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This article has been written by Harshini Naidu, from the Faculty of Law, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda.

Panellists 

Sammanika Rawat is a Career Coach and Head of Placements at LawSikho. She is also an internationally accredited Mediator and has worked in Banking and Infrastructure Projects field as a corporate lawyer and has been a proud environmental activist at the grassroots level. She is an alumnus of the National University of Judicial Sciences, Kolkata. 

Shubham Bansal is currently working at LawSikho (India’s largest legal ed-tech start-up), heading the marketing team and managing the marketing side of India’s largest blog, i.e., iPleaders (India’s biggest legal blog). Apart from this, he mentors and guides students at LawSikho, including academicians, independent litigators, law firms, partners and law students to develop their personal and organisation’s brand. 

Shweta Kumar Devgan is currently working as a Project Lead Manager (Test Prep Courses) with LawSikho (A leading Legal Ed. Tech Company). She has 8 years of experience in the Education Management Industry. She is also a certified Arbitrator, having been certified by the Centre for Online Resolution of Disputes. She is an alumnus of N.L.S.I.U, Bangalore.

Vanshika Kapoor is currently working as Senior Managing Editor at iPleaders (India’s biggest legal blog). All publications at iPleaders are managed by her along with weekly competitions, guest posts and paid promotions. She even guides and mentors hundreds of interns each month on how to write flawless articles and how to build their CV. 

Gareema Ahuja worked with LawSikho as Head of Admissions and Career Counselling. She has also worked as an Academic and Research Head at iPleaders. She has a vast experience in creating, innovating and implementing career-enhancement programs and activities while serving and supporting functional activities. She completed her Masters from Jindal Global Law School and even worked as an Assistant Professor at Geeta Group of Institutions.

How did you make a switch from Law to Business Development and Marketing? What made you do that?

Shubham: There are around 1500 law colleges in India with a batch size of nearly 50 students, which means there are 70,000 students passing every year. So, what makes you different from these 70,000 students who have scored good marks, done good internships and who have entered the job market at the same time?

That is where the marketing comes into the scene. A student has to market himself/herself and show how they are different from others. In this era of digital media, it is necessary to use it in full potential. Business development and marketing plays a huge role here. It is time that every student starts making the best use of media and that is how I discovered my interest in the field of business development and marketing.

Gareema: When a student or a law graduate sits for an interview, they are basically selling them and their skills to the interviewer. CV is our marketing document and interview is the selling pitch. This is a great example to understand how business development, sales and marketing are omnipresent. 

How did your journey start in the field of Law?

Shweta Kumar Devgan shares her story about her school days when she was preparing for CLAT while her parents wanted her to crack IIT, JEE. Her brother inspired her to take up law and later she developed a deep interest in the same field. She cracked CLAT and made her way into NLSIU. 

She believes that her internships during college have majorly shaped her current work and life choices. A legal internship at an NGO in her first year made her stay rooted to the social issues in the country and a corporate internship in her third year of law made it clear for her that corporate law is not something she would want to get into. She was also preparing for UPSC at a certain point in her life where she could understand that her major goal was to help others pass the examination rather than herself passing it. 

And that is what made her enter into the field of guiding students in preparations of various examinations which she has been doing for the past 8 years. 

Talking about her legal journey, Vanshika Kapoor shares that she has interned at various different places like NGOs, under various lawyers law firms, In-house and start-ups in order to understand what is the area she wants to get into. While in her third year of college, she interned with a legal blog where she realised that she was really good and passionate about research and legal writing. After this, she did two more legal content writing internships and decided to make a career in the field of legal content. 

In her last year of Law school, Vanshika applied for an internship at iPleaders and had the opportunity to be trained by Harsh Jain (Co-founder of LawSikho). Later, she started heading the blog even before she graduated from law school. That’s how her journey took a shape through her internships.

Sammanika Rawat, while sharing her story about how she entered into the field of law and the journey ahead talked about her goal during her school days which was to join the Indian Army. After completing her schooling in the science stream when she could not join Defence as girls were not taken, she chose to pursue law as it was considered to be an area where there are good jobs available in the market. 

She then took a drop year and prepared for CLAT in which she scored an AIR rank of 153. She had to make a choice between NLU Jodhpur and NUJS, Kolkata. Sammanika decided to join NUJS, Kolkata and that is when her law school journey started. Recollecting her days at college, she shared how she enjoyed her college life doing everything from being associated with NGOs, participating in debates, moot courts and many events during her time there. She understood in her college life that she was more inclined towards the practical aspect of law than the theoretical side. She got associated with many NGOs and helped people by putting to use her practical knowledge of the legal field. 

During mid law school, how did you deal with the dilemma where you start doubting your choice of pursuing law?

Sammanika: We all have a phase where we start doubting our choices and our own capabilities. Sammanika shares that she faced them too and during that phase, she made a list of things she did not want to get into after her graduation and working for a Tier 1 law firm was the first among them. After interning at a law firm, she was clear that corporate law was not her cup of tea even if she enjoyed the work at her place of internship.

She then decided to skip her internship at another law firm and decided to appear for the Armed Forces exam atleast once as that was her dream since the beginning, so she appeared for AFCAT and could not clear it. She then sat for an interview and got placed at a law office. After working for a while, she decided to discontinue the same.

