This article is written by Akarsh Tripathi, from Symbiosis Law School Noida. The article aims to help and guide law students about how they can make the most out of this lockdown situation.
The 2019-20 COVID-19 outbreak is having a global impact and there isn’t any single industry left, which has not been affected by this crisis. The COVID-19 crisis is different and is all set to cause global economic and human carnage. The nation-wide lockdown is wreaking havoc on the Indian markets already.
Apart from health and the economic impact of this virus, the educational institutions and the academic industry is also one of the most affected sectors in the world. All schools, colleges, universities have been closed for an indefinite period due to the global pandemic of novel coronavirus, vaccine for which is still not available.
The lockdown and quarantine period have impacted students, professors and even law firms who were planning to hire interns from law schools. In an attempt to reduce the impact of disruptions and difficulties caused, the work-from-home programme has gained popularity across the world which has also resulted in a sudden increase in the usage of technology.
Even universities have started providing online lectures to their students. Online platforms and even law firms are providing opportunities like remote internships, online courses, etc to law students so that their education is not affected because of the nationwide shutdown.
However, there are many law students confused about how they can make the most of this lockdown and what strategies they may implement, in order to develop their skills and gain knowledge while being quarantined at home.
How can law students make the most of the lockdown?
Utilizing free time
We need to understand one of the most important things: This lockdown period is not a vacation or a summer holiday. It is a period of self-isolation and once this spread of novel COVID-19 is under control and things get back to normal, well, things will never get back to the initial stage. It is of common knowledge that the global economy is going to halt and problems like unemployment will be on a surge.
Law students can utilize this time effectively and efficiently. This is a good time to gain knowledge about subjects that are not yet covered in your law school. The ultimate aim can also be to improve their CV and add more experience to it. So all you need to do is, cut down on the externalities like random socialisation, gossip, or usage of online streaming platforms, etc, and start investing time in activities which can give you long-term benefits. Start searching and looking for opportunities available like those mentioned below:-
Note: There are platforms like Lawctopus and Katheri.in that regularly post updates about the current opportunities available for law students and those connected with the legal community.
With the advent of the development of technology, there are many start-ups in our legal industry which focus on legal education and work with the aim to impart legal knowledge to everyone across the world. No matter where you are, or what you are doing.
These online courses are mostly eligible for not just law students but also for people who are practising law. Many legal professionals, like attorneys, litigators, corporate lawyers also enrol themselves for these online courses, to gain knowledge about the developments in various subjects of law.
This is the best time to enrol yourself in these online courses and get unparalleled knowledge on the subjects of law you are interested in. There are a plethora of subjects to choose from.
Nowadays, websites like LawSikho, Enhelion, Edx, etc are also giving opportunities to law students to enrol themselves into various diploma programmes. Thus, it is highly advisable for law students to enrol in these online certificate courses.
Writing Articles and Research Papers
Law students can write essays, case commentaries, short articles, long articles, and notes on subjects of law they are interested in. These can be given for publication in reputed blogs and peer-reviewed journals. There are various online essay competitions, judgement writing competitions and even quizzes organised by universities and legal institutions from time to time.
Content Writing tasks improve not only the writing skills of a student but also improves the researching skills and provides in-depth knowledge on various law subjects, which prove to give long term benefits to law students.
Some of the trending and interesting topics to write blogs and articles are- refugee crisis, humanitarian law, international law, IBC etc.
Once you step into the world of practising law, you would be judged on your drafting skills and knowledge in matters related to contractual drafting etc. Legal writing training helps you to deepen your credibility, branding and employability because having good writing skills is directly proportional to the increase in chances of you being preferred by an employer.
Another thing you should keep in mind is to learn drafting legal documents from scratch and not use templates which are already available. Many people, including most of the practising lawyers, use templates for drafting purposes, and advice the same to everyone.
However, you can use this spare time and practice drafting from scratch which will give you an edge above other students. These are the activities which will be fruitful to you and will yield long term benefits to you.
Work-from-home isn’t just for corporate law firm employees or litigators, etc. Even law students can implement this work programme on themselves. Another considerable and worthy opportunity which law students can acquire is that of online internships.
Due to the pandemic and lockdown situations, law firms have started shutting down their offices, and due to the increase in demand of legal professionals at this time; these law firms need interns who can remotely work from home.
Online part-time internships give a huge exposure to knowledge to law students. There are some internship opportunities that provide stipends to their interns, and also give you work, related to researching a particular subject of law.
