Advice

Dear  Readers,

The aim of Project Abhimanyu is to provide effective guidance to the law students and entry level lawyers by a panel of experienced/senior legal professionals in India who have whole heartedly agreed to commit in providing unconditional support in shaping the future of legal industry in India.

At Project Abhimanyu, we proudly want to share some valuable and effective guidance provided by mentors which may benefit other students who are looking for similar advice and recommendations. (P.S. The names of students and the exact name of firms/lawyers/judges have not been revealed to keep the advice impartial and fair).

Query: By a 2016 graduate of DES Law college, Pune

What is the scope of LLM in corporate banking and insurance law?

Advice: By Mr. Akshat Pande

The reason for doing LLM or any post-graduation course should be to enhance your skill and knowledge in a particular subject matter in which you have basic (5-6 years) work experience. LLM is an academic degree and not a professional degree and it should be seen so. It will not automatically get you a better job offer unless you use the knowledge gained during the course to further your existing practice. LLM is not a pre-requisite in most law firms or in house jobs, experience is. I am assuming you already have taken this into account.

Secondly, since cost of undergoing an LLM course is substantial, it has to be a well thought out decision. If LLM is seen as a stop gap arrangement, merely to fill in while you are looking for a job, I would suggest it will be worthwhile to stay back, take up a job (even if the pay is not that great) and gain experience rather than spending over 20 lakhs on something you don’t want and then again look for a job. It’s a choice between taking up a job and earning lesser than your desirable salary, if at all, vis-à-vis spending 20 lakhs on a course and then finding yourself looking for a job (which may or may not be the desirable one). Do your math carefully.

If banking and insurance interests you, take up an in-house job in a bank or insurance company. I guess they are the biggest recruiters when it comes to campus placements. Take up whatever experience you can.

I hope I didn’t discourage you, but time and money are both scarce. Use them wisely. Go for an LLM, when you know that this is your practice area and you wish to make a career in that and a particular type of course will enhance your skills in that area of practice, probably by getting a global perspective, exposure etc. Choice of college, course and jurisdiction is also important. Just because it’s the best college in UK or USA or if it attracts a number of students doesn’t mean it suits your area of practice. Check out course wise ratings, write and talk to alumni and faculty and then take a decision. You need to be fairly experienced to appreciate the international aspects of your practice area and grasp it so that you can use it for your own good. Until then, it will be a passing train, since any international LLM course is not for more than 1 year.

Also, don’t get swayed by marketing of colleges in student seminars, brochures and newspapers and by education consultants. Most of them are useless shops. Choose wisely.

Query: A 2016 graduate from KES Law College, Bangalore

I’ve recently graduated in BA.LLB from KLE’S law college, Bangalore. My college did not have a fully functional placement cell. I am a first generation lawyer and have no idea how to shape my career.I have done internships under various advocates and law firms. I don’t know whether this is common that I don’t know what to pursue as a career. Frankly I am confused. I’ve applied for jobs at various law firms but did not receive a reply till now. Practice will take a lot of time to establish so I am a bit reluctant to go for practice.I’ve also enrolled myself for judiciary coaching at weekends. I have mediocre grades but am willing to work hard and learn.I want to pursue llm but I do not have enough grades to apply through CLAT. I am thinking of going abroad for llm but my parents do not have enough money to send me out. So scholarship is also an issue. Please suggest me something as there is no one to guide me properly and it’s been more than 2 months that I’ve been sitting at home after the completion of my course.

Advice: By Wg. Cdr. S. K. Prakash (Retd.)

First of all, I want to ask you to keep looking out for the right opportunity. I agree with you that students from well-known colleges have better visibility, but that does not mean that students from other colleges do not get good jobs. In your case since you have already started attending weekend classes for appearing in judiciary exam, I would recommend that you avoid getting into practice as the timings might disturb your studies. Since your score in LLB is not so high, I can understand the difficulty in your CV gaining visibility amongst recruiters in corporate sector. My advice to you would be to attempt to get into Shared Services portion of corporate legal. There are many companies (mainly in IT sector) which have some kind of shared services support for legal which is also called as Centre of Excellence (“CoE”). The kind of legal support jobs that they would make you do in these CoE’s will be a little light and less stressful as compared to what a regular corporate lawyer does. However, you will have visibility to all that happens in legal. Thereafter you can slowly define your career path and move from a CoE role to a regular Corporate Lawyer role. I would also recommend you to do some online courses in IP from WIPO – some are free and some are paid. You can score good marks by participating in all online discussions and going through the material provided by WIPO. This will help you tide over your low score in LLB and have a better CV.

Trust this helps….

 

Query: A 2012 graduate from Jamia Milia Islamia University:

 I need information on how should I pursue a career in intellectual property rights and what are the options beyond law firms for lawyers with non-technical background.

Advice: By Ms. Manisha Karia

As regards having technical background or degree in science would defiantly help to understand complete technical aspect involved in Patent. However, to understand litigation as regards Patent infringement/or to practice litigation should not be that difficult without having technical qualification. Technical qualification is required for drafting patent specifications during patent registration stage and if your considering to be a Patent Agent for filing Patent registration then yes your technical degree and  knowledge is necessary. In that case you can take up good course from reputed institution for patent and take up patent agent examination. there are few courses available online as well but in my understanding go for proper course which will make your base good.

