Many people approach me to recommend them to good law firms for jobs. This morning a student and someone I have mentored for a while approached me asking for a recommendation. It pained me to say no to her, knowing that it probably really upset her.
And then there is another student and mentee that I am aggressively recommending to my friends working in law firms. She is likely to get multiple offers soon. She is already doing an assessment internship too.
What is the difference? Why am I treating these two women, who are roughly of the same age and in a similar position in their career, so differently?
Before you decide, do consider my situation.
Here is what I know about the first person (who I refused to endorse) so far. Please tell me if you would recommend someone like this.
She enrolled into one of our courses. She has done a total 3 assignments out of 50 that she was required to pass the course, out of 100 that we assigned to her. She barely showed up in any classes. I asked her to write some articles. Her writing is poor, and many of my interns do a better job. The articles are so full of typos and formatting errors that I dread to edit them. Still I helped her to write and publish 2-3 of them, which always took a long time because she will disappear in between.
Of course, I have given her time and counselling whenever she has called me and advised she could possibly do next. She is currently working in a small law firm and wishes to get into a big one.
She wants me to refer her to some big law firms.
Can I do so in good conscience, just to be nice to her?
Here is the thing. If I begin to recommend everyone for jobs, even the unsuitable people, my recommendations will cease to have any value. I did not think that this person is capable of doing a good job. Therefore, any recommendation will be totally dishonest.
Who am I anyway? I run a random online education company. Law firm partners are mildly curious and often supportive of the work we do. There are others who are very suspicious and openly express contempt about online education.
We are slowly winning the faith and favour of Indian legal recruitment community. The last thing we can afford to do is refer the wrong people to the wrong job.
Law firm partners are barely willing to give someone the time of a meeting if we recommend them because they are usually curious about the work we do or because they are pleased with the candidates we have sent before.
Should we jeopardize that?
So what kind of people do we refer instead?
Another person that I have been mentoring since last 6 months is a lawyer with 2 years of experience from Mumbai. She has not only completed her course successfully and attended 90% of classes, but also did really well on her weekly assignments. What is more, she has published a total of over 30 articles on M&A, venture capital and tax till date in last 6 months, and she is working on a list of 20 more articles to take her tally to 50.
By the way, many of her articles run into 10,000-15,000 words.
She knows more about Takeover Code, FDI policy and FVCI regulations than I know.
I am super proud to introduce her to anyone who would listen as our student. Any interview she gives, I know the lawyers taking her interview will be super impressed by her.
Both the people had access to the same training, same materials and same mentorship opportunities.
What you do with it is totally up to you. Just buying a course do not give you the tickets of heaven. You get a path, and you have to walk it.
I am tempted to tell you about another former trainee. When she got an assessment internship through my partner Abhyuday’s recommendation, she did so well on her job, that her 1 month assessment internship was cut short just after one week and she was confirmed immediately.
The partner called Abhyuday and told him to refer more people like her.
That’s what we want to do.
We have a policy of recommending people to law firms who we know will do well and exceed expectations. Let it be clear that we will not recommend anyone else. And that is why our recommendation holds value, and in fact increases in value, over time.
We can help you if you help yourself.
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