I am not from National Law College. No Big Law Firm prefer to hire Non- National Law Students.Law students from other law colleges
I am a first generation lawyer. I do not know how to progress in this profession. I have no backup. People who come from Dynasty have much better start.1st generation lawyers
I am unable to get good internship because there is so much of competition in the market.Law students after applying for multiple internships
The above are the most common statements that I hear from Law students on daily basis. I am a First Generation Lawyer, from New Law College, Mumbai. I secured my first internship in my first year from the Ad placed in our college Notice Board. Our College, even though was one of the oldest. It did not have a proper Placement Cell. I went for my Interview, my Senior asked me to submit an assignment and then she would call me for the second round. I went home submitted my assignment and then forgot about the same. A couple of days later, I received my call for the second Interview. I went ahead and appeared. My senior just told me one thing. The content was not that great, but the way you presented the assignment by following formatting shows that you have potential.
The first three months would be unpaid. It was for research for upgrading a Cr.P.C. Commentary and my job was to find case laws. I was a first year student. I said ok and joined on the date mentioned. The journey that started on that day lasted over the next four years. I quit due to long travelling hours and health issues. That was the only formal experience that I had. After that I started on my own with my friends.
Coming down to the topic on hand, a lot of students always highlight on the points that they do not have. They have let the superficial fear created by the society to overcome their determination and talent. Everyone openly cribs about not being from National Law School and Companies preferring students only from National Law Schools but no body bothers to see what is the main difference in the students from an NLU and a Non-NLU.
Most of the times, Companies and Law Firms prefer students from NLU because of the student culture. Once during our law college days we had told the same to our principal, that only NLU students are able to crack the International Competitions. He said its not because of the NLU Brand, it is because they read a lot reading almost 10-12 hours a day is their daily schedule. They read commentaries not guide books for exams, Apart while preparing for moot courts, no other students, touch the Commentaries. They are generally covered in layers of dust in the college libraries. Non- NLU students most of them despite having a lot of time on hand, still prefer to rote and depend on the Guides.
The other thing that I heard from a lot of students is, I am a first Generation Lawyer, I do not know how to go ahead. Until, a few years ago, we had people in our family, who were the also the first generation to go to school and get formal education. But we never heard them crib that I am a first generation so and so.. I do not know what to do with my education.
Difference between NLU and non NLU Students
When I first started teaching as a Visiting Professor, the first question that the students would ask about the subject was, which guide can we use. We are interested only in studying using Guides and we are not interested in studying any further. Every topic you teach them the first question they ask is, Is it important for exams ? This has been my experience with a lot of non- NLU students. Most of the times, they attend your session only for the sake of certificate.
When you are attending a webinar always read up a bit on the topic and try to prepare a list of doubts, questions that you have with respect to the topic. Read up your basic law. Most of the times I have seen that students are more interested in when will I get the certificate. That is one of the reasons, why you fail to create that big impression on someone.
If I meet two students post a lecture and one asks me different questions on the topic and another cribs and tells me about how he is not given an opportunity. I would prefer the one, who asked the questions, because that proves his preparation and for me that is what a reliable candidate looks like.
I had been to NLU Colleges for different Competitions. I have found their students studying until atleast the sunset. Using actual reference books to find answers, case laws, or simply for expanding their horizon. With the Non- NLU students, there are a few handful of students, who put that amount of efforts and those are the students, who end up becoming Judges and Senior Counsels.
It is the fault of our Education system and the students equally for increasing unemployment.
But a slight change in attitude can also help you reach places, go ahead and do not look for excuses or artificially created mental blocks.
Why Tier 1 Law Firm prefers NLU Students
Tier 1 law firms bill by the hour. So every second, every minute counts. When the Law Firm is billing thousands and Lakhs per hour, they expect every individual , right from the intern to the Senior Partner to be competent to deliver within minutes. If the clients are paying so much, they would also expect the best performance within fraction of seconds. You have to be fast, smart and well polished for the same. Tier 1 law firms require you to work 24 hours sometimes, I do some people who have worked like 9 am to 3 am the next day, because sometimes when you work with international clients, you have to be a little bit flexible with your schedule. You cannot tell the Firm that I have to go home sharp at 7 pm, I cannot do so and so work, I will do only so and so work. You are always on your toes in any law office.