Otherwise to practice trade mark and copyright does not need any technical qualification. If your considering only to practice IPR litigation then it is advisable to take a good consolidative course which includes all aspects of IPR which will include Trade Mark, Copyright, industrial designs, patent, geographical indications etc. You must select a good law firm or lawyer who has work in all this area. As you should not isolate your scope of work at initial stage. Try and attend conferences and seminars on IPR which will give better understanding of scope of work in this area of practice.

Wish you all the best and in case you have further queries do get back to us. Start developing your CV in area of your interest by taking small courses, attending workshops, seminars and writing on IPR.

Query: A 2015 graduate from Hidayatulllah National Law University

I graduated from Hidayatulllah National Law University in the year 2015. I have interned under Sr. Advocate SCI, AOR and TDSAT. I come from non- legal background. I am interested in Regulatory litigation focusing on TDSAT, COMPAT, NGT, High Courts and Supreme Court. How should I start? I would be grateful to you if you provide me necessary advice on setting up my legal career.

Advice: By Mr. Sharath Sampath

I have received your query from Project Abhimanyu on career guidance in the field of Regulatory litigation focusing on TDSAT, COMPAT, NGT, High Courts and Supreme Court.

From your CV it seems that your internships have been very short i.e. about a month in each case. However, you have worked as a judicial assistant for the State Law Commission thus you have observed cases and heard arguments from both sides. I personally feel that your work experience would have given you a view of how a judge being a neutral party perceives facts and law and gives a decision basis the merits of each case.

Although from your email it is clear that you want to pursue your career as a litigation lawyer, however, I feel you do not have much experience working with litigating lawyers.

Thus, my suggestion to you would be to do your research on advocates who have a wide spectrum of work not necessarily confined to the TDSAT, COMPAT or NGT as you are just starting off with your career.

However, if you are looking to join a lawyer whose primary practice is in one of the above mentioned forums i.e. TDSAT, COMPAT and NGT, then it would be best for you to visit the forums, talk to the staff or the law researchers of the judges/members presiding over to find out which lawyer frequents the said forums and seek out his contact details and get in touch with them for an opening in their chambers.

I would not suggest a law firm to you as a 1st generation lawyer as you will become confined to particular type of cases only and your knowledge thus would also get confined to the same.

I am a first generation lawyer myself and I know the confusion in your mind as I was there myself about 10 years back. Believe me, it is very important for you to start of your career with a good lawyer who would give you the guidance, confidence and opportunity for client interaction as well as court arguments for you to take a step towards becoming independent in future. Being a junior to a hard working senior entails long hours of work, negligible holidays and even more negligible remuneration but it would be worth it in the long run.

So in conclusion, do your research on a few good lawyers you would want to work with and pursue them for a job opportunity.

Query: A 2015 graduate of Jammu University

I wish to make a career in litigation in New Delhi. I am a first generation lawyer. Please guide me.

Advice: By Mr. Vipul Gupta

Project Abhimanyu is pleased to receive your request and appreciates your curiosity and zeal to pursue the profession nobly. From the email, it seems that you wish to know the existing litigation scenario in New Delhi. Even though the scope of question is very wide, I’ll try to summaries important aspects for you, presuming from your resume that civil litigation will be your first choice:

  1. Procedure

Broadly speaking there are not many changes from the format prescribed in the CPC, rather there is relaxation in filing replication, rejoinders etc. for which in many jurisdiction you have to take permission or file application. So if you have substantive knowledge of procedural statues like CPC, evidence and CRPC you’ll feel comfortable. In criminal field however, there provision of anticipatory bail exits (which is mostly available in erstwhile princely states).

Day to day working of the procedure and satisfaction of the court can be only be learnt over time depending upon your nature of case and relevant court. So it would strongly advices that you work as a associate/junior lawyer with a civil lawyer, minimum for a period of one year.

2. Client management

Needless to say, that relation with the client is mostly creation of the lawyer, so again the local culture and mannerism of conveying their problems could be learnt under an established lawyer. Then, depending upon the strata from which the client is coming, as the variations in the dialect and approach are extreme between a lower income group and middle class segment client.

3. Fees and living

The general standard of living in Delhi are increasing and so is the cost of survival so the fees in delhi, so it would be advisable that the fees is quoted to the clients accordingly. Then again there is no established fees for a given work in Delhi, so it remains flexible depending upon effort, client’s paying capacity and the cost of transportation and miscellaneous expenses.

4. Membership in local bar association

Even though a lawyer registered with bar council of any state in India can practice any where throughout the country owing to Sec 30 advocates act but enforcement and notification of the section is not final and with the advent of latest supreme court judgment, requiring presence of local counsel in certain states as mandatory, it would be advisable, if you want to remain in Delhi for long term you should take membership of any local bar association. There are various bar associations, for each court, Tis hazari, Rohini, Patiala House, Dwarka, Saket, Karkardooma District courts and then DHCBA for High Court and SCBA for supreme court. Rule and eligibility procedure for each vary, it would be advisable to take the member ship of district bar association nearest to the place of your residence or office.

If there is anymore, specific query that you want to raise, please feel free to ask.

Query: By first year law student of GLC Bombay

I want to know what all things I can pursue after law and what sort of internships I should do and how to prepare my resume?

Advice: By Ms. Shelly Saluja

The earlier understanding pertaining to law, of being just about Courts is no longer true. There is so much that you could pursue being a lawyer and this solely depends on your interest.

