Adv. Amit Karkhanis is a Partner at Kay Legal and Associates LLP, one of the few firms in India that holds expertise in Surrogacy Laws. Kay Legal and Associates LLP specializes in areas of Intellectual Property Rights, medico-legal issues and UK Visa Advisory in addition to International Law, WTO and GATT Laws, Corporate and Commercial Laws, Property and Real Estate, Information Technology and Telecommunications and Alternative Disputes Redressal.

Adv. Karkhanis heads the firm having over 17 years of experience in major practice areas. He has extensive knowledge in the areas of medico-legal laws, surrogacy laws, IPR and civil laws. Adv. Karkhanis has successfully and rightly so created a reputation among his clients and his peers for being focused, knowledgeable, reliable and confident and is widely acknowledged for being one of the foremost lawyers in India.

Adv. Karkhanis completed LLB from the reputed Government Law College, Mumbai and successfully did his LLM from University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom in International Trade Laws and wrote a thesis on ‘The TRIPS Agreement and its Impact on the Pharma Sector in India’.
He has been kind enough to share his journey with us and guide law students on how to navigate the recruitment process.

1) How would you introduce yourself?
I would introduce myself as Adv Amit Karkhanis, involved in areas of medico-legal issues, surrogacy laws, IPR and civil laws. I think I call myself a strict yet flexible boss and a good mentor.

2) You are a Partner at Kay Legal and Associates since 2006. What did you do prior to that?
Prior to starting Kay Legal and Associates, I worked with Dave and Girish and Co., Mulla and Mulla and Hariani and Co.

3) Kay Legal is one of the few firms that deals with Surrogacy Laws. What are your views on the Surrogacy Bill, 2016?
Honestly, the Surrogacy Bill, 2016 is a demon in the making. A lot of people have been commenting on the proposed laws without knowing much into the field or without considering the entire and the bigger picture.

Having handled more than 300 cases of surrogacy for over a decade, my first reaction about the proposed Surrogacy Bill was not shock, as I was anticipating this from the present government. It is unfortunate that the government has missed a historical opportunity to regularise the surrogacy industry in a positive and a robust manner and has made it rather regressive and backward.

It is unfortunate that the government has overlooked the right of single parents, and live-in couples. In this day and age where alternative forms of relationships are being considered, this bill has been adverse.

Further, the Domestic Violence Act categorically recognizes live-in relationships and protects the women in such relationships, but on the other hand the new proposed bill takes away the fundamental right of procreation. I strongly feel that depriving single parents of having a child via surrogacy is nothing short of violating the fundamental right of an Indian citizen guaranteed under the Constitution of India.

The government, through this bill, is forcing people to get married, in case they desire to become parents. The height of absurdity is that a couple has to be married for 5 years to avail surrogacy. If the couple detects infertility within the first year of marriage, they have to wait for four more years to become parents, thus adding insult to the injury.

This may further lead to a rise in divorce, as the patience may die out and the frustration might lead to the breakdown of a marriage. The only hope I have is that the draft bill shall be presented to the Joint Parliamentary Committee wherein healthy discussions and debates may lead them to consider certain contentions and change the draft. (You may also refer to the column published by me in Mid-Day)

4) Your advice to students who want to venture into unconventional streams such as medico-legal or surrogacy law? How should they go about it?
Any new and upcoming field in law undergoes through a lot of change all the time. So primarily anybody who wishes to enter or specialize in such streams must understand the field and know if they can fit in.

The knowledge of law does not end with a degree in hand. In fact that is precisely when one begins to learn law in the true sense. Anybody who wishes to specialize into unconventional streams must have an aptitude to learn new laws.

5) What is the work environment like at Kay Legal and Associates LLP?
Law as a profession and Lawyers as professionals tend to get stressed given the nature of work and deadlines. As lawyers, we are among disputing parties all day and trying to solve the problems of people, within the court as a court case or outside the court as an out-of-court settlement.

Owing to this, we at Kay Legal try to maintain our balance. All the lawyers working with us are very dedicated and tend to make work their life. A lot of our employees are engaged in extra-curricular activities.

We encourage them to continue doing so on their off-days so that they can start off the new week with a fresh mind. To sum it up, it is a friendly workplace with a sincere effort on our part at not being a corporate office like environment.

6) What is the process of recruitment at Kay Legal and Associates LLP?
We do not conduct Campus recruitments. In fact we have never felt the need to conduct recruitments since time and again interested and genuine candidates have approached us.

7) What areas of law should a candidate be thorough with before applying at Kay Legal and Associates LLP?
There is no specific area of specialization in law that we look at in a candidate. But knowledge of procedural law always has an added advantage. When a fresher is applying at our firm, we understand that he may have only theoretical knowledge of the law. What we consider is the presence of mind of the candidate and his/her ability to think on their legs in situations that demand it. Common sense and good language skills, is how I would put it.

8) Is there a college preference while recruiting? Do you prefer candidates that come through reference?
Since we do not conduct campus recruitment, there is no college preference. But even while considering a candidate, the college of that candidate is never a criterion since we believe that the ability and the capability of candidates depends solely on their willingness towards learning and not on the college that they attend.

9) Would you prefer a CV of a topper or a CV that boasts of extra-curricular achievements such as moot court and paper publications?
A balance of both is good. But toppers are not a requirement.

10) What do you expect from a candidate during an interview process? Any answer you have been particularly impressed with?
I expect my candidates to know current affairs and I make sure of the same in every interview. Law is a very dynamic profession so it is very important to know and be in sync with what is happening around.

11) Any advice to interns at Kay Legal and Associates LLP on how to ace it in order to get a call back?
In an intern and all our employees, I wish to see a willingness to learn and dedication towards their profession. And that would be my advice to any intern if they want to get a call back.

12) Is Kay Legal and Associates recruiting presently? Where should candidates looking for a job/internship opportunities apply?
For the current year we are not hiring. All our positions are full.

13) Any other words of wisdom to law students gearing up for the recruitment process?
Recruitments can be a trying time for students. My advice to them would only be that one must keep their calm. Stressing out has helped no one. One must be true to knowing what they are looking for before grabbing any job opportunity that comes their way.

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