Danesh Mehta- LLM GRADUATE FROM Northwestern University (USA) ANSWERS 5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LLM ASPIRANTS

ABOUT DANESH MEHTA

Danesh Mehta is a civil and commercial lawyer based in Mumbai, India. His qualifications include a BMS and LLB (J.D. Equivalent) degree from Mumbai University and an LLM degree focused in entrepreneurship law from Northwestern University (USA).

Over the years, he has gained work experience from various law firms in Mumbai and Chicago along with a judicial clerkship at the Supreme Court of India. His experience in litigation along with experience in commercial law and business strategy provides him with the expertise to advice new businesses. He sees himself as a legal catalyst in helping companies grow. He is well versed with contract drafting, dispute resolution and real estate advisories.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LLM ASPIRANTS:

1. A lot of law students ask whether they should do a foreign LLM degree over an Indian LLM degree. What is your advice to them? Does a foreign LLM have enