I was speaking to a Calcutta University law student. She was in the second year of a 5-year program.
She was one of the sharpest people I have ever spoken to. She said that internship reviews of law students are very vague. It is not clear what work they did in the internship. She wondered why.
I told her that this was the case because most law students themselves did not know why they were performing the tasks that they did. I know this because I speak to multiple law students every-day.
She read a number of law books, but she had recognized that they didn’t teach her how to serve a client. She wanted to learn that. She was clear that this will be essential to make her employable.
We then discussed that the cost of a Lawsikho diploma was INR 30,000 (if she paid in instalments). She was clear about the value, but felt very guilty about asking her father to finance and support this.
She was already self-financing her college fees for her law degree by providing tuitions to school kids in Class X – XII. Hats off to her commitment and drive. Thankfully, Calcutta University fees is not very high, unlike some expensive national law universities and private law schools.
Nevertheless, we did some quick calculations on the call. We were exploring the best way in which she could help her father out.
At 15% compound interest per annum, if she helps her father save that INR 30,000 it will become INR 60,000 over 5 years.
(15% per annum compound interest is what the best mutual funds in today’s stock markets can promise you. The brightest real estate deals also will not fetch you more.)
Her living cost, while staying at home was INR 5,000 per month.
She said it was unlikely that she would be able to earn more by providing tuitions. It would consume more time if she did and that was not feasible for her. Currently, she needed to spend whatever time she had left to her studies and internships.
Therefore, her dad would be paying INR 1,80,000 if he supported her for 3 years and if she did not earn any more.
If she did one of our classroom courses (EC or diploma), she would drastically improve her likelihood of securing an internship in her preferred area of interest, owing to increased direction, publishing articles relevant to the area (our students publish one article per month) and performing practical tasks to acquire relevant skills over a period of a few months.
Apart from increasing her chances of securing an internship, this would also enable her to perform better at an internship. She would be able to add value as she would know things and would have performed some of the tasks beforehand. She would understand what the clients wanted from her seniors, and what the seniors expected out of her. Her work would stand out.
Owing to the large difference between her and others, her seniors would be interested in giving her more work and responsibility in the first month itself.
They would be interested in extending her internship. She was willing to perform a continuous internship.
In a couple of months, maybe they would also be willing to pay her a small stipend. Why not? If she saves a senior’s time and enables him or her to work for more clients, would paying her a stipend of INR 10,000 hurt her senior?
This would enable her to gradually reduce the time she spent in taking tuitions.
In another couple of months, her stipend could increase by INR 2000-5000, at which point she would completely stop taking tuitions, as she would be earning the same or a slightly higher amount.
If she could help a friend, a relative once in a few months, she could charge about INR 10,000.
Look at what happens from this point onward.
All her efforts are channelized in one direction- towards her dream career. Her lack of financial support has no impact anymore.
Her finances and life situation have turned around. Everything she does from here will directly benefit her career.
Now, let us assume that she was earning an average INR 10,000 per month from her 3rd year onwards. (This is a very modest figure, as she could have started out with INR 5,000 and in a few months earned about 15,000 or even more. Let’s take an average of INR 10,000 to keep it reasonable.)
In 3 years, she would earn INR 3,60,000.
She would have recovered 12 times the course fee amount.
She would have earned enough to self-finance her living costs for these 3 years, which would amount to INR 1,80,000, assuming INR 5,000 per month.
She would have repaid the course fee of INR 30,000 to her dad during this period.
She would still have a surplus of INR 1,50,000, which she could route towards paying her LLB fees at Calcutta University.
She would have gone far ahead in pursuit of her career than she would have had if she continued taking tuitions for Class X or Class XII subjects in the long term.
Of course, it’s not the course alone, but her own efforts combined with the course, which led to the results she had.
How much did it help her father save?
Decision 1: Save INR 30,000, but spend INR 1,80,000 on living costs. In addition, pay college fees. Impart tuitions to finance them.
As a result, she would be minus 1,80,000. Plus, she would have less time to learn about the area of law in which she wants to build a career.
This entails some risk after graduation. She would have no clear advantage over others that would make it more likely for her to obtain a job.
Decision 2: Spend INR 30,000, earn INR 3,60,000.
Pay INR 1,80,000 for living cost. Repay the course fees as well.
Shift from tuitions to long-term internships. Learn way more.
Earning a reasonable stipend during college itself would give her the confidence that she would secure a job (or multiple offers) after graduating.
In fact, I have heard of horror stories of law students interning in law firms for as long as a year for free. When they asked for a stipend, they were asked to leave.
(The reason was because they were not able to add value as they did not possess enough skills. Of course, after one year of working, it would be difficult for them to absorb this.)
Now tell me, which one is better?
(Some of you may be wondering about what will happen if this plan does not work. For that, watch out for another email this week. I will deal with fear of failure extensively.)
For those of you who are interested, here are some of the courses which are closing for enrolment in the next 10 days:
EXECUTIVE CERTIFICATE COURSES
Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skill.