This article is written by Anubhav Pandey. Anubhav is the Blog Manager at iPleaders, an academic at Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law and a regular contributor to various legal websites.
Who says money is merely a spec of dirt in the hands? It will slip away one day! Ask us, the law students going for moots and research papers. A moot costs you on an average more than 3000. The amount of refund depends from college to college. However, moot is a gamble. If you hit the jackpot then a refund along with the cash prize, if not. Go empty handed.
Money is just one of the reason why we must do a part time job while studying law. Let me start with a simple question, do law school prepares us for the legal profession awaiting outside? Are the modules which we go through a night before the exams all that we need? Please share us your thoughts with us in the comment box below.
Yes, when it comes to internships, they are the most useful part and a must for practical learning. Ask me what good can an internship do. Here goes my story. I went to iPleaders for an internship in December 2016. IPleaders provides a stipend of INR 5000 on achieving certain metrics. 50 articles of publishable quality in 30 days it is. I somehow managed to bag the stipend. 50 articles it was in 30 days. We should know how to excel in an internship. However, correct advice on how to excel in an internship is hard to get. Check out this online course on ace your internship. This course is designed to enable law students to tackle two major challenges: secure corporate internships (at corporate law firms or companies) and perform extraordinarily well so that you can get a job offer.
Ramanuj, my boss now and internship coordinator then offered me an opportunity to write paid blogs for iPleaders. Few months went by and I was writing for iPleaders blog religiously. Banging on new legal topics every day, the idea of paving way for access to justice by reaching out to more than 6 lakh readers motivated me throughout. After writing for 3 months, I was made the editor at iPleaders blog. And guess what, the bucks which I got to write an article changed its form into a constant monthly salary. I remember making my first invoice, it was one of the best feelings.
Why am I asking every law student out there to work while still being inside the law school? Is it all about the money? My answer is no. Money is the by-product. Let me explain this by giving you five reasons why every law student must do part time job while still being inside the law school.
I call it 5 reasons why earning while you’re learning is a great fun!
Being financially Independent
Why are we all studying law? Eventually, the idea is to be independent financially. Ain’t it? Obviously, it is. So what are we waiting for? Why not start making some money while still studying? Why not contribute to country’s economic workforce while we all can. Why not decrease the burden of our family and help saving couple of bucks, which not to mention crosses thousands every month. Best thought, why not pay our own college fees while we can! What I say sounds utopian? Trust me it is not. It is possible to do all that I say while we are still studying. Keep on reading and you’ll get to know how.
Making an impact – In my case, making law accessible to more than half a million people
It’s hard to make an impact at the very starting of our career. I find it difficult to understand what it means by making an impact in a strict sense at the very nascent stage of our career. Readers discretion! By making an impact here, I do not mean the impact which can change the world as we all think we will do by sitting in our hostel rooms. I find it hard to understand when people quit their first job after 3 months citing the reason, damn! I was not able to make any real impact.
Making an impact takes time. It is the small things which we learn over years that help us bringing the bigger change. Please do not expect yourself to be Mr Harish Salve after your first moot!
Now, just think how good you might feel when an article that you’ve written months ago on NRI marriages helped someone registering a complaint and escaping the foreign land where she was tortured by her in-laws every day.
This is what I mean by making an impact. It can be in any way, one way might be by helping someone filing their tax returns! Helping a startup by giving them structuring advice. Taking part in your legal aid cell and helping people sort family disputes legally. In my case, the satisfaction of making law accessible to the masses is what drives me. This satisfaction further increased when we launched the initiative of HINDI BLOG. Yes, iPleaders is now in Hindi too. Click here to read Hindi blog.
Tasting the practical side of law
Internships can do wonders. I see my fellow law school mates often crying about the attendance issues and how GLC students get more exposure by working as an intern at some law firm throughout the year. What makes these students stand out? Is it the practical observation and study of law which they are undergoing backed with law school learning?
The answer is yes. Imagine you are working for XYZ law firm while still studying and drafting legal notices every day. Or say, filing RTI for someone. Leave that, just getting an undertrial out of jail. This is a victory. Clubbing your theoretical knowledge with practical experience. It’s the same way as we add spices to raw food.
Being the Blog Manager and the internship coordinator at iPleaders, I get to interact with lots of people. Interns, advocates, entrepreneurs. Managing the blog requires teamwork and precision. My job teaches me how we can achieve more as a team. Finding practical side of law in our law school textbooks is impossible. Here is a sample material of an online course which gives you a practical flavour of law. It’s for free.
Getting up to date with the law
My job as the Blog Manager at iPleaders is to decide which topic should go live, and ensuring the laws are factually correct. I will fail miserably if I do not update myself with the recent happening in the field of law every evening. Therefore, getting up to date with the recent law is a by-product of working while still being inside the law school for me.
Teaches you discipline and integrity
Abhyuday, COO and Co-Founder at Lawsikho asked me, what did I learn from my internship at iPleaders. My reply amazed him. I said, “without integrity, nothing persists”. He started laughing. This used to be the wifi password for our old office at Saket.
While my friends are out every day, partying hard, I am found working, either in my college canteen or library. At times, I even have to miss few birthdays because of work. Also, I have to fast forward all the episodes of Game of Thrones as I know I have to catch all the fun in limited hours. I am found with my iPad and Bluetooth keyboard like a freak during college hours. Why? When a class goes free, my work is on!