Apart from practicing in the courts as an independent litigator, you have the option of working in a law firm to start with or a lawyer (which is a precursor to independently practicing law), work as an in-house counsel for a company, work for  an NGO or an international organisation, work in the Big-fours as tax consultant, working for Legal process outsourcing, you can also prepare for judicial services if that appeals to you, prepare for civil service exams, work as a legal journalist, if you desire you can go ahead with your LLM (though personally I feel you should pursue LLM after gaining some work exp).

These are just a few options which you can avail and definitely not an exhaustive list.

As far as your internships are concerned I would suggest that you should get a taste of varied practice areas. Hence, try fetching internships with individual lawyer practicing in Courts to senior advocates; working for corporate based law firms, Intellectual property rights based firms, NGOs or state commissions and so on.

Hope this helps you get an idea as to what all you can do after completing law. Once you share with me your interests I can guide you more specifically.

Query: By a second year law student at V. M. Salgaocar College of Law

I am planning to write the civil services examination but I don’t know where to begin. Please guide me.

Advice: By Ms. Ojasvita Srivastava

The syllabus for civil services examination is vast and quite daunting at first glance. However, a planned approach is the key to success for such examinations.

I would suggest you start by getting last ten years question papers of Law mains and note down important questions on each topic in every subject. This will give you an idea of what the pattern of the question paper is and what are more likely topics. So you can have better focus while preparing. Besides some topics are repeated every year. Its best to know what you have to be thorough with. Then you can pick up one standard book for each topic mentioned below and practice writing standard answers with latest case laws. It’s important to practice answer writing.  You have to practice writing non- stop for 6-7 hours per day in three hour sessions. So once you have written standard answers, try solving sample question papers. But for now you can start off with this.

Here is a list of standard books to refer for Law optional paper.

Books on Indian Penal Code – K.D. GAUR
– Atchuthen Pillai
– Ratanlal Dhiraj Lal
Books on Law of Tort
– Atchuthen Pillai
– R.K. Bangia
– Winfield
– Ratanlal Dhiraj Lal
– Avatar Singh
Books on Constitutional Law
– V.N. Shukla
– S.K. Kapoor
– J.N. Pandey
M.P. JAIN
Books on Law of Contract
– Avatar Singh
Books on Merchantile Law
– R.K. Bangia
– Avatar Singh
– Pollack and Mulla
Books on Jurisprudence
– P.K. Tripathi
– Dias
Books on International Law
-KAPOOR
-Malcom N Shaw
-S. K. Verma

For GS start with the NCERT text books on History, Geography and political science and make notes topic wise. Then move to  Economic Survey and India Yearbook. Economic Survey and India yearbook will get updated every year so you could even do them later. You need to have latest info in those. Also again for GS, get last 10 years question papers and make notes so you know what the pattern of the exam is.

Newspaper- read Hindu and Indian Express daily and make topic wise notes- Important people, awards, trophies, sports events, scientific discoveries/ inventions, new policies/ schemes, any major events etc.

You may begin with this, and make sure your preparation is consistent and steady. I wish you luck!

Query: By a 2015 graduate from Jammu University

I completed my law in January 2015 and now I am practising in taxation from almost one year but I am not satisfied by it. I have always wanted to work in Telecom sector. I heard from my seniors about the job and that the work was really good. A couple of them joined it but I don’t know how to approach it. I am the first lawyer from my family so I am short on guidance. It would be immensely helpful if you could guide me on the path to achieve my goal of working in the legal section of a telecom company.

Advice: By Ms. Shelly Saluja

To begin with I wish to state that laws governing telecom industry maybe handful, but telecom has plenty of options to offer a lawyer. I was also unaware of the same until I joined a telecom company. Telecom industry is global in nature and fast changing, so I personally feel that it has tremendous scope in India and outside. Some of the options which can be availed, as a lawyer, being in telecom industry are enlisted herein below-

  1. To join a lawyer dealing in telecom/broadcasting matters in TDSAT/HC/SC/DC (telecom litigation), this can help you get hands on experience with regards to telecom disputes.
  1. To join a law firm’s Telecom Media Technology department, where you will be mostly dealing with contractual work pertaining to broadcasting industry/IT related disputes/telecom advisory and so on.
  1. As an in-house counsel you have multiple options such as to be in the legal team of a telecom company, where you can advice your company towards potential legal risk, handle disputes before different legal foras. In some telecom companies the legal work bifurcates into more than one legal department- one department handling policy/regulations related disputes which mostly lie before HC/SC/TDSAT and the other department handling tower related/consumer related disputes before district court/consumer redressal forums. In house counsels can also be a part of regulatory departments which involves interactions with TRAI/DOT and replying on behalf of your company to various Consultation Papers floated by TRAI and other ancillary work which involves drawing comparatives between telecom laws/workings in different countries, drawing support by data analysis of the telecom market in different countries.
  1. Also the Big4s- KPMG, ENY, Deloitte have telecom related work to offer, which may require add on knowledge of economics apart from being a lawyer. But if you are passionate about numbers, graphs, etc. Iam sure you can make a way out to these firms. They even deal with telecom advisory and are often approached for preparing compliance reports for telecom companies, vetting of agreements.
  1. You can also explore options at International Organisations such as International Telecommunication Union and others.

These are a few options which you can avail in the telecom sector. I hope this gives you an idea about working with telecom sector. This industry is not niche to India and is definitely of global relevance and has a lot to offer and learn.