Role of an Intern
Internship is very important because it gives you a glimpse of what legal practice has for you in the future. It is your training ground. When you join your law internships you are almost around 18-20 years of age. You have enough maturity and developed brain to understand, which political party is better for the country. IF the voting age of a Country, the age to get Driver’s license, the age to get married atleast at present is 18 years for girls, the minimum age for an employment is 18 years, then I am sure by that time Interns are also mature enough to absorb their surroundings like a sponge.
When you are 18 and above nobody is going to handhold and teach you. Everybody is going to guide you and the rest you are supposed to pick up. If you are doing an internship ensure that you use this time period to develop yourself. One of the basic skill sets required for a lawyer is time management and to be multi tasking. You have to train yourself for these two skill sets during your internship period, because once you are thrown into the pool called as life, you have no option but to swim to survive and then to excel.
During Covid I saw a lot of students do multiple internships at the time period. They proudly flaunted, their internship certificates on social media, which also gave complex to many other students. It is good to have great exposure but when you do multiple internship at the same time, the first thing that comes into an Employer’s mind is that this student, was barely given anything important to do and therefore he had the spare time to do multiple internships at the same time. The other thing is even when you do 4 internships in 2 months by doing some internship simultaneously, the next recruiter may think that you have just been a regular employee and done nothing extra ordinary and therefore were not retained by anyone.
Generally when you are hired as an Intern in an office you are expected to work for long hours, as the work may demand. They are expected to be productive and contribute to the team, whether it is waiting for your case in the Court till the senior arrives, or arranging the documents chronologically, or doing your legal research all while attending your regular law college, college festivals, moot courts, partying with friends etc. etc. The earlier you learn to balance all this, the faster you will be able to move ahead in life.
How Law Firms hire Litigation Lawyers
A lot of times lawyers are not hired through portals. To be frank even today this sector is very unorganised. Most of the times, people hire you because they have seen you work, so either they have seen you perform in an intra college Moot Court, or they have seen you appear in the Court or you were the lawyer from the opposite side in the previous case. For people to hire you, they need to see you in action, that is the reason why a lot of people also prefer to work for NGO’s and other smaller organisations when they start their own practise. It helps you gain the visibility.
Until and unless you are not that polished, the Tier 1 Law Firms may not give u an opportunity to interact directly with the clients or appear in the Court. This does not have to be the case only in Tier 1 Law Firms but the same can happen also in other Offices. The reason being simple because lawyers work hard to create a client base for themselves, one mistake or one wrong statement by the interns or the junior advocates can cost them a lot. The other reason being, sometimes, clients do not think that Junior’s are capable of handling the matters. The last reason is because the lawyers are scared that either the Client can poach the junior from his office.
Skill sets to develop during law school for better job prospects
- Develop your overall personality. Learn how to dress, present yourself in the professional world. The way you talk and carry yourself plays a huge role.
- Develop your inter personal skills, learn how to communicate with your peers, seniors and other professionals and maintain your relationships. A lot of students, fail miserably at this stage.
- It is ok to ask questions to clarify your doubts, but when you repeatedly ask the same question about the facts that are obliviously in front of you. You tend to reduce your impression in front of that person. If you have doubts, Look around if you can find your answers, if you cannot, then go ahead and ask the question.
- Learn Formal Communication – about 90 % of the emails that I get from students are informal. They do neither have subject nor do they have proper body. Learn Business Communication. All you need to do is simply mention on why you are writing this email to the opposite person.
- Try to be a little above average, whenever you get a new opportunity try and grab the same. Learn from anyone and everyone. Most of the times, if you give a new opportunity to the students, they first look out for the easy way to escape don’t do the same.
- It is just a myth that students from ordinary law colleges are not as good as NLU Students. If you try, you can also be like them.
- Learn time management. A lot of students lack time management. When you are going to be a lawyer, there may be days when you have 4 cases to be heard in 4 different courts, how are you going to manage them ? When you start with your own practice, you will have to take up every type of case that comes to you. Learn to manage your time when you are a student. Learn to balance your personal life, college, extra curricular activities and internship together.
It is your choice, if you want to an ordinary person and be lost in the crowd or stand out in the crowd as an extra- ordinary person.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.
The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.
If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at firstname.lastname@example.org