Republished from A First Taste of Law archives.
After a long time, I decided to take an interview. Let me introduce Ankit Dhadda, the founder of GyanCentral which has started to become a common destination for many law students and law aspirants. GyanCentral also caters to engineering students and covers news with respect to law schools, IITs, and other engineering colleges. Ankit has ambitious plans with respect to GyanCentral (GC). He regularly interacts with law students and aspirants – so I quizzed him a bit on that. Let me know what you guys think of this interview.
Let’s talk to Ankit.
Q. Please tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from and what did you study? Did you work anywhere before starting Gyancentral?
Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I had a lot of career options to choose from. I was always interested in technology and advertising. After doing my bachelor’s in management, I followed the routine path of pursuing an MBA degree. Fortunately for me I did not indulge in academic learning and concentrated on traveling to different cities and participating in various competitions. After passing out of NMIMS, I worked in a seed/angel investment company as an entrepreneur in residence and thus GyanCentral was born.
Q. How did you decide to become an entrepreneur? How did you think of starting GC?
I was on the investment side of the business when I saw a huge opportunity in education information and products and hence decided to take the plunge. Investing in startups gave me a perspective of how to go about starting a company but my non-technical background was a big handicap. In the past year, I have focused on learning the technology (though I still can’t code) and that has helped me leaps and bounds in providing better value to users.
Q. If you ok to disclose, what are your future plans for law students as far as GC is concerned? What is the gap you are trying to address?
The gap that we seek to address is available as information and tools for law students and aspirants. We focus a lot on editorial content and stories. We were the first ones to address the issue of CLAT 2012 paper concerns for students by interviewing the convener and called for collective action. We also covered every law entrance exam in detail.
Apart from content, we have also developed an online platform for students to give free online tests called TestCentral. The purpose is to help students who do not go for coaching classes and augment practice for those who have the luxury of training institutes.
We are also developing video tutorials for law aspirants and students and have a CLAT mentorship program underway for students on the forums.
Our aim is to serve students.
Q. Will you ever hire law students for working with Gyancentral? How do you think they can help Gyancentral’s initiative if they want to contribute?
We started just a year ago, hence we have not actively hired law, students. However, in the coming months we are looking to hire law students and interns. We want law students who are passionate about legal education in India and want to contribute towards improving it. The ways in which a law student can associate with GyanCentral are:
1. Work on creating a community which ensures that information is available to law students and aspirants. Create a community which can serve their needs.
2. Work on our existing products like TestCentraland gives an awesome experience to law students.
3. Work on new initiatives like creating digital content for law students or simplifying law school rankings for aspirants.
Any law student interested can get in touch with Ankit – [email protected]
Q. Do you hire law, interns?
We have hired interns from the IITs but not from law schools yet. But we do plan to in the coming academic year.
Q. How did you deal with legal issues for your company?
We were fortunate in that aspect. Our investors have a strong legal team comprising of lawyers and company secretaries who helped in company formation. As far as web copyrights, etc. was involved, it was a gradual learning process.
Currently, we are rolling out ESOPs for employees and have taken external and internal help for it.
Q. Do you think law students should start blogging? How can they start writing and what can they write on in your opinion?
I am quite surprised that very few law students are on twitter or are actively blogging, and they have a plethora of topics that they can write on. I believe they can do three steps – first, get off Facebook because that’s where I find majority of the national law school students; Second, stop complaining that they have a tight schedule because everyone does and third, start writing – religiously one blog spot every day on any topic which interests them. Using platforms like blogger or WordPress should not be a technology related challenge.
Q. How do non-lawyers perceive lawyers these days? Has there been any change in recent times?
For the layman, a lawyer is still Sunny Deol shouting over the top of his lungs in Damini. In reality, however, lawyers today don’t have litigation as the only alternative and have a host of career options (legal journalism, copyright expert, legal advisor in corporate sector, etc.) to choose from. However, a lot of old school people do believe that lawyers are only interested in consulting jobs that pay a lot and have no interest in acquiring practical knowledge. I believe that law is a profession which is still maturing in India and will get more lucrative in the coming years.