Query: By a final year student at Himachal Pradesh University

Ma’am I do not know what to do with my career, whether I should go for litigation or for corporate law or for any other thing in law field. I don’t have any law background so I need your guidance on how I can make a successful career in this field, what other things or activities I can do with my LLB degree. So please guide me.

Advice: By Mr. Sumit Roy

From your email copied below, what I understand is that you are as of now in your 2nd year of law course. A perusal of your resume also reveals that as of now you have not undertaken any training/internship.

Practicing law is not as complex as it appears. If one chooses the correct path and pursues it, then he or she is bound to excel. Needless to say, the path has to be one of liking which incites passion and dedication to work hard.

Working as a corporate lawyer or as a litigator has its own advantages and is more of a personal choice, depending upon the aptitude which differs from person to person. Therefore to decide which arm of practice to choose from, it is necessary to test the waters during the formative years of college. Such can be done by way of internships.

Coming to your question, whether you should choose corporate or litigation. I guess the answer to this question lies into the point I mentioned above – you need to start undertaking internships. I will suggest that you start with an internship with a Trial Lawyer where you stay. This way you get the basics of how a Court works and the kind of hard-work, both mental and physical, required. If the first internship excites you, undertake a second internship in litigation to further fine tune your understanding. It may so happen that the second internship may make you feel that litigation is something that you would want to do and that it is litigation in which you would want to make your career. However, to be sure that you will not want to do corporate work, try doing an internship in a law firm before taking the conclusive decision. Once through with three internships, you should have the inkling if not the conviction, if you would want to be a lawyer or a litigator.

Apart from internships, try to write articles which get published.  Articles not only help you while seeking a job, but also enhance your articulation skills.

Query: By a 2016 graduate from Amity Law School, Noida

I would like to seek guidance how to start a legal career and the scope as an in house counsel.

Advice: By Mr. Pathik Arora

Having gone through your CV, I understand you have completed quite a few diploma/certification courses (in varied fields) in addition to your LLB. So I would like to understand if there is any particular stream that is of interest to you where you would like to lead your professional career to.

In house roles surely have lot of scope and at the same time, these days such roles are equally demanding as roles with law firms (unlike earlier days) considering the role of in house counsels is evolving in India and we would like it to be seen as one of business enablers.

Having said that, considering you have undergone courses in IPR, banking & finance, securities, etc., I must tell you that these are niche areas for now and are right there for budding lawyers to explore and make a great career in those. I am happy to help you deliberate more on this thought in case you so desire.

I would also recommend that you consider devoting first few years to hard core litigation (in the field of your choice) under a senior or a reasonably sized litigation practice law firm, this experience would always be handy when you then intend to take in house role.

I hope this would give you some food for thought. Please feel free to write to me and good luck to you in all your endeavours!

Query: By a 4th year law student from NLU Odisha

I am student of 4th year of National Law University pursuing my BBA LLB degree. I am keen on litigation and am looking for an internship in December. Please guide.

Advice: By Ms. Nandita Khurana

I’m happy to see the interest that bright young students have in the legal profession and the passion with which they are wanting to pursue it.

After having gone through your CV and the internships that you have already done, I think you should try and get some exposure to corporate law, preferably with a law firm. This will allow you to develop a more vivid picture of the profession. The courts are not the only channel open to young lawyers. Having said that, I definitely am of the opinion that working in litigation is essential as it teaches you the practical aspects and helps you develop and hone your instincts, a compulsory characteristic, if you want to succeed.

The National Human Rights Commission is another avenue worth pursuing as you get acquainted with a completely different application of the law. This should eventually assist in your ambitions if you decide to pursue a full fledged career as a litigator.

Query: By a final year student at GGSIP University, Delhi

I’m stuck with too many options at hand. I’m a first generation lawyer and I’m confused between going for a Masters degree (Cyber, IPR or ADR), sit for Judicial Service Examinations (after preparing for 8-10months) or start under a Real Estate Lawyer (The ever rising property disputes intrigue me). It would be really helpful if I’m able to get some guidance in choosing my path as all the experience from your high esteemed panel would be an advantage.

Advice: By Mr. Sharath Sampath

I believe that you are confused as to whether you would like to study further, pursue being a career judge or join practice.

From a perusal of your CV it seems that you have had basic exposure to all courts in Delhi including the Supreme Court as well as participated in various programmes. The exposure however, is varied and does not in my opinion truly pin point to what which field of law you are more inclined towards.

The question however remains, what would you do next?

The first and foremost thing that you need to answer is do you see yourself at the bar or bench. i.e. to say have you ever felt that you would want to be a judge or would you enjoy arguing different types of cases before different judges in various forums? From your email as well as your CV it is also not very clear as to whether you want to be a litigation or a corporate lawyer.

Higher education in a specialised field of law is no doubt something you can consider if you feel you would want to be a specialist in the corporate sector or become an in-house counsel of a company, however, if your intention is to be a litigation lawyer, an LLM may not be of that much use initially as you should join a chamber or a law firm which has its practice in varied kinds of cases be it criminal or civil and for a first generation lawyer in today’s competitive environment more exposure to different types of cases would also help you understand what interests you more i.e. your areas of interests at present or maybe something totally different which you may not have considered due to lack of exposure towards the same or due to the fact that it would not have been a part of your curriculum in college.

I would personally be an example of the above as when I graduated, I wanted to be an in house counsel for a company, however, I decided to give litigation a shot before moving on to what I had initially planned, and as luck would have it I truly enjoyed myself in litigation and then there was no looking back.