Sammanika suggests that whenever we feel stuck somewhere, we should take time to think about the matter and about what exactly do they want. Many of the employees at banks and law firms are hesitant to take time for themselves even if they are feeling stuck. She believes that these steps really help when we feel stuck:

  • Take time.
  • Think about what you really want to do.
  • List out the priorities you have.
  • Make a list of your strengths,
  • Know what kind of work you enjoy.
  • And then, take the call.

“It’s not about the abilities which you have but the choices that you make” adds Shweta Kumar Devgan which summarises the thought that if you don’t choose to make the best use of your abilities, you are not making the best use of what you have.

Adding to this, Shubham Bansal says that it is really important to go after learning, as certificates and the university don’t matter in the long run, what matters is what you learn. Learning can come from anywhere. Make the best use of resources available around you and give your best. 

What are the options available for law students?

Firstly, we need to stop thinking just within the box of law firm jobs or litigation jobs. There are a lot of opportunities which open up when you have a law degree. This degree allows people to choose from a large range and variety of work. Especially for someone who wishes to get into freelancing and working from home, law opens a lot of doors for you.

  1. Working with start-ups.
  2. Content Writing
  3. Writing for core legal blogs and websites
  4. Learning digital marketing
  5. Learning how to design websites.

These are some things which will help us to survive in this competitive world. In order to stand out in the crowd of thousands of students, it is necessary to have multiple skills. The skills and experiences which the above-listed work will give a student or a graduate is tremendous. In this generation of the digital era, it is important to learn digital skills as you never know which is going to be the next organisation you are going to be working for.

Legal sector is not at all restricted to courts, lawyers, law firms, governments and NGOs/ There are a lot of other opportunities out there for us and in when we know what our strengths are, we can create opportunities for ourselves. It is never too late to learn new things and figure out what you really want to do in your life.

How exciting is it to work for a start-up?

Shweta: Start-ups give us the opportunity to experiment within and outside the boundaries of your role. There is never a day when you are playing only one role as start-ups give you the chance to work in different departments of an organisation. They give you the opportunity to deliver more than what is expected from you. The work at a start-up is so dynamic and exciting as there are new challenges coming up everyday and there is a constant cycle of scaling up going on.

The journey with a start-up is like a roller coaster ride but the developments which we see in ourselves during this journey plays an important role. The start-up becomes a part of your personal life and character. Personal growth will not be missing when you work with a start-up.

No matter what you wish to do or become in your life, working with a start-up is an experience in the lifetime as the lessons it teaches stay with you for a lifetime. The work satisfaction you get while working with a start-up is huge as every move makes a small contribution towards the growth of the organisation.

Do extra Diploma courses and Certificate courses help in landing good jobs?

Diploma courses and Certificate courses are helpful only when you are actually learning, participating and doing the assignments using your knowledge while pursuing the particular course. It is really important to see if you are actually learning from the courses. A diploma or a certificate helps you in reaching till the interview but it is your knowledge about the subject and learning which actually helps you in landing a job.

Doing a diploma course for the sake of adding it to the CV does not really help and might get you in trouble as when you are in an interview sitting with a Diploma mentioned in your CV, there are going to be questions about the area in which you have a diploma. And if you are unable to answer them, the diploma might reduce the chances of landing the job.

While going for an extra diploma course or a certificate course, it is necessary to focus on the value it adds and the knowledge which you can gain. Building a skillset is more important than building a CV. Life is way more than what you are adding to your CV.

What did you do during your law school which has helped you in taking up such unconventional roles in your life?

Shweta shares that while she was in her college, she ran behind conventional roles a lot which later helped her realise that this is not what she wanted to get into.  

Shubham Bansal added to it that his part-time job managing a music school centre really helped him in having a management mindset. Do such jobs and roles where you can show your leadership skills. Internships are the places where you perform and not only learn.

Make sure that whenever you get an opportunity to do or learn something new, grab the opportunity and make the best use of it. Chase what gives you happiness – be it conventional or unconventional as in the end, it will all make sense.

What is your suggestion for everyone reading this?

If you are happy, growing and learning then it does not matter how much you earn. It does not matter what other people have to say about your job. No one can bring you down when you are happy with what you are doing. Marks is not the only thing which you should be worried about in your life. 

Don’t be afraid of how society is going to judge you. Start caring more about what you wish to do in your life. Taking chances is important as even if you fail, the failure becomes your best teacher. Just be happy in whatever you are doing. 

Try to work in a start-up as it will put you in a lot of different shoes and you have the opportunity to figure out which role is something you enjoy working in and what you are really passionate about.

What is your advice for someone who is restarting their legal journey after a gap of 20 years?

The gap is never actually a break as you have been a learner throughout and have done a lot of other things in the meantime. The advantage of doing law is that it can be associated with every sector and every industry. There is a lot of scope available for lawyers. The willingness to learn after the gap of 20 years is what matters the most. 

Find out and understand what your strengths are, if you wish to get into litigation, start reading about the subject and topic of your interest and the area you wish to get into. 

Start writing as it will help you in developing your research skills and your ability to express your ideas. Writing also helps in sharing your knowledge with others. Get your articles and research papers published as it will also work as a motivation for you. 

Focus on prioritizing – be it in the professional front or personal life. Finding answers becomes easy when you learn to prioritize what you wish to do. It is okay to be different and perfectly fine to learn something different, what is important is to keep learning and keep growing. 


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