First published on December 7, 2014.
By Tanuj Kalia
We got this question, of NLUs vs. Non NLUs over email and though that it deserved a full post.
Lets see what a student can do to bridge the gap.
The biggest quality of a good ’employee’ anywhere is ‘getting things done’.
Now, if you are a lawyer, the things you have to do are:
A. Be knowledgeable
D. Speak/present yourself.
Below is some advice on how to go about working on these skills.
1. Read a lot (your books/notes, caselaws, Legally India, Bar and Bench, SuperLawyer).
Know what’s happening in your industry.
Know what the law is about.
Learn to speed read (Check books by Tony Buzan and Evelyn Wood). This also helps your research and writing.
2. Be in the top 20% of your class. This shows your are intelligent and hardworking and serious about your profession.
Attend classes regularly. Be in the good books of your faculty. Take notes regularly.
These are simple boring things but as it’s said, top people actually like to do these boring things because their sense of ‘purpose’ is bigger.
1. Know the advanced tricks of using Google.
2. Be an expert in using Manupatra/SCC Online.
1. Write regularly for your blog, for law journals etc. Get them revised and corrected by someone trusted.
2. Learn to draft legal documents and contracts. Ask your faculty to recommend some books on that.
3. Of course, you’ll have lots of good material online for free. You can even do related courses from some of the online courses.
1. Attend conferences not only to present your paper and add another bullet point in your CV but to meet new people: both peers and future recruiters/references.
Go up to that senior law firm partner in the conference, introduce yourself and strike a conversation. Only 1 out of 10 will be unwelcoming enough to reject an enthusiastic law student.
2. If you are under-confident, break away from your comfort zone.
At first it will be painful. In a while, it will be empowering.
Attend an MUN, a parliamentary debate, a moot court competition. Before doing that you’ll do well to observe how some of the good ones do that.
Intern a lot [this is critical!]
1. Apply 4 months before your vacations. Apply to 8-10 select places.
Follow-up regularly on phone/email (once a week). Phone is important. If you still fail to secure an internship, visit the city (say a conference is happening) and actually land up in their offices.
2. With your top notch research and writing skills, impress the boss during the internship, keep in touch with him/her and get his/her help to help you get the next internship.
Gain ‘other’ skills/experiences
Gain other skills/experiences in other domains (whatever interests you). Do random things which interest you.
You’ll be surprised how your ‘other’ skills will hold you in good stead. The random things will sort of ‘connect’.
Here’s a small example: Say your organize a small conference in your law school. This requires a lot of work and you really learn a lot about organizing things.
Now say, the place where you are working at too is organizing a small conference and they get you (the intern) to help them out and (surprise! surprise) you really do a kick-ass job at it.
The word spreads “This intern is good“. Not just good in organizing conferences but ‘generally good’ (because ‘qualities’ are transferable).
And all this while: have fun. Play. Dance. Visit a new city. Love.
Here’s a post I wrote for Legally India in 2010. It talks mostly about similar things as mentioned here.