Thus, the conclusion of the above is if you see yourself as a judge work towards that and if you see yourself as a lawyer then follow that path.

Query: Final Year Law student at Amity University, Lucknow

I wanted to know that is IPR AND TAX a good specialisation subject? I humbly request you to provide me guidance with the same.

Advice: By Mr. Saurabh Kumar

You question is quite subjective and it also depends on your personal interest. I would like to mention that though IPR and Tax subject is growing in last few years but what matters most is your personal interest. To many lawyers IPR or tax is quite boring as you may require mathematical knowledge/commerce background to understand the tax treatment therefore only legal part comes into after numerical values and may sound boring to lawyers and this is the reason why tax is mostly done by Chartered Accountants in India. Given the growing requirement of legal services in Indian private sector and public sector law professionals would be in demand and every subject would have substantial impact and demand.

What I would suggest that since you are interested in taking up the subject, do take some internship with IPR/Tax law firms and then decide yourself. You would get a basic feel of the subject and would be in a better position to decide your personal choice.

Query: By a fourth year student at D S National Law School, Hyderabad

I need guidance on career choices after graduation and assistance with application process for my LLM program abroad.  I would like to pursue a career in the field of sports law or allied areas of the same like IPR, Media.

Advice: By Mr. Deepak  Narayanan

I am glad that you are wishing to pursue a career in sports law which is a road less travelled.

Sports law in general is a very wide area and the first step to pursuing a career in the same is to choose quarters that you might find most appealing to you. As a sports lawyer, you might find yourself representing various clients such as players, coaches, tournament referees, sports bodies, associations, clubs, companies manufacturing sports companies, sports media networks etc., and the work involved may relate to litigation, arbitration, corporate work, contractual, IPR, Media etc.

You have various options where firstly you can join Inhouse in a company that focuses on sports goods, sporting events etc. and work on their various corporate, contractual and contentious works. Sports arbitration is also a prominent field where an internship or other work with a Centre such as Court of Arbitration of Sport which has huge flow of cases will definitely help. KLRCA has also propounded to start Malaysian Sports Arbitration Tribunal which is certainly worth a look. While India has a dearth of quality sport law specialists, you can also consider making your own practice or join a law firm that specializes in the area and provide legal support to sports organisations, companies, associations, players etc.These are merely some of the many options that you can pursue, once you choose a specific field.

In your email, you had also mentioned that you are considering pursuing an LLM abroad in sports law. If you do pursue an LLM aborad, make sure you do a few internships in organisations specialising in any of the various areas mentioned above. Internship is not just about work experience but is also a gateway to network with your employer and your chances of getting a job interview there increases multi-fold. Whichever university you might choose for an LLM, my advice is that you do it for the right reasons, i.e., to specialize in the field and not for solely trying to land jobs abroad. You are bound to get laurels in your chosen field as long as you are focused and put some hard work.

Query: By a 2016 Law graduate from NLU Bhopal

I need guidance on making a career in corporate law in New Delhi.

Advice:By Ms Manisha Karia

There are many wings to corporate laws and it’s a vast area. However since you are a first generation lawyer I will suggest you to take the opportunities which come your way and prefer to take up job in a small law firm initially as small offices do all kind of work and one gets to learn a lot in all the areas. Consider taking up some good courses offered by NLUs and/or Delhi University or even some foreign university which are on weekend or online. Start building up your CV and it is advisable to consider higher studies in an area in which you want to specialise. Look at the kind of legal work happening these days in India, as per my understanding, as economy is slow there is reduction in work in many areas and corporate sector is largely affected.

There is a lot of scope and work happening in competition law and it’s an up-coming area of practice. In case you are interested in specialising in competition law, it is one of the best options as the practice in this area is picking up across the world.

You should plan your job profile for two years and the first few years should be completely devoted to learning, as especially in Delhi that too in law firm, no one will come and teach you. You have to keep your eyes open and be prompt in grabbing opportunity and do best at your assignment. Try and have good relations with people (seniors/client) with whom you are working and in future they will recommend you for work. Attend conferences and seminars and write papers on the area of law you want to specialise in. At this stage focus on developing on your CV by these activities as a professional the way you have been doing by doing internships at good places.

Frankly, it appears from your CV that in internships you have done a lot more than your current employment. Identify the issue and work towards it. If required speak to HR or your senior in the firm. In case things are still the same I suggest without showing any unhappiness continue doing what you are doing and look for a better opportunity. I wish you the best!

 

Query: By 5th year student, B.A./B. Sc. LL. B ( Hons.) from The West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences

The query pertains to the placement from the University. The big 7 law firms have hired already and now maybe certain companies will approach college for placements. Since I also wish to pursue my career with any of these companies which would come to hire, I want to tailor my preparation for the job interview as per what may be expected by them from the fresh law graduate. I would also like you to give a feedback on the quality of CV I have; the strong points in my CV as well as the weak points and how would you rate it overall. It would be great if you may suggest some of the ways I can strengthen my chances in the upcoming placements even further. Please let know in case you conduct mock interviews as well.

Advice: By Mr Pathik Arora

For a fresh law graduate, your CV is too long. Please try to squeeze it in 2 pages (max.). Also, make a nice cover letter to top it up, the contents for which you can take from first point you have written for fetching job with P & Associates. Do not let the cover letter exceed three-fourth of a page. You can revise it and resend to me for suggestions on fine tuning it.

