By: Megha BenganiClass of: 2018 College: Trevelyan College Subject: LLB (Bachelors of Law) Location: Kolkata, India
Your Durham Inspiration
Do you remember why you first chose to study at Durham?
I chose to study at Durham because at the time all the sitting Supreme Court Justices had either studied Oxford, Cambridge or Durham. This made me realize the cultural and traditional significance of Durham. Further, it was a very well ranked law program and offered a wide range of subjects to suit various interests. It also had a running pro bono program which was also intriguing for me.
Tell us about any sports, societies or clubs you were involved in at Durham.
Speakers Officer for Durham University United Nations Society (2016–2018)
Vice President of Durham University Pro-Bono Society (2016-2017)
Feature Editor (Asia) for the Durham University Pro Bono Blog (2015-2016)
Chair for the Legal Committee at DurMUN’17.
Delegate of the South - West African People’s Organisation for the Historical Security Council Committee at DurMUN’16.
Elected member of the Junior Common Room Committee and the Durham Students Union Committee of Trevelyan College, Durham University, 2015-2016.
What work or moment were you most proud of at Durham?
Two moments come to mind: 1) When I received the Trevelyan College First-Year Trust Award for academic excellence, 2016. This was on the basis of my performance in the First Year and all winners of the Award were given a blue button to be stitched on the sleeves of our black robes. It was quite surreal to receive that Award. 2) When I received 1st position in Public International Law (Colin and Romey Warbrick Prize), 2017. It was one of the most challenging modules I had studied at university so it was very memorable for me to receive this Award.
What are your fondest memories from your time here?
One of my fondest memories has to be on the last day of my third-year exams. I had two examinations on that day - Intellectual Property Law and Jurisprudence. When I got done with my last exam for the day, jurisprudence, and I stepped out of the exam hall (which was at Hild Bede), all my friends were waiting for me outside and they opened a bottle of champagne on my face. It was truly a great end to a very stressful day. Another fond memory is when I was organizing the pro bono social as vice president of the Pro Bono Society. It was organized at a very low budget and it was at the Library Bar and had a great turnout. The event received a lot of traction from law students and was a success. Of course there are countless such memories. Many group study sessions. spending all-nighters at the library with my friends I can really go on and on about this, but I'll just leave at this for now.
How has Durham inspired you to get to where you are today?
Durham inspired me to always stick to tradition, wherever one is, and never forget my roots and my history. It is very important to adapt with the times and keep oneself updated but it also important to stay true to one's traditional existence. Durham, in every sense, stands testimony to this modern and updated and yet culturally rooted existence, which is very inspiring.
What have you been up to since you left Durham?
Once I left Durham, I took my conversion exam and Bar exam to qualify as an Advocate in India. Thereafter, I have been working as an Associate at a Litigation Boutique and I predominantly practice in the domain of commercial litigation.
What are you doing that is most meaningful to you now?
I enjoy writing and I am trying to start a blog very soon. This for me is very exciting and meaningful as I want to reach out to and share my thoughts with as many people as I can. I hope that it would be of some help and assistance to the readers as they channel their way through life.
Is there anything from Durham that has stayed with you and still inspires you now?
Durham holds a special place for me and it always will. Everything I have learnt at Durham stays with me and continues to inspire me. I am constantly taking cues from my experience at Durham to navigate my current decisions.
Tell us about your latest news or developments.
I am currently working as an Associate in Delhi (India) in commercial litigation. I just completed two years in the profession in April 2021. I am working on my blog and also exploring independent work in Kolkata (which the city I am residing in currently).
I love to read, I have been reading a lot of fiction lately. I also enjoy writing and travelling. I am also learning how to play squash.
Pass It On
What would be your top piece of advice for current students and/or recent graduates?
Learn as much as you can about the area in which you want to work. Take up internships, audit classes at the University and take control of your education. Recent graduates should always be updated with the current news and developments in their area/domain of work. This may sound basic but its importance cannot be stated enough. Knowing about current affairs doesn't mean knowing the headline, but it means being able to have an informed discussion on the topic.
Is there anything that you know now that you wish you'd known when graduating?
That staying connected with people who went to university with or interacted with during work placements etc goes a long way.