In Conversation With Chirag Dhananjay Naik Vice President MZM Legal | Media Pyro


Part of the 30 under 30 BW Legal World’s Best Lawyers and Legal Professionals 2021 club of high achievers, Chirag Dhananjay Naik serves as Chief Executive Officer at MZM Legal LLP. A white criminologist, he wants law schools to include courses on money laundering.

Tell us a story about yourself. Why did you choose law? And how was the law school experience?

I am a graduate of Symbiosis Law School, Pune. My decision to study law was at the last minute. I had the opportunity to participate in different programs across streams. Legal form is the best. My experience studying law was very inspiring. I was at a dynamic law school in a very beautiful and student-friendly city. Our law school has opportunities and resources to accommodate all interests. I spent a lot of time working in Student Council and cells like Human Rights Cell, Legal Aid & Literacy Cell, Placement Cell etc.

Eventually I went on to head the council’s Co-curricular Committee and our annual conference (Pune’s largest) Executive Committee. These are early lessons not only in law but also in administration. The College was committed to mooting and handling internal mooting cancellations. I had an opportunity to visit RMLNLU for its International Media Moot Court Competition. Overall, college really introduced me to the legal world and some of the best minds on the course—fellows, seniors, and faculty.

If you could recommend one reform in the legal education system, what would it be?

One reform that I can think of in the legal education system in India is to reform the course to focus more on including courses in the areas of Financial Services, Taxation and Finance.

Please tell us about your expertise and the range of activities you manage in your business?

My practice area is related to white criminal defense, law enforcement, government surveillance, IT law and law enforcement issues.

I regularly work and advise on high-profile criminal investigations initiated by India’s premier investigative agencies viz. the Central Bureau of Investigation (“CBI”), the Enforcement Directorate (“ED”) and the SFIO (“SFIO”) and government agencies – the Economic Intelligence Wings (“EOWs”) and Anti-Corruption Bureaus (“ACBs”).

I have had the privilege of representing clients in various courts ranging from trial courts to the Supreme Court of India. At MZM Legal, I have gained extensive cross-border litigation experience involving corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, cybercrime, fraud, employment, black money, undeclared foreign assets , corporate governance, corruption, foreign exchange control, sexual harassment, etc. In addition, I have conducted various internal investigations of public corporations.

What advice would you give to law students looking for the best internships in their field?

My advice is that you go and visit the lawyers/lawyers/judges/administrators in addition to emailing them. There is no substitute for that. Emails make communication very easy, but of course all law enforcement agencies and organizations receive a lot of emails. Organizations with small HR functions may not be able to go through all the steps. Here, I would like to give a personal example.

With the exception of one, all of my internships were obtained through personal experience and follow-up. I enrolled every break in college and never worked in the same workplace again until I joined my current career, where I was assigned a PPO. Even though there is no opportunity, most of the senior lawyers and office bearers are encouraging me every time and I always respond with a couple of pennies and guidance. This will help you gain confidence and allow you to focus on where you want to work.

Investigative agencies are involved in attorney-client relationships. What are your thoughts on this matter?

This is a complex and growing issue. In my opinion, the benefit in the circumstances is most likely to support work results (including advice of any kind), attorney-client communications, and any other related advice. to the personal knowledge of the client. “There is a misconception among many clients that materials related to a case, including original documents held by the attorney, are also covered by the attorney-client privilege. This is not what it looks like.” On the other hand, there are important issues related to investigations and prosecutions across the country that I believe need to be addressed as soon as possible:

  1. There are no formal guidelines for reviewing data captured by duplicating servers, hard disks, pen drives etc.

  1. Treatment of communications with external domestic consultants. While it is clear that attorney-client privilege does not extend to in-house counsel in India, the same is not true of in-house counsel abroad.

  1. When investigating a lawyer for alleged criminal wrongdoing, investigative agencies look at the details of all cases involving a client. This is a serious violation of the attorney-client privilege.

Thank you so much for joining the BW Legal World Elite 30 Under 30 Club of Achievers 2021. What do you think helped you get to where you are and what advice do you have for others? Want to go the same way?

I am honored and grateful to be included in such a prestigious club. I believe that the best decision is to choose a career based on what I like, rather than thinking about sales or returns from the industry. I was very fortunate to find a good mentor in my managing partner, Mr Zulfiquar Memon, who harnessed my potential, gave me perspective and trusted me with the best available powers. It is very important to have a good mentor.

I really enjoy going to work every day and look forward to working with my colleagues to take on the challenge ahead of us. Building good relationships with your colleagues (including clerks and support staff) and relationships with lawyers inside and outside your organization is a big plus – something everyone can learn from. This business is a partnership. Last, but not least, is to work hard (day in and day out) and commit to the case at hand.

On a final note, would you recommend to our readers your favorite book?

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari


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