In this blog post, Ms. Shelly Saluja, a Deputy Legal Manager at Reliance Jio and a Mentor at Project Abhimanyu provides advice to a student on how to find employment as a Legal Counsel in the Telecom Sector. Project Abhimanyu acts as an external placement cell that guides a student about the available career options and job opportunities as well as helps them apply for internships and jobs.
Query: I completed my law in January 2015 and now I am practising in the Taxation Industry from almost a year but I am not satisfied by it. I have always wanted to work in the Telecom sector. I’ve also heard from my seniors about the job and that the work is really good. A couple of them joined have joined the sector, but I don’t know how to approach it. I am the first lawyer from my family so I am short on guidance. It would be immensely helpful if you could guide me on the path to achieve my goal of working in the legal section of a telecom company.
To begin with, I wish to state that laws governing telecom industry maybe a handful, but telecom has plenty of options to offer a lawyer. I was also unaware of the same until I joined a telecom company. Telecom industry is global in nature and fast changing, so I personally feel that it has tremendous scope in India and outside. Some of the options which can be availed, as a lawyer, being in telecom industry are enlisted herein below-
- To join a lawyer dealing in telecom/broadcasting matters in TDSAT/HC/SC/DC (telecom litigation), this can help you get hands on experience with regards to telecom disputes.
- To join a law firm’s Telecom Media Technology department, where you will be mostly dealing with contractual work pertaining to broadcasting industry/IT related disputes/telecom advisory and so on.
- As an in-house counsel you have multiple options such as to be in the legal team of a telecom company, where you can advice your company towards potential legal risk, handle disputes before different legal forums. In some telecom companies the legal work bifurcates into more than one legal department- one department handling policy/regulations related disputes which mostly lie before HC/SC/TDSAT and the other department handling tower related/consumer related disputes before district court/consumer redressal forums. In-house counsels can also be a part of regulatory departments which involves interactions with TRAI/DOT and replying on behalf of your company to various Consultation Papers floated by TRAI and other ancillary work which involves drawing comparatives between telecom laws/workings in different countries, drawing support by data analysis of the telecom market in different countries.
- Also the Big4s- KPMG, ENY, Deloitte have telecom related work to offer, which may require add on knowledge of economics apart from being a lawyer. But if you are passionate about numbers, graphs, etc. Iam sure you can make a way out to these firms. They even deal with telecom advisory and are often approached for preparing compliance reports for telecom companies, vetting of agreements.
- You can also explore options at International Organisations such as International Telecommunication Union and others.
These are a few options which you can avail in the telecom sector. I hope this gives you an idea about working with telecom sector. This industry is not niche to India and is definitely of global relevance and has a lot to offer and learn.