Now coming to your questions on how should you prepare for your interviews for being hired as a fresher. As a fresher, interviewers definitely do not expect that one should know all laws or everything happening in legal space. However, one is expected to know all details regarding what you have mentioned in your CV as your expertise or on projects/assignments you have worked on during internships or your additional courses. This would help them understand how much effort you make to understand the issue and how thorough you are on the researches you do.

In addition, you must keep a tap on the major changes happening in the regulatory regime – especially FDI, competition laws, etc. and also any landmark judgments.

Use of impressive legalese is not so critical while giving an interview, however use of correct grammar and words is very critical – both in your CV as well as when you speak. So be careful about that!

Query : By a 1st year student of Faculty Of Law, Delhi University.

I would like to take the guidance of Project Abhimanyu with regards to my career in law. Being a first generation lawyer that too from a non-NLU law college has started giving me anxious thoughts with regards to my career ahead. I would like to know about the internships and job prospects and how to go ahead for them. I am currently in my first year of law at The Faculty Of Law, DU and graduated from Shri Ram College Of Commerce, DU in 2016 only.

Advice: By Mr Pulin Kumar

First of all I would like to state that you should be a proud student of the Faculty of Law, University of Delhi and it does not matter if you are a non-NLU student. I am also a proud alumni of the CLC, Faculty of Law. Having said that and while setting the tone of the discussions I would like to first know that what is your goal? What are you looking for down the line after completing the LL.B. degree? Whether you want to go in a private practice, join law firm or interested in a job as an In-house counsel. From your mail it looks to me that you are concerned about getting settled fast as soon as you complete your law degree. Presuming my assumption is correct, I would like to advise you that you start focusing on two things viz; focus your study on corporate related laws such as Contract Act, Sale of Goods Act, Tax Laws, Competition Act, IP Laws etc. and look for an opportunity to do internship with good corporate house. This will give you a good flavor of what the corporate expects from an in-house counsel. Accordingly you can start shaping up yourself in order to enter the corporate world immediately after your law course.

Second option would be to keep the option open to join a good law firm as this will help you grow and acquire the skill set in 360 degree manner and after having worked with a good law firm for 4-5 years either you will be so nicely positioned you may not like to leave the profession or in the event you chose to switch over to the corporate world you will have enough 360 degree exposure to handle any work which a particular company may expect from you to do.

The above is my preliminary observation and advise based on a bit of assumption.

Query: By 5th year law student, BA.LLB (Hons.) course Raffles University, Neemrana.

I am worried regarding my future and placement after spending 10 lakhs. I cannot afford to sit at home. I have really worked hard for my career.

From the first year itself I have interned twice a year. I have previously interned at PUCL and Naya Sawera NGO , Former Judge High Courts of M.P. & Chattisgarh , Sr. Advocate Mr. M. Fakhruddin, Supreme Court of India, Bhati Associates, Delhi, Luthra & Luthra Law offices and KK Sharma Law Offices, New Delhi where I assisted filing of various information in CCI and extensive research in field of Antitrust Law. Last summer I was Legal Intern at South Law Advocates, Gurgaon.

My areas of interest are Corporate Law & Competition Law and have also learnt about Competition law through various moots as I have attended 1st DSNLU moot Court Competition on Competition law in 2014 and 6th NLU Antitrust Moot Court Competition in 2015 and also attended Winter Course organized by CIRC in January 2015. I have participated in various essay writing competitions on topics such as Need for Super Regulator- CCI , Collective dominance – Time to feed the infant.

Due to strong interests in Moot courts, I have participated in six Moot Court Competitions both national and international, which in turn prepared me for a legal career as a good researcher. Moreover, I was head of Moot Court Committee in Raffles University, School of Law and won “Best Researcher” in XI All Delhi Moot Court Competition of Criminal law, University Of Delhi in 2013. I was also awarded Certificate from University for Outstanding Performance in Inter University Moot Court Competitions. However, I have not received a PPO yet.

Advice: By Mr Saurabh Kumar

Your concern is quite genuine and this shows your sincerity towards your education. However, please note that getting a job requires overall personality of the candidate where the employer shall look into other qualities than just the college background you are coming. I am sure Raffles University, Neemrana is duly recognized by the Bar Council of India for providing legal education and this would be enough for any prospective employer to consider your CV.

You should focus on areas of your interest and look for a few internships before the end of your course or you may also get in touch with people you have interned before requesting them for another internship opportunity and you may give your best during the internship. If you are able to impress them with your work, they might offer you pre-placement even before sitting for your final exam.

The only thing that I would say is believe in yourself and give your best rest will follow.

 

Query: By BBA-LLB 1st year student, NMIMS, School of Law, Mumbai.

  • For pursuing a career as a criminal lawyer in a law firm is it necessary to specialize in company law or specializing in criminal law would be enough?
  • Can you please explain the course of “forensic science” in detail including it’s importance in criminal law, course requirements, good institutions in India and abroad which provide training in this field. Is practicing criminal law a good option in India?
  • Which are the best law firms dealing with criminal law?
  • Is practicing criminal law a good career option in India and do criminal lawyers really face death threats?
  • What are the other career options in this field and what are the new emerging career options in this field?
  • For taking up the litigation side as a career, does it really matter from where we study, or is it like taking admission into a law college where attendence is not an issue and so we can intern the whole year.

