Law and Public Policy are extremely interesting fields to work on, because they require an inter-disciplinary perspective to address multiple challenges in the society!
Srishti Saxena, our next pathbreaker, works in a public policy consulting firm, analyzing laws and public policies with respect to technology, and their impact.
Srishti talks to Shyam Krishnamurthy from The Interview Portal about her diverse experiences in Judicial Services, Corporates, the Government, and the Social Sector, and her eventual transition to a career in Public Policy.
For students, keep upskilling yourself with additional knowledge; you should not be averse to taking calculated risks and embracing change !
Srishti, Your background?
My father was in the Army, and so I had the opportunity to grow up all over India. I studied in 11 schools and finally decided to pursue law from the Army Institute of Law, Mohali. My mother is an educationist. She was a teacher for more than 20 years after which she donned the hat of an entrepreneur.
What did you do for graduation/post graduation?
I did B.A.LLB from Army Institute of Law, Mohali
What made you choose such an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career?
I have always been fascinated with the law since my school days, which still continues. The fascination started when I read about the Constitution of India in my social science class. Post-class 12th when everyone advised me to pursue a professional course, law became a natural choice.
How did you plan the steps to get into the career you wanted? Or how did you make a transition to a new career? Tell us about your career path
In terms of a career in law, I have tried a lot of different aspects. I started my journey in litigation, then worked with ministries such as the Ministry of Law & Justice, the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, and the Ministry of Shipping, post which I started working as an in-house counsel and recently started working in the field of public policy. In between, I also tried for judicial services. Whichever the role is, I keep enhancing my knowledge through courses and certifications.
As an advocate, I would practice in courts on a wide range of issues. I was assisting my seniors in courts and at the same time taking up some cases of my own. I also worked in ministries, where my work mostly related to analysis and drafting of various policies of the Government, managing litigation for the Government departments (preparing comments, tracking comments etc.). The transitions were not tough for me as in my earlier role I was doing some part of what was expected out of me in the next role, so I sort of built up on the next. Other transitions were similar for me.
I pursued courses in business law and cyber law which gave me a foundation of the subject. The knowledge came in handy in some of my interviews and work in the early stages.
How did you get your first break?
I got my first break through internships. I had interned in an office and thereafter was offered a position in the office upon completion of my law.
What were some of the challenges you faced? How did you address them?
Challenge 1: Being a first-generation lawyer. I did a lot of internships and courses to address this.
Where do you work now? Can you talk about your role in Public Policy?
I am working in a public policy consulting firm. It gives me an opportunity to work on law and public policy with respect to technology. Any given day would be filled with research, thought-provoking discussions on policy matters and their impact.
Lawyers in public policy are equipped with an understanding of laws and analyzing policies. It is a challenging role as you approach any policy or problem at hand from an inter-disciplinary angle while you analyze and work on policy issues in any given sector. My experience of law and working with the Government of India help me in a more comprehensive analysis of the situation.
How does your work benefit society?
Both law and public policy are extremely interesting fields to work on. A combination of both equips you to solve multiple challenges in society. An understanding of the law and how the Government works can help one impactfully raise issues in the right forum. The solutions that you find are not limited to social issues. You can apply the skill set for Corporates, the Government, and the Social Sector.
Tell us an example of a specific memorable work you did that is very close to you!
When I was working as an in-house lawyer. I negotiated the agreement with a diverse set of stakeholders with divergent views to finally lead them to agree to a single agreement to be signed by nearly 70 odd companies. This was one of the most interesting experiences that I have had.
Your advice to students based on your experience?
In my experience, you should not be averse to taking calculated risks and embracing change. Some people get it right in the first go and some people have to try multiple things to get the right match. So one has to keep trying and upskilling oneself.
I plan to appear for CPIM and CIPP/E (Certifications on privacy) this year.