This article is written by Abhyuday Agarwal, COO, LawSikho
Most people don’t want to imagine getting the job after going for an interview.
What if they fail to make it? All their dreams would come crashing down.
Naturally, they would feel like failures or idiots for having those dreams. So it is better not to dream at all.
Really? How is it better?
In college, I was desperate to get a foreign law firm job, and I really bombed three foreign law firm interviews (Allen & Overy, Herbert Smith and Ashurst) after getting shortlisted in the application stage. This was in my fourth year.
I was crestfallen. I know others in my batch who met a similar fate. It took them a couple of years to recover. This was the dream they were cherishing for a while, and it came crashing to the ground.
I felt that I will no longer have the experience of working on cutting-edge corporate deals. I was crestfallen.
Next year, I obtained a job offer from Trilegal (and two other law firms) on day zero, the first day of campus recruitment in college, but the scar of failure remained.
While in college itself, I had decided to start working on the Indian market to explore the idea of ‘legal risk management’ with Ramanuj, my friend and batchmate.
I wanted to be back to working on the cutting-edge of things in my own way, so I chose to explore a new way in which law can be used to improve business. We started something working on an idea of legal risk management, which later translated into practical legal education delivered online, iPleaders and then Lawsikho.
Back then, it was a rebellious attempt to reclaim a dream. (Some years later, I could fully see the potential of it as I delved deeper into this work.)
But the question remains still remains – was I a fool to dream of making it and working in a foreign law firm in London? Had my future crashed to the ground?
Yes, it had crashed. This is what I thought at that time.
At work, I have had many more business meetings with potential collaborators, applied for different kinds of awards, made pitches to potential investors (when we were considering raising investment but decided against it later) and I have been rejected many times, and been successful on some occasions too. Initially, some of the rejections hurt, especially when people said that what we have started is just a ‘lifestyle’ business.
These meetings were very similar to interviews – tense, filled with uncertainty and nervous energy. A lot depended on the outcome of the interview.
My thought process changed after meeting Sanjeev Bikhchandani, who is the Vice-Chairman of the Info-Edge group. He had founded Naukri.com and several other companies is a co-founder of Ashoka University and has been a mentor to some of the most successful Indian startups. He discovered, mentored, invested in and helped to build companies like Policybazaar and Zomato. He is not just one of India’s handful of billionaires, he is also considered a pioneer of the Indian internet industry and commands the greatest respect in the highest echelons of corporate India.
After a 20 minute meeting where I showed him our work, he said, “This is great work. Well done. Keep it up.” He also agreed to mentor us.
As I returned from the meeting, tears flowed down my face. Tears of joy and satisfaction. I really felt that I had accomplished something worthwhile.
That day onwards, my faith in what we were doing increased manifold. I had experienced tremendous recognition for my efforts and hard work through his compliment.
Since then, I have imagined one thing before every meeting – what happens if the meeting succeeds. What happens if I win. I would do this even if I failed.
I noticed that rejection does not hurt so much, because the dream is my own, and it doesn’t crash.
I can still nurture the dream, and achieve it in another way.
I also realized that the enjoyment I derived from dreaming was completely mine. It did not get destroyed with a negative result. The time I spent dreaming will remain unchanged in the past even after my failure. Failure then only hardens my resolve and sharpens my desire for achieving my dream.
In athletics, a similar concept of creative visualization is used by athletes. They imagine success before they start a race. Legendary swimmer Michael Phelps was taught to imagine his entire swimming lap by lap, stroke by stroke, in his head, every night before he slept. That is how he primed before any competition too. He would close his eyes and visualize himself swimming the perfect laps, and winning.
However, every athlete who participates does not win the race, even though they follow this technique.
One must learn to deal with failure if one is to harness the full power of creative visualization and win the most.
Definitely, failure in any interviews amounted to the closure of one door, but it did not end the dream. While I did not become a global corporate lawyer working in a magic circle firm, many of our students are now working in international firms.
Hundreds are working as corporate lawyers in India’s best law firms. And I am building the greatest legal education powerhouse in the world, doing breakthrough work that has never been done, learning and growing every day. On my own terms!
The source of satisfaction is the fact that I take pride in the work we do. We do what has never been done. We design courses that are cutting-edge, which deliver results in an obvious way, and that result can be measured. And we keep improving ourselves and learning from failures to stay on the cutting edge of innovation in legal education.
I take immense pride in the fact that we are not just leading the pack in legal education, but we are way ahead of the curve. No competitors have ever built anything even remotely close to what we offer.
I take pride in our mission itself, which is to enable people to become extraordinary lawyers and business leaders, and that we are at it now. I visualize success even in this. I imagine the day when the legal industry will be dominated by our students who would be far more competent and knowledgeable than their peers. How amazing it would be!
I am working on impacting how the law is learned and practiced in India through LawSikho. It is the biggest game I have ever taken on.
Whether you are concerned about being a first-generation lawyer, or not having a large network, or not being from a top national law school, or at the top of your class, or for any other reason, remember that you still have a shot at acing your dream interview.
You still have a shot at doing great work. At making a difference and being known for it. A shot at living a great life.
A shot worth taking.
If you want to develop some cutting-edge practical skills as a lawyer, here are the courses open for enrolment:
Executive Certificate Courses
Certificate Course in Legal Practice Development and Management
Certificate Course in Advanced Criminal Litigation & Trial Advocacy Certificate
Certificate Course in Consumer Litigation
Certificate Course in Trademark Licensing, Prosecution and Litigation
Certificate Course in Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) Litigation
Certificate Course in Companies Act
Certificate Course in Labour, Employment and Industrial Laws for HR Managers
Judgment Writing and Drafting Course for Judicial Services