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In Conversation with Neha Singh, Aviation Lawyer

We interviewed Ms. Neha Singh who is currently working as a Senior Legal Counsel in the Procurement & Finance dept. at The Flynas Company. Over the career of 12 years, Ms. Singh has worked in various fields of law like Arbitration, Corporate litigation, Negotiations as well as Business Development. Recently, she was recognized as one of the leading aviation lawyers in India – Rising Star & Next Generation Lawyer in aviation (Legal 500)
Ms. Singh says law has always been her first choice of career and today, excelling in the filed as an aviation lawyers demands attention to her skills and knowledge.
Apoorva Mehta, Executive Manager at Legal Desire had an insightful conversation with Ms. Singh about her experience in the field of Aviation Law, Arbitration and much more.

Q- Can you please introduce yourself to our readers? 
I am a tenured lawyer with extensive experience in multiple facets of corporate law, as well as business development and relationship management with different stakeholders including company leadership, senior counsels and government agencies. 
I have been practicing for about 13 years and have delivered successfully on negotiations, arbitration, drafting opinions and contracts for multi-million deals/projects for multiple multinational and Indian clientele. I have been more specifically been associated with aviation and have worked in this particular vertical for over a decade and with players in the entire aviation value chain and ecosystem on deal structuring, litigation, insolvency, regulatory, compliance, policy making and enforcements.

Q- How was your law school experience and how do you think it is different for law students now?
Graduating from Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi was a holistic and a motivating experience. Whilst the Campus gives a feeling of being a little slow paced –it requires the students to remain rooted in legal dynamics, through workshops, societies, competitions, internships etc which process gave us, as lawyers, sufficient time to devise our own assessment of legal situation. 
I guess the basis still remains the same, though the students now have to deal with an overload of information and analyses. Having said that, with the changes in the domestic and the international framework, there is an immense growth in opportunity that the students would benefit from.

Q- Do you think India is Arbitration ready?
Any legal system that is overloaded and / or facing issues relating to efficiency should adopt alternative dispute resolution. Indian legal framework is quiet evolved – various amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act have been made with an aim to make the process efficient and progressive – be it post award interim relief or choice of two Indian parties to have a foreign seat of arbitration etc. Arbitration or any form of ADR would work great for India and save the litigators a lot of time and money, if the mechanism is transparent and the process effective. 

Q- Where did your interest in Aviation begin? 
Aviation was one of the most important practice area of the Firm I was associated with and to thus transition into it was not very difficult. The interest however began when Kingfisher went down in 2012. It is at this point that I saw convergence and play of international interest and domestic interest, the applicability of international conventions, negotiations with the government of India and endless court battles. This is a niche practice with not so many opportunities available, how do you think a student should move forward on this career path?
I do advise this to all students who are transitioning into work sphere. It is very important that one experiences some basic aspects of law  – general corporate, litigation, ADR etc., before deciding a particular practice one would like to focus on and cultivate. 

Q- Do you think India has enough regulations to tackle the environmental impact of the aviation industry?
India is the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide and whilst I do not think that Indian regulations are sufficient to tackle environmental impact that aviation may have, but the effect of such pollution cannot be geographically limited. India is committed to reducing its carbon emissions to Net0 by 2070.

Q- What does a typical day of Aviation Lawyer look like?
Large part of a typical day is loaded with paperwork and negotiation, liaising and coordination and resolution.
Q- How has your journey been from a Law student to a Rising Star & Next Generation Lawyer in aviation?
One full of challenges which helped me grow and also diversify. In a journey however what also matters are the people that we work with and I must add that I have worked with some good people.
The journey however, is unfinished and there is a lot more to learn, cultivate and create.

Q- What advice would you give to upcoming lawyers and law students?
Believe in your instincts – nothing is difficult if you set your goal!!!

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