3 days back, I started a thought experiment. Who will you hire?
I gave 3 candidates.
Candidate number one: Went to National Law School, Bangalore. Has a track record of winning moots. Has written 6-7 academic papers and journal articles on corporate-commercial legal issues. Perfect English. Seems like capable of hard work, and will get well with the team because he seems to know how to get along with people. This will be his first job. Does not know much practical skills yet, will have to be trained in how to do the job if selected. High expectations about salary and growth opportunities.
Candidate number two: graduate of a law school you have not heard of before. Was topper in class. Remembers all the sections of CrPC and Transfer of Property Act. Makes many mistakes while writing and speaking English. Not so sophisticated in social circumstances. Went to some small regional moots. Published one journal article in life. This will be her first job. Pro is that can be hired very cheap, super motivated but will need a lot of training, not only on how to do practical work but also on other things like English. Very low expectations of salary.
Candidate number 3: graduate of a law school you have not heard of before. Did not mention marks in the CV which means it wasn’t great. Has two years of work experience. Can do due diligence, draft contracts, write professionally acceptable emails. Very down to earth, but gets communication right. There is nothing else to speak of except that he seems to be someone who already knows what is the work and how to do it thanks to previous experience. Does not expect the world from the job as expectations are tampered by previous experience in the job market. Diligent, hard working, knows his place in the team and will work accordingly.
You can hire only one of these 3 people. Who will you hire? And why?
I gave a detailed context also. And there were some more questions. You can read in detail here.
So the verdict is in. What do you think it could be?
I got 34 responses by email. I got half a dozen more in LinkedIn and Facebook.
Who do you think people said they want to hire?
Almost everyone sided with candidate 3. One said they will hire candidate no 1. And another said candidate no 2. That’s it.
44 out of 46 went with candidate 3. That is 95.7%.
A lot of those who responded already work in law firms. Some of them are actually involved in hiring.
What is the takeaway?
Your academic record, the pedigree of school, extra curricular etc pale in comparison to you being able to get the work done.
Can you get the work done? Do you have to be trained extensively? Are you going to be immediately productive at the time of hiring?
An overwhelming 95.7% agreed that candidate 3, with his realistic expectations and ability to get work done, is a better hire.
Be humble. Be prepared. Learn the skills that are highly in demand. Learn the practical aspect of legal work. And you can make your way into any law firm job. Or in house counsel job.
Can you get the work done? At every level, and not only at entry level jobs, but this is also the primary question.
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