polish their rhetoric and research skills. Internships also play a very vital role in making you a better professional. Another important aspect is building a strong CV. A well put CV highlighting a student’s expertise with focus on a particular area of law, impresses law firms. An effective cover letter also plays a major role.
2- Can you talk about what impacted you academically in your career path?
When I shifted from my hometown to New Delhi, I faced various issues especially because I did not have command over the English language. I pursued Science with computers in high school to become an engineer without much interest in any of the subjects; I didn’t perform well in school and neither in the entrance exams. With terrible scores, I started exploring part time jobs. That’s when my father suggested me to do law. Incidentally, I wasn’t keen on pursuing law as a career as I had stage fright and did not have much command over English language. Reluctantly, I joined Faculty of Law, Jamia Millia Islamia at the age of 18 amidst challenging economic circumstances. To outdo myself, I would participate in debates and other co-curricular activities and eventually became the Convener for my college’s Literary and Debating Society.
Enthusiasm moves the world. Coming from a humble background myself, I wanted to set an example and encourage other students who are first generation lawyers and not from a prominent law college. Inspiring others by learning more and doing more has been my endeavor. As I set goals in my life, I understood the value of time and worked towards my goal every single day. Every achievement motivated me to do better and set the next target. My energy has been my biggest driving force and I have always strived to outdo myself, to grow up and increase knowledge.
3- If you had the opportunity to go back to university, is there something you would change?
At Jamia Milia Islamia, I got the opportunity to participate in Oxford Price Media Moot Court Competition and my team was the twelfth Best Team of South East Asia. This was the first time Jamia participated in Oxford Price Media International Moot. I was an avid debater in college and won in various national debate competitions. As the president of the debating society of my college, I organized the first Jamia National Parliamentary Debate and also worked as the Coordinator for Internship and Placement Committee. I got to try my hands on a lot of different co-curricular activities and hence have a lot of learning from my law school journey, which I am grateful for. However, if I am given an opportunity, I would like to go back in time and do some international publications and also do some international internships with law firms as that would give me an international exposure which I have been deprived of.
4- LinkedIn is of great importance in the legal industry. Most people set up their network through LinkedIn. What advice would you give law students to improve their networks while using this social media?
Having a “LinkedIn” profile with around 12000 followers, not only connects me with professionals from India, but all over the globe including Singapore, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, UAE, USA, Germany and France. I frequently post legal updates and motivational posts for students pursuing law or those who have freshly graduated and also share lecture videos on the platform. During the COVID lockdown, I was active in maintaining and growing my network by delivering webinars and sharing the same on LinkedIn on various aspects of law to different groups including start-ups, bureaucrats and students. I strongly believe that LinkedIn not only a powerful networking medium but also a platform for translating vision.
The idea behind any post I share is to bring in a positive change and motive others to do better especially in these dire times of COVID, where employment is on an all-time downfall. All my posts, with a reach about 50000 views across the globe, have been widely appreciated and I have received much admiration for the same.
Everyday my inbox is flooded with messages from curious young minds who feel that there is a dead end in their career. It has been my endeavor to help each and every person approaching me and guide them to the best of my ability, as a result of which many of them have been able to secure jobs, internships or achieve their goals in life. I feel this is how I am making a change and contributing my bit in the society as after all, there is no meaning to life which is not lived for others.
Students should use it as an effective networking tool and also post good content which will give them the much needed attention from the industry experts.
5- Many students start practicing law without any work experience. In this difficult process, many of them face problems such as stress and anxiety disorders. What kind of suggestions would you make to reduce this impact of business life on young people?
When passion is a prison, you can’t break free. Speaking for myself, whenever I get the time, I pursue my hobby which is travel. I am an epicure and I love to travel. Having even an hour to yourself during the day can help you unwind and feel energized. In your ‘Me’ time, stick to doing what makes you the happiest – be it hitting the gym, taking a walk in the park, dancing like no one is watching, playing with a pet, or simply going out with friends and most importantly spending time with the family!
6- The law keeps pace with the developing technology and develops with it. Fields such as intellectual property law, personal data protection law, information technology law have come to the fore in recent years. What do you think about the future of law?
I feel that technology and other aspects shall bring in a lot of changes in law as well. It is important for legal professionals to upkeep themselves with technology and build their expertise in this area by way of research and analysis as that will eventually serve as harbingers of change in the courts as well. We have seen this change happening when courts became virtual. Future of justice and the law is going to be influenced by technology. Lawyers and judges will need to be technologically equipped and artificial intelligence will play a major role in justice delivery system.