Today’s piece is actually a continuation from a previous discussion. If you are interested in understanding why NLU students have an advantage over other law students, and how you can nullify that effect, keep reading. NLU students are welcome to read if you want to understand what are your strengths and how you could amplify them even further.
So what are the factors that give NLU graduates an edge over the rest? Apart from the reasons discussed in the earlier piece, there are several more. Can you relate to these? If you can think of more reasons, leave a comment for me, I would be eager to add more to this list if I missed out something.
Recruitment driven campus culture
It is often said that you are the average of the 6 people you interact with the most. People source their personality, thoughts, actions, and energy from others around them.
We model ourselves after our successful predecessors and role models.
When you are in a top NLU, you hear about recruitment all the time.
In my first year, I saw the 5th year students getting jobs, and throwing post-recruitment parties! We loved it. This was our future hopefully as well if we could keep things together. The reward was on our face.
So was the fear. We saw after the 2009 market crash a batch of graduates struggling to get jobs. Toppers who didn’t get top placements. Seniors worried for months.
Recruitment got into our blood. It not only decided that we must intern as much as we could but also meant we applied to a thousand places if we had to. We would work on our CV as if our life depended on it.
Once a friend from a Calcutta University law college asked me how he can get a good internship because he applied to several places and didn’t get any response.
So I asked him, how many places did you apply to? First I applied to 2, and when I got no response, I applied to 3 more.
I think I started laughing. I had applied to 25 places that summer. I had called up seniors asking for advice. I poured over the internet trying to understand what would be the right place to intern. I obsessed over getting the CV right. Read entire books about it. Then I got just 2-3 responses.
My friend just applied to 5 places. And then gave up because no one responded. He didn’t even google once “what to do in order to get good internships”.
That’s often the secret. The people who get 10X results are often wired to put in 20x effort if needed.
And that is what also sets the top NLUs apart. Hustle would be in the air because everyone is doing everything they can to get internships, join societies, go for extracurricular events and what not, everything keeping one outcome in mind: getting a job.
That kind of single-minded focus definitely works wonders.
Interestingly, it is not just the students, even the management thinks in that way. Every teacher makes an effort to invite experts to the university, hold events that improve the profile of the university with recruiters and keep reminding the students what they need to do in order to get the jobs that they are ultimately interested in.
This definitely helps when it comes to bagging the most number of most sought after jobs in the Indian legal industry. The biggest disadvantage of a non-NLU student, therefore, is a lack of such focussing of attention on recruitment and what is needed to succeed in that game.
How can you replicate this in your life? Very often, law students focus on the marks they get from academics. That is fine, but how much will that help you to get the jobs you dream of? It is a hangover from boards exam for most people, where your academic score was the parameter of success and you were supposed to get into good colleges based on that score.
As far as a career in law is considered, what marks you score in college is likely to have very little impact in your career. It is good to get good marks, but it is not good if all your time went into that pursuit and you did not stop to think about how you will get your first job after college.
If you plan your 3 years, or 5 years, whatever it may be, with a focus on recruitment, you will probably do things very differently.
For example, one of my greatest focus in college was on learning to speak good English and learning to write flawlessly. It took me a long time and it was hard. The general environment around me was quite discouraging. However, I knew I must get good at these skills if I was to stand any chance at getting the top law jobs. So I kept at it right from my first year.
Another thing I did was focussing on a specific area of law, Structured Finance and its regulation, and read as much as I could on the subject, wrote papers about it and even blogged about it. The result was that I knew this very well, and in interviews could floor the partners with the level of knowledge I had on such an advanced subject.
I planned and executed it and in the end, all the work paid off.
You need to plan, too! Our courses at LawSikho is geared towards our learners being able to do an amazing job given an opportunity (whether at an assessment internship, or a test before the interview, or a trial assignment of any sort) on a specific area of law.
We decide our curriculum, our assignments, and even what we would cover in a call keeping a few things in mind, and that is what you would have to do when you get the job, or when clients come to you. We reduce the time needed for lawyers to learn on the job, by training them on the same before they even get the job. This increases your likelihood of succeeding in an interview.
Surprise your interviewers. Impress them, and make them wonder how you have learned so much. Go beyond their normal expectations. That is how we train our students, and that is the secret of our success!