Advice: By Mr Vipul Gupta

  • Technically speaking no, it is not necessary to specialize in Company law to practice exclusively as Criminal Lawyer. However, to be a good lawyer, civil or criminal, you must have a good understanding of basic/core law subjects including company law. You need not pursue a special diploma/ additional course in company laws to practice as a criminal lawyer. If, by specialization, you mean pursuing some degree or course on criminal law besides regular LL.B course, no such specialization is necessary in the criminal law to be criminal lawyer. Just concluding your LL.B is sufficient. Specialization in most legal fields for lawyers, comes from practice/experience and not merely from theoretical studies. So it would be advisable that you look out for local criminal lawyers in your area and follow their cases closely, and subsequently you may apply in their offices for internship etc.
  • Forensic Science diploma/course is also not a necessary requirement to do practice as criminal lawyer. Basic module is taught in LLB courses. However, for your special interest, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology & Forensic Science (LNJN NICFS), Delhi and Gujarat Forensic Science University are two well known places. Eligibility and course requirements can be viewed on their respective websites. Forensic Science does play an important part in the investigation process and its special knowledge does give special insight. However for a lawyer, its evidentiary value and cross examination of expert witnesses, is equally important for a lawyer to know and learn.
  • There are hardly any firms, dealing in only criminal law, as firms prefer to take multiple fields and serve as one stop shop for clients. You’ll mostly find independent lawyers in this fields or their firms, which were subsequently opened by them. Few well know criminal lawyers include, Ram Jethmalani, Ashok Desai, Gopal Subramiam, Mukul Rohatgi.
  • All career options in this Field are good carrier optionS, if the aspirant is motivated and hard working. Litigation, though initially requires far more hard work in the beginning, than any other field, but is usually highly productive after few years of experience. As far as death threats are concerned, they are more often than not given because one is a lawyer.
  • Carrier options are plenty, depending on your motivation. Besides appearing for judicial service exams, practicing law, one can apply for legal departments of private companies, public undertakings etc. Academic positions after pursuing post graduation/ doctorate are in demand as well. Internationally, you can pursue world trade lawyer/negotiator, international sales lawyer under CISG, besides assisting foreign companies and government on Indian law.
  • To pursue law as your field of work, ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘why’ are far more important than where you study. Though for people who observe a diamond, can also appreciate it for its packaging. It’s important for an aspiring practitioner to touch and participate in different activities like moots and debates, besides academic work.

Query: By 5th year student from Government Law College, Mumbai.

My college placements are not that great. I want your guidance for a job in corporate sector as I am not from a law background.

Advice: By Wg. Cmdr. S. K. Prakash (Retd.)

First of all you need to understand the various segments that we have in Legal – some of which are FMCG, IT, Media, Pharma, ECommerce, Real Estate etc. and try to figure out the area that you are interested in making a beginning. Search the Internet and read legal stuff connected with the field that you wish to pursue to give you that marginal edge over other freshers when you appear for an interview. There are many groups conducting conferences to enlighten lawyers in each of these fields. If possible invest in yourself and try to attend a couple of them. That will help you in understanding the field and also network with lawyers who attend such conferences as participants/speakers.

There are various job sites and consultants who advertise requirement for freshers. You could start applying to these websites/consultants, may be short of your final exams to set the process in motion.

However, I would strongly recommend that you pursue litigation at least for a year and a half and then make a shift to a corporate based law firm, before finally moving as an In House Counsel. What we learn as a practicing lawyer forms our foundation and while dealing with lawyers in the Court you will be able to build your network which later will be helpful when you become an In House Counsel.  Large corporate houses look for experienced lawyers and by working in Litigation and Corporate Based Law Firm, you can prepare yourself for the right job in the right organization.

Query: By a 2014 graduate from Delhi University

I am an Indian qualified lawyer and have recently completed my LL.M. in Dispute Resolution (Concentration in International Commercial Arbitration) from Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University which has been ranked #1 among U.S. law school dispute resolution programs for the past decade. I am seeking for a junior associate position with tier-I law firm. I would like to request you to please guide me.

Advice: By Ms. Shweta Bharti

  • Your CV shows that you were working as an ‘Associate’ with a law firm for 3 months, which is an extremely short duration. Was there any reason for your leaving this firm at such a short notice or was it a part of the understanding between you and him.
  • Also in your previous stint as Junior Associate the duration of engagement was 5 months. Having such short term engagements with any organisation portrays your uncertainty and lack of detailed research and understanding before joining an organisation. Therefore, I would recommend conducting detailed research before joining any organisation in order to avoid such scenario. Also please remember ‘a rolling stone never gathers moss’. Thus it is imperative that after we have identified a subject of our choice, created our specialisation in that subject, the next necessary issue is to identify a Guru who would enable us learn the nuances of the skill. It is of utmost importance at the beginning of our career to focus on honing our skills instead of running behind brands and/or money.
  • There are other Law Firms (which may not be Tier I) but have good international arbitration practice, would recommend you to also consider them.
  • Also I would recommend for you to write certain articles and come up with publications in the subject of your interest which would enable the recruiter make a considered choice.
  • Further please update yourself with the developments in the subject in order to be able to come out as a specialist in subject with in-depth understanding of the same.