Thus, students should not make this mistake of losing these highly rewarding opportunities. It has a lot of benefits like building your networking for future internships, improving your CV by adding more experience to it, and, etc.
Proper utilization of open-source journals
Reading and enhancing your knowledge can be really productive. One of the best ways to do this is by reading law journals like Harvard Law Review, Indian Law Review, Berkley Tech Journal etc, and reading judgements on cases of IBC, IPR Law, etc.
These are some subject areas of law which are still developing and researching on these topics might provide you with insights unexplored or unknown to others.
Law students may also explore research platforms like Manupatra, Westlaw, Hein Online, etc and read judgements on subjects of law where their interest lies.
Webinars and Youtube Videos
Webinars and Youtube videos are some of the most effective ways of utilizing your spare time. Many advocates and legal platforms have their youtube channels where they upload webinars and seminars.
Webinars and online videos are a great way to learn while sitting at home. If you don’t feel like researching or reading or writing anything, you may sit back, open Youtube and watch webinars on channels like Lawsikho. This will surely give you an edge above the rest. These are one of the most resourceful materials you can find, and gain the knowledge and tips given by experts, professors, etc.
Subscribe to channels like LawSikho, Finology Legal etc who provide a vast array of legal content. Since many of these youtube channels are run by practising advocates themselves, they can provide you with the guidance and counselling required in today’s world. So instead of using online streaming platforms for entertainment purposes, it’s advisable for law students to invest their time in such insightful videos as they will have an everlasting impact on them.
Socializing and Networking
No, we are not talking about using Instagram or scrolling through your Facebook feed. Networking in the legal world means reaching out to more and more people who belong to the legal community and making a magnanimous relationship with them.
In today’s world, having connections and a strong network amongst legal professionals is becoming essential. Thus, use this time to improve your LinkedIn profile, update your CV, etc. You can also join various Telegram and Whatsapp groups run by Advocates, and other organisations, such as LawSikho, Deadly Law, LawFrat, etc.
For the purpose of networking, many law students have now started to become Campus Ambassadors, also known as Law College Ambassador for various online platforms, such as Bar and Bench, Lawctopus, etc. This is a great way to build a connection with law students of different universities.
Thus, law students can also look for campus ambassador programmes, and apply for the same. Remember, academics and marks do matter, but they are not the only essentials required for the survival of lawyers and other legal professionals.
Bonus: More Tips
There are some students who know what all can be done to utilize the quarantine period effectively, and how one can make use of this lockdown in the best possible manner. However, they are looking for answers to questions like “How can we manage these work and still be able to relax and enjoy the spare time a bit?” Is there any time routine which they can follow and not over-burden themselves with work?
The answer is Yes, there are many ways a law student, well actually any student, can plan his/her daily routines and at the same time improve their skills. Here are the tips one may implement:
- Making a routine can generate optimum output, especially in a work-from-home environment, where students can plan out their routines as per their comfort.
- Preparing a To-do-list, and cataloguing daily tasks is the first step, to begin with. At the time of preparing such a list, students should keep in mind their ultimate goal, i.e. what all they want to achieve till the end of this lockdown. There is no certainty as to when this lockdown will end, thus it is good to have multiple goals.
- Law students who are planning to write a research paper should allocate a specific time for researching purposes. This should be accompanied with tasks involving content writing so that one does not feel monotonous and tired from the work.
- The new aged legal community is not just focused on what’s written in your CV. It also takes into notice, the content which you have in yourself. A great way to develop this content could be by starting something of your own. For instance, a youtube channel where you as a law student share your internship experience or tell people about your research paper which recently got published.
- IMP: Don’t overburden yourself with a lot of work. Remember, it’s more productive to work uniformly for a month rather than working for 2-3 days straight and losing the spirit.
These are only suggestive ways and are not supposed to be followed as it is. Make sure you strategize and plan out the task based on your speed and comfort.
In the end, you must remember not to sit idle. It is a time which if used effectively and in the best possible manner, will boost your legal career to a whole new level. Maintaining a decent work-personal life balance is something which becomes difficult for those who enter the world of the legal profession. They don’t get to spend time with their families and live a relaxed lifestyle. This is an opportunity you should also use to spend time with your family, and focus on your lifestyle too. Also, don’t be afraid to start something new, or explore a new opportunity. In the end, remember one thing:
“Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still”- Chinese Proverb
LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join: