Understanding the recruitment process of tier 1 law firms
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This article has been written by Yash Singhal a student of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies, GGSIPU.

Summary of the LawSikho Webinar

‘Understanding the recruitment process of tier 1 law firms’ webinar by Anubhav Garg and Satyam Dwivedi is based on the recruitment process of tier 1 law firms for young lawyers to acquaint themselves of the required skills to increase their chances of getting recruited by these law firms. This is an interactive session with detailed information shared on the topic.

Description of the Guest speaker

Mr Satyam Dwivedi is a Rajiv Gandhi National University of Law, Patiala graduate who secured a tier 1 law firm job. He has done an intensive amount of internships since his first year of law school while starting his journey with an internship in one of the most lucrative law firm, Karanjawala and Co. to be followed by Cyril Amarchand and Mangaldas and currently working at L &L Partners. He has worked in the Dispute Resolution Department in all of these firms. He has ventured in all levels of law firms with a belief that you should work with dedication at whichever place you are working in.

Description of the Moderator

Mr Anubhav Garg is a Management Trainee at LawSikho after securing a PPO at his internship with iPleaders (a subsidiary of LawSikho in blogs on legal content) for content writing and event manager. He is currently pursuing his BBA LLB from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Delhi. He has demonstrable experience in the field of business laws and functioning of courts and Tribunals in this matter. He keeps his content writing skills above anything and has an illustrious internship experience in content writing with some of the best platforms.

Excerpts of the Webinar

Q. What are the steps of the recruitment process of these law firms?

(Satyam) It is divided into fresher hiring and lateral hiring. The fresher hiring deals with two ways of hiring- Pre-Placement Offer and the On/Off-Campus hiring. The process starts with a questionnaire based on general topics to be filled by the candidate. In the case of PPO, the individual needs to identify the needs and area of interest of the earlier team to secure a PPO as only the same team can offer it. The clarity about the area of interest should be present. The last step is the interview round which intends to test the knowledge of the candidate on relevant legal aspects. 

Q. What kind of performance is expected from an intern to be considered for a PPO?

(Satyam) The interns and the junior associates are assigned with research work in the beginning. The efficiency and the sincerity towards the work provided while reflecting the knowledge of law is a major benchmark. The writing skills should be up to the mark without compromising on punctuality. The effort towards your work is the most essential element. (on NLUs preference) The law firms due to limited demand and an unlimited supply of lawyers avoid this hassle by approaching tier 1 law schools. But the bias is not there as such as there are a pretty good number of non-NLU students working in these firms. 

Q. What are some common mistakes students make in their CVs or cover letters that reduce their chances of securing an internship/job in a tier 1 law firm?

(Satyam) You should visit international university websites (Harvard and Oxford) to read the samples from their students or surf LinkedIn to search for tier 1 law firm profiles to learn about it. You should try to get maximum internship experience right from the first year and also engage in mooting which is closest to the real simulation of litigation. Always write research papers on a specific field to show your interest and also convince the employer of your area of interest. 

Q. What are some extracurricular activities that need to be there in the CV to increase its strength?

(Satyam) The academics play a major role in the CV as it is a way to filter candidates by the law firms. Adding to this, the mooting experience and the research papers/articles are testimonies to your writing skills. You must be able to identify your interest while doing these activities at the earliest. The core element of the recruitment process in a tier 1 law firm depends on the innate knowledge of the laws you have learnt throughout your law school (on personal experience). The internship must be based on the area of interest and hence the application in those firms that specialise in that field. I followed the reverse process of learning law by studying the reasoning behind the introduction of the different statutes.

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Q, What are some of the additional qualifications required to secure the job in the tier 1 law firm?

(Satyam) The additional qualification, such as LLM, increases the odds of you being recruited by these tier 1 law firms. The scholarship in the international universities or completion of the degree from some reputable university is a preferred option by all of these firms. I would suggest you to opt for corporate law as many courses are available on SEBI or NSE websites. Additionally, the modules provided by private websites based on the practical working aspect also helps a lot. 

Q. What are some of the employment challenges faced by young lawyers during the initial time of their career?

(Satyam) The basics learnt in law school should be remembered, the deadlines are short and the pressure is extreme while you are working in the tier 1 law firm. The law firms are a service-based industry that requires commitment from their employees, so the deliverables need to be quick. The challenges are extreme but the seniors are there to guide. The working hours are high and it becomes important to make up your mind to completely commit yourself to work before joining the firm. The job of the associate is different from the partner, where the associate is required to cater to the demands of their employers.

Q. What is the role of networking in landing a job with the tier 1 law firm and how to network in a professional way?

(Satyam) The employers at tier 1 law firms should be approached in a friendly manner as they do understand the ordeals of the candidates seeking a job with their law firm. There are a lot of avenues to network through online forums or visit seminars or workshops to meet professionals. The individuals should apply in the maximum number of firms as they can. The students seeking answers to simple queries can never be pushy and they should approach their seniors. Most often, the experienced people share their knowledge with juniors. 

Q. How to stand out as an intern in the law firms? What are some possible aspects where some improvement can help an intern fetch a PPO?

(Satyam) When you are competing with multiple interns of similar law school experience, your knowledge of law is the factor that distinguishes you from others. Whatever work you are assigned should be delivered on time to the concerned team. In cases when everyone shares equal knowledge of law, the understanding of the practical aspects more than the theoretical aspects of law makes the ultimate difference. The nuances of practice works better than theory through books. The opportunities need to be grabbed as they come to you.

Q. How to build cordial contact/connection with the already working associates in the law firms?

(Satyam) One way is to volunteer to assist these associates or the teams these associates work with to complete a task assigned. This way you communicate with them in a professional manner. You can also raise questions which can be answered by these associates once they know you personally and professionally. Be upfront and humble to them while communicating. If you are dedicated and focussed towards your work, this networking automatically follows. You can always approach them for small talks to seek answers to some issues you are facing and no one refuses to interact when someone approaches them. 

Q. What is the major difference between the litigating law firm and the individual practice at the court?

(Satyam) The requirements of the clients are different in both of these. The volume of cases with the senior advocate is high. On the other hand, the volume of cases for the dispute resolution department of the law firm may not be as much. The difference in the complexity of matters is present in both of these. The majority of law firms work in criminal or corporate matters. The level of research work is extreme at these law firms, as opposed to the litigant lawyer. 

Q. How do we overcome the lack of physical internship in this lockdown period and do virtual internships an alternative to these physical internships?

(Satyam) I would suggest everyone to follow the approach of the reverse study of law to polish your understanding of the law. You should always understand the practical nuances of each sphere of law to gain some positive benefit from it. Try to attain as much practice knowledge as you can by reading material and manuals available online, go in detail and fetch as much information as possible. The stress management is important so one should identify itself before venturing into the law firms. 


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