Query: By a 4th year law student from NUALS, Kochi

The one question which intrigues me a lot is the time when should someone pursue for higher studies. Whether it will be more beneficial to apply for higher studies after earning work experience or should one apply after the completion of LLB. There is ambiguity in my mind when it comes to selection of university, type of courses they offer, their application procedure and when is the best time to start preparing for application procedure. I would like to add that my area of interest is arbitration, international investment arbitration and corporate law. So if you can suggest me any university will also be helpful. I come from middle class family, so economic considerations will also play a crucial role while selecting any university. Moreover I have not much idea regarding the scholarships programs if available for students. Also I would like to know the sort of benefits or advantages one gets when it comes job opportunities in comparison to someone who had completed his higher studies from Indian colleges.

Advice: By Mr Saurabh Kumar

Regarding your query related to pursuing LLM course right after graduation or after getting some work experience, this is a very personal choice however from my own experience it is always advisable to get some work experience before pursuing LLM as it is a research based course unlike our Indian education system therefore having some kind of work exposure in the similar field would always add some value in understanding the subject in depth. The famous choices for Indian student pursuing LLM course would be United Kingdom, United States of America and Singapore depending upon your specific course, faculty and admission criteria which may differ. You may do some online research regarding arbitration courses and most of the leading Universities have representative offices in India (in all the big cities now) which can be consulted before taking the final decision. The entire process may take a year’s time from choosing the University to finalizing the course.

Regarding scholarships, various Universities are running some dedicated scholarships for deserving candidates but as per my knowledge most of the scholarships are limited to tuition & accommodation fees and one has to take care of additional expenses like daily expenses which can be quite expensive for cities like London, New York and Singapore. Therefore, it is advisable to manage your finances in advance though there would be some opportunities to get part time works while studying to take care of your daily expenses.

Query: By a 2016 graduate from Benaras Hindu University

I have worked with a judge at the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court and worked with Corporate Legal partners in New Delhi and an advocate at Supreme Court of India as an intern. Presently, I am working with an advocate in Tis Hazari District Courts in Delhi. I wish to work in-house or in corporate law. Please guide.

 Advice: By Ms Shelly Saluja

Since you have graduated in 2016, I would strongly recommend that you either continue in litigation at least for a year and a half or if you are keen to pursue corporate law, rather than immediately shifting to a company/in-house I would suggest that you make a shift to a corporate based law firm.

I say the aforesaid for the reason that immediately joining as an in-house counsel may not be very beneficial for you in terms of your career enhancement and learning. What we learn as a practicing lawyer forms our foundation and while dealing with lawyers in the Court we build contacts as well. In-house counsels require decent networking/contacts, which you can harness for the benefit of the company. Company works on a result oriented pattern, they are bothered about solutions and not how you obtain them. Hence, while advising your company, as an in-house counsel, you would need some experience and understanding in your kitty.

I realize that litigation in chambers is not very well paid, but is important for our learning. So if you are not very satisfied with your existing job, you may change and join somewhere else and hone your legal skills and develop expertise and confidence in handling clients, but an immediate move to a company may not be suggested by me.

Also as you stated that you have worked with a High Court judge, (I assume you have interned with him), though he may have retired by now, I would suggest that you harness your contact with him. You never know he can help you explore more options in the legal industry.

 

Query: By a 2016 graduate of Nirma Institute of Law

I am first generation lawyer in my family. Straight after my graduation I started working for an NGO as I did not get any good opportunity. In the meanwhile I also started preparing for LLM and even got the letter of admission from QMUL. But now I am in a grey area as going by my dream I want to work in a big law firm and want to practice in a banking and financial department but till know I haven’t received any call from the firms. Although I have maintained a descent pointer through out my law school and even participated in Moots and have more than 5 publications in the area of corporate finance and law but till now I have not got any opportunity. My question is simple- will I get a descent job in a law firm after completing my LLM in banking and finance from queens marry London?

Advice: By Mr. Akshat Pande

LLM is a post graduate degree which should be undertaken only if you are confident that you are going to practice in a particular area of law, that you have already worked in that area and that you have a fair idea of how your career looks like in that area and then you want to gain more knowledge in that area.

Its like a software engineer, working with say Infosys for 5-6 years, realizing he is good at operations management and going for MBA in operations from SP Jain or ISB to hone his skills in operations and thereafter going and becoming COO of a company.

LLM will not fetch you a better job. In fact, after doing LLM, you will hesitate to go for a job which does not justify you having an LLM degree or is not paying well enough or is not in the area of law which you PG’d in. Your options will be lesser.

Get a job. Work hard and learn work as much as you can. Keep doing that until you realise that one particular field of law is what you want to stick to and which has a future. For example, don’t choose IP laws but a smaller area in IP laws which has a great future career wise such as IP enforcement in gaming industry. Then work in that area for 2-3 years and then choose an LLM if you need more knowledge of international laws on that area.

There are firms who may however hire you at a fat salary after you are done with your LLM if you show a modicum of talent or can pull some business for them. Its for you to decide whether you want a job or a career.

Hope I was of help.

 

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5 thoughts on “Advice

  1. I am a lawgraduate from nirma institute of law in 2016 and I am first generation lawyer in my family .Straight after my graduation I started working for an NGo as I did not got any good opportunity in the mean While I also started preparing for llm and even got the letter of admisition from qmul .But know I am in grey area as going by my dream I want to work in a big law firm and want to practise in a banking and financial department but till know I haven’t received any call from the firms .Altough I have maintained a descent pointer through out my law school and even participated In Moots and have more than 5 publications in the area of corporate finance and law but still know also did not got any opportunity .My question is simple will I get a descent job in a law firm after completing my llm in banking and finance from queens marry London

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