Amrita Tonk: An Expert Corporate Litigator

L&L Partners Law Offices
Amrita Tonk | L&L Partners Law Offices

In India, white-collar crimes originated from the earlier well-established framework of corruption and anti-bribery laws. This framework includes accounting and corporate frauds, data privacy, insider trading, security and protection, money laundering, corporate compliance, and FCPA and UKBA, which are the global statutes.

Add to it rising prosecutions in white-collar crimes, dispute resolutions, and increasing complexity of criminal laws in the areas of technology and cybercrime, the framework is ever-complicating the business running risks.

Most such businesses find solace in one name, Amrita Tonk, an expert corporate litigator and Partner at L&L Partners Law Offices, a full-service firm. The firm has a team of around 380 lawyers and 79 Partners across four offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The Firm is a ‘one-stop solution’ for its clients and includes 15+ core practice areas, thus having the ability to cross-staff experts in multiple practice areas.

Making of the Magistrate

Amrita Tonk graduated in 2010 and joined L&L Partners (formerly known as Luthra & Luthra Law Offices) as an Associate with the Real Estate Team. Thereafter, she shifted to a secondment position at Accenture, wherein she closely worked with the legal team from March 2012 to March 2013.

In 2013, Amrita secured the seventh rank in the prestigious Delhi Judicial Services Examination and served as a Metropolitan Magistrate in Delhi. During her tenure in the Judicial Service, she presided over criminal courts in Patiala House and Tis Hazari Courts. She resigned from the Delhi Judicial Service in January 2018 and focused on her independent practice. In 2021, she was offered a position as a Partner in the Disputes Resolution Team at L&L Partners Law offices.

As a Partner, Amrita is primarily involved in advising and representing clients in disputes pertaining to White Collar Crimes, including corporate frauds, offences under the Indian Penal Code and anticipatory/regular bail applications, Banking and Finance, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, Arbitration, Suits for Recovery, Property Disputes, Consumer Laws, matters related to Negotiable Instruments, matters related to Intellectual Property and matters under Writ/Public Interest Litigation.

Voice of the Voiceless

Amrita shares, “The legal profession has always kindled my interest in many ways, though I was a science student.” She appeared for competitive exams in medical and law colleges and was fortunate to secure a good rank at the Army Institute of Law at Mohali.

Amrita says, “I ultimately chose law. As I had already joined the law school and was enjoying the subjects, I decided to continue pursuing law.

As I grow into this profession, every day is a new day, and each case comes with different sets of challenges and interpretations, which propels me into a deeper study of this wonderful profession.”

Amrita feels, “I learned during my internships that Law is a powerful instrument to govern our society and comes to the aid of people without a voice. When applied without bias or prejudice, it treats all strata of society on an equal pedestal.”

This was also one of the reasons why she ventured into public service by joining the prestigious Delhi Judicial Services.

An Advocate of Inclusive Legal Environment

As far as challenges faced by women in the legal profession, Amrita says that law as a profession has majorly been dominated by men, especially when it comes to areas like criminal law. During her time at law school and her internships, she realised that there were not many avenues for women when it came to litigation and advocacy.

Although they had some amazing legal luminaries when it came to chamber practice, however, when it came to law firms, women were mostly part of the corporate law practice.

Fortunately, things are gradually changing for the better. She states, “It was a heartening experience and inspiring to see that women lawyers made up almost 80% of my batch in the Judicial Service, and they were all exceptionally good.”

There is no dearth of women at top-level positions in the dispute resolution practice of law firms, which definitely gives an impetus to women lawyers who have chosen to make a career in litigation and advocacy.  It is important to have strong women mentors in the organisation who are approachable and help create an inclusive work environment.

Amrita expresses, “I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a part of an organisation that advocates this, which has helped me build on my career and develop my practice as a litigator.”

Advantage Amrita

About the various specialised legal offerings, solutions, or services that she provides to her clientele, Amrita conveys, “As a Metropolitan Magistrate, I held a criminal court for my entire tenure in the Delhi Judicial Service and presided over criminal trials. So, it is only natural that my expertise would be in Criminal Law and cases pertaining to defence against prosecution under laws pertaining to PMLA, GST, POCA etc.”

And because she is a partner of L&L, Amrita thinks, “Being a full-service law firm with the client as the sole focus, we can sustain the vast needs of our clients across multiple legal practice areas, all under one roof.”

A particular case may often require expertise from different fields of law, which is readily available to the client. This, in turn, increases productivity and results in better chances of success for the clients.

Tech-enabled Access to Justice System

Sharing her opinions on the impact of technological advancements in the Law space, Amrita expressed that the legal profession has been revolutionized by the advent of technology. The availability of online material, including judgments passed by courts of law, commissions and tribunals and publications, has helped the professionals and society at large.

She further says that it is encouraging to see our Courts starting to embrace technology as part and parcel of our legal system. Though a lot needs to be done, the environment created by the pandemic necessitated adapting to new practices. The benefits of virtual hearings and how they facilitate access to the justice system at the touch of a button result from technology.

Equality in Legal Representation

When asked what the specialities/factors that make her stand out as an influential personality in the legal profession are, Amrita says very modestly, “At the outset, I am humbled that you consider me to be an influential personality, despite being fairly young in the profession.

To answer your question, what makes me stand out is that I do not differentiate in my efforts for a client or a matter. So even if I am working on a pro-bono matter or a matter having high stakes, I ensure that my team and I give the same importance to both the cases. From my experience as a judicial officer, I have learnt that all cases must be treated equally.”

Regardless of their financial capacity, a litigant has knocked on the doors of justice with expectations, which is why Amrita thinks that it is the legal professionals’ duty as lawyers and officers of the court to ensure that person gets the best legal representation.

A Judicial Advise

Amrita’s advice to aspiring legal enthusiasts who are willing to step into the legal space today is thoughtful. She says that,

  • There is no shortcut to success.
  • It is essential to be thorough with your brief.
  • Be a patient listener and stick to your brief.
  • Read, read and read as much as possible. There’s no end to learning.
  • Grab every opportunity you get and make the best of it.

Future’s Lady of Justice

Speaking about the current scenario of the Indian Legal Space, Amrita thinks that the legal profession has evolved to be one of the most sought-after professions. Like the 1990s, when there was a boom in the field of corporate law, which saw the rise of corporate law firms, now we are witnessing exponential growth in various areas and their legal implications, such as information and technology, artificial intelligence, data privacy, cryptocurrency, to name a few.

It is also interesting to see the opportunities that have opened up in niche practice areas, which earlier were unheard of. However, it is important to note that such opportunities are restricted primarily to metropolitan cities.

Amrita concludes with a hope and a suggestion, “For such opportunities to extend to the non-metropolitan areas, technology, I feel, will have an important role to play and how quickly we embrace such change holds the answer to the future.”

Related Posts