Focus on internships
One of the consequences of being focussed on jobs is that students are highly focussed on internships. Before NLUs, law students did not use to intern. It was mostly an unheard concept. NLU students began to intern aggressively from their first year itself.
By the time I finished my 3rd years, I had done over 12 internships. I would intern at every opportunity I got.
As the first movers in the class would begin to talk about where they were applying and where they were accepted, we would begin to apply. And we used to apply even 1 year in advance. And kept applying.
I remember I had applied for internships to places like Bhutan, Mongolia, Seychelles and Mauritius. It didn’t work, but did that stop me from keep trying? Absolutely not.
Our semesters were planned in a way so that we could get maximum time to intern. That was indeed very helpful.
I mostly see that non-NLU students wake up towards the end of their college about the need to intern. By then, the opportunities have shrunk, and the people who have been interning from the first year end up having a far superior, putting the late beginners in an even worse spot.
The more you intern, the more you get to network with good lawyers and peers, and the more you develop an understanding about what you have to do to succeed at a workplace.
Remember that in big law firms, for every 10 or 20 interns, only one would get hired for a job. Hence, it is your job to be the very best and belong to the top 1% of your batch so that you really stand out.
It is therefore important to plan for internships. And very important to intern as many times you can, and starting early will give you a huge advantage.
At LawSikho, we realized that ensuring internships, especially assessment internships that lead to jobs for our students will be a critical element of our success. Hence, we created an entire ecosystem involving top lawyers and law firms who were initially willing to try out our students, and now are very welcoming to students we recommend.
However, the critical aspect here is that we do not recommend anyone and everyone, nor do we guarantee any jobs or internships. We only recommend those who we believe are ready for that opportunity based on their performance in classes, assignments etc.
Further, we give access to most of our students who are looking for an internship to an entire course on how to do well in interviews and how to make amazing CVs, at no additional cost.
Top NLUs have amazing brands in the Indian legal education industry. They are in fact the biggest brands. This has happened as a result of a sustained effort from the NLUs. Even Jindal Global Law School has built a great brand.
How was this possible?
They go to great lengths to celebrate the success of students. They allocate resources and support students to go and win moots, debates and other such activities. They invite influencers and legal who’s who to the campus to give lectures and participate in various activities.
All these go a long way in promoting the brand of a law school.
However, it is not only the law school that is branded. One very important thing is personal branding. Law students learn this lesson early in some law schools.
They make an effort to attend conferences, publish papers, win competitions, even write books in some cases. This is how they keep improving their brand and visibility. It’s like an arms race in these law schools, everyone is trying to build the biggest brand they can!
This is something that is completely missing outside top NLUs, and that definitely has a very negative impact.
At LawSikho, this is why we help our students to build a personal brand by making them write and publish an article every week. We also share with the opportunities that will otherwise enhance their brand, such as opportunities to write book chapters, attend conferences and events, join webinars, get featured on iPleaders blog and superlawyer, etc.
Strong student bodies
Top NLUs have strong representative student bodies elected by students. These bodies do a great job of keeping student interest at the forefront. University administration has to keep the student bodies in mind while making policy decisions, and this means that NLUs are often far more student-friendly than traditional universities.
These bodies also organize a lot of activities, from college fests to talks by eminent scholars. Most of them are given a budget for doing all kinds of activities. This helps in branding and recognition certainly, but the benefits go much further.
The students working on these events and activities learn how to work in teams, how to communicate with experts and famous lawyers, get to interact with a wide variety of people and built up a solid professional network if they are smart.
In fact, even recruitment committees in most of the top NLUs are run by students, while private colleges usually have permanent staff to do that work. These student run recruitment committees are usually very aggressive, and have a lot of smart law students working for it day and night, making these NLUs a formidable force when it comes to recruitment. Most private colleges, despite all the money and senior staff, cannot match the speed, eagerness and earnestness of these student run recruitment committee.
At LawSikho, as an online course provider, we don’t have the opportunity to build up student bodies. However, young and old students, lawyers and business executives who hire lawyers, recruiters and those who want to be recruited, all are part of our various courses, as learners or as industry-academia panel members, creating our courses an excellent place to network and find opportunities.
How are you going to add these advantages to your own career?
Do you have some thoughts on that? Let me know by replying to this. Or you could even give us a call on xxxx to discuss how you could create these advantages in your legal career and move forward faster.
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