While I was pursuing my B.A. LL.B (Hons.) from one of the lesser known National Law Universities in India, I was surrounded by confusion, doubts, fear, and anxiety. Every internship, every debate, every research paper, just added to the misery. It wasn’t because it was not producing results but because every area that explored was equally interesting or uninteresting. I didn’t know what to pick next.
To be honest, until my second year I was sure that if I get done with my law degree I would pursue journalism. A career in law was not on my cards. However, as in the alchemy, I unknowingly started developing a taste for law. From interning at NGOs, and district courts, I progressed to interning at multinational companies and fell in love with the work and the work environment instantly. As an obvious choice as is with most law students, I started interning at law firms. I happened to love that too.
In this entire process, I was constantly confused about what is it next? Or do I finally need to make up my mind and make a conscious choice?! I was an ardent debater, wrote decently and a number of people were of the opinion that I would make a good litigator. The question was: Was I ready for the struggle? I wasn’t.
I loved the corporate culture but I thought it would eventually become monotonous, and somehow, I wasn’t ready for the struggles of working in a law firm. It would probably give me good money, but a major deciding factor was whether I was ready to give up on my social life. To top it all, my parents wanted me to prepare for civil services, the judiciary and work for PSUs (because who doesn’t want a risk free career for their children).
These were just some early thoughts. The reality started dawning on me later when I figured that MNCs weren’t ready to take an intern without 2 years of experience – because of policies. Law firms wanted me to intern multiple times till they were sure – because of the college (and your rank in the college) apparently mattered to them. Litigation meant struggling and compromising for at least 5 years which a spoiled brat like me could never be ready for. I considered going for an LLM abroad because I was under the opinion that at the very least it would shut a lot of people up with a constant question, “What are you doing after your graduation?”
As life had its way, before I graduated, I managed a PPO in the litigation team of one of the leading firms in India and eventually, cracked an interview at an MNC. The doubts remained and I chose a monotonous, non-challenging role over giving up my social life. It wasn’t too long before I quit the high-end compliance role at the flashy MNC and decided to get back to my first love – writing. Life never seemed better.
The last few days of my life were enlightening. I started doing a webcast on LawSikho’s YouTube channel called “An Hour With LawSikho,” chatting with some of the leading legal experts in the country and throughout these two weeks, I was wondering, “Why on earth didn’t I think of this before?”
The format of the show was live and enabled hundreds of students to put across their doubts and queries. Each session managed to give me insights. This made me feel that I have the potential to learn everything that interests me. To make this ‘choice’ (or struggle, as you’d like to put it), I thought I’d share my experience and insights I’ve gained over the past couple of weeks hosting the webcast on YouTube!
Here are the top four career options we have discussed in the past 2 weeks for you to get some deep insights into the profession of your choice:
Associate in an M&A Team
Jerry Della Femina once said, “Today’s merger makers are not ad people, they are building communication companies.”
A merger and acquisition lawyer is often looked upon as the one person who makes the most amount of money in the entire legal industry. We had 2011 NUJS graduate, and an ex-M&A lawyer at one of the biggest law firms in the country to talk about his experience. Currently, a Co-Founder and COO of one of the leading online legal education platforms and an author of a book called, “Not A Startup Anymore,” Abhyuday Agarwal, had a lot to share!
He spoke about what the job description is like, what the first year associate needs to do and how to prepare for the interview round. In a very insightful session, he said how the first year associates are required to do thorough research and perform due diligence which is a major chunk of the job profile. “You need to be prepared for the challenges, and there are going to be many. You need to know the laws, research and be extremely patient while you are at work.”
LLM in India and Abroad
On Day 3 and 4, we had two talented students currently pursuing their LLMs. One was Ms. Nisha Raman, who completed her LLM from University of Cambridge and is now pursuing her Graduate Diploma in Law from the University of Manchester in order to start working on a training contract at White and Chase, London. Right from how to make a CV, to bagging recommendations and working on a Statement of Purpose (SOP), she had insights which could immensely help a student make it to a foreign university of their choice.
We also had Ms. Sushmita Patel, who is currently pursuing her LLM from Azim Premji University on why she let go of the offer she received from the University of Vermont in order to pursue an LLM in India, and how to make it through the first round of Rhodes Scholarship. She was easy on the ears and ensured that all the queries were amicably answered.
Both the speakers collectively addressed the question of how channelized your CV should be, and how should your SOP be extremely personal and an insight in to your passion for the subject. It is true that if you want to crack a university of your choice, start working now. Take up courses like these, to suit your specialization and stay ahead of your contemporaries.
Judiciary is one of the most sought-after choices after law school. Parents of law graduates are always in the hope that their child must eventually become a judge. As golden as this dream sounds, it is equally true that to make the cut is difficult. A judge is an embodiment of the law, justice, truth, and unbiased opinions. These are the qualities found in few and precisely why making it such a noble position to hold.
Patrick Leahy once said, “Judiciary is where my passion is!”
Madhurima Dutta who graduated in 2015 from Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University has cleared various State Judicial Service Examinations including West Bengal Judicial Service (WBJS) and Himachal Pradesh Judicial Service (HPJS). She was recently selected as a Civil Judge, Junior Division in WBJS. She spoke about the tricks and hacks to crack various judicial exams. Right from the studying pattern to writing theoretical answers in mains she had it all covered.
Litigation is said to be a life full of struggles. However, if you enjoy it, it turns out to be addictive and then there is no looking back. Mohona Thakur, an alumnus of ILS Pune, worked with Parekh & Co. and had some really interesting insights to offer. She spoke about various challenges of a first-year litigant and how to go about it. She also emphasized the importance of the knowledge and skill set which can be acquired through this course. She did mention that litigation is indeed a challenging role but every lawyer must give it a shot for the experience and exposure that it provides! You can watch the webcast here.
A question big or small can be life-altering. All you need to do it is ask it at the right time from the right people.
All the luck!