Is it scary? Let me relieve your stress with this paragraph. I work from Monday to Saturday without a break, and try to minimise all the fun during the weekdays. Things are not the same on the 7th day of the week! Here you go. Being in Patiala is a great fun and the most special part is Punjabi Weddings. We gatecrash weddings, (I hope not to be sued for trespassing) have great food, go on a long drive (yes, you can buy a bike too with your own money while still being inside the law school), go to the nearby gurudwara, do some sewa, be spiritually engaged and what not.
Now, do you think missing on the weekday fun is that hard? For me, it is not. I shouldn’t lie, initially, it was but with time I got disciplined. Life in a law firm will be the same. No different. You might be asked to work even on Sundays. Will that be difficult then? Else, just assume you are thinking of joining the bar, do you think your Sundays will be free? When will you prepare for Monday briefs? Let’s just discuss another aspect of being a part of the bench. Do you think Civil Judges (Entry Level) are free totally on Sundays? I can assure you they are not. Tons of cases are pending. I leave the rest for you to decide.
If life is this difficult outside then why not prepare ourselves from now on? I believe we all should be prepared to face long hours of work once we are out of the law school. This is the reality and we should accept it.
Enough on WHY you should think of working while still studying law. Let us talk about some HOWs.
Here are 5 ways for earning while you are still learning the law.
Assisting a lawyer near your college
Start interning with an advocate in the city. Try to accommodate three to four hours post-college. Things will be difficult in the first few months. Adjusting to the college hours will be hard. Chances are high that you might not even be getting a single penny for the first couple of months. Things will turn from the moment you start proving yourself from a mere learner to an asset. Do amazing research, learn the craft of drafting, specialise in any field of law and accelerate in that. Simply put, impress your advocate with your diligence and hard work and when the time is ripe, just convey your intention of working with the advocate for years to come while you are still in the college. I am sure, this will generate good opportunity. The months you’ve spent learning won’t go in vain. However, you have to be patient. I’ve seen people taking 5 to 6 months for making their first bucks. One can make anywhere between 4 to 8k a month while assisting an advocate.
The bigger question is how to excel in drafting skills? How to do better research? The sad news is, college does not teach you how to land directly to the point of research. You have to take the initiative yourself. Look for courses in contract drafting. Learning how to draft a contract is a must. I found this amazing course on contract drafting. It’s online. The course teaches you all the fundamental of contract drafting. Getting an edge on contract drafting is a must. This will help you be a champion in the place where you are interning.
This is how I started. There are multiple platforms which accept paid write-ups. All it takes is effective writing. You cannot write anything under the sun on law and expect people to pay for random pieces of stuff. It requires skill and a complete thought process in writing. From framing the skeleton structure to writing about things which could be found nowhere on the internet. I call it the USP of an article. If you want to learn how to write legal articles you can apply for these courses. An inherent marking scheme of these courses depends on your ability to write and pursuing this course will make you an effective writer. You can also apply for an internship at iPleaders by sending your updated CV at [email protected].
Tutoring at CLAT tutorials
This option might be common to most of the readers. In every college, we have students working in a nearby coaching institute. This is perhaps one of the best options for those who are willing to pursue an LLM and go for a teaching career in law. Helping new tutorials to establish, even making question papers for them, study materials and helping in whatever way you can.
Nowadays, law as a career is being sought by a large number of people. CLAT takers are in search of best materials. This is one of the best online course on CLAT legal reasoning I’ve ever come across.
Helping startup’s with compliances
Startup’s are popping nowadays in large number. Today’s generation is that of entrepreneurship. So why not take advantage of the situation and help startups by incorporating them. Shifting them from the garage of the founders to the Register of Companies. How to do this?
This can only be done when you yourself know what the law is and how to go about company’s registration. It is the practical side of the law. You can learn this by taking up this course. The course is designed by NUJS and is helping thousands of professionals.
Making Rent Agreements, Sale Deed, Contracts
Lawyers outside take thousands of rupees just for making a rent agreement. Think of the change you will bring if you do the same for 500 bucks. The question is how to draft rent agreements, sale deed and other contracts? You can take this course and learn amazing drafting skills. The course provides templates of major commercial agreements you need in day to day life.
Similarly, lawyers take thousands of bucks just for filing an RTI while this can be done for 10 bucks. Know how to file RTI, try to look for people or organisation working on RTI.
How to figure out more ways of making money while studying inside the law school
My favourite writer Mario Puzo, in his famous work the Godfather, puts, “A lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than a thousand men with guns”. However, there is a little twist to Puzo’s statement. It is not enough to have the briefcase, you need the papers inside the briefcase weighing more than all the bullets combined together.
Here is an amazing list of online courses which will definitely help you achieve your goal.
I am writing this for all law students who find it difficult to go for moot because of money issues. I am writing this for all those who are struggling with their college fees. I am a writer on weekdays and a music teacher on weekend. I teach students guitar in Patiala. Finding mentors in legal profession is an arduous task. During my internship at iPleaders I found 3 amazing mentors. Ramanuj, Gareema and Abhyuday. Mentors play an important part in building who you are.
Please comment below and share your thoughts on doing part time job while studying law. I will make sure to answer all the doubts and queries. If you want to learn how to write amazing legal articles, you can reach out to me at [email protected] You can also share your thoughts about this article and other ways of earning while still learning inside the law school. ALL THE BEST AND HAPPY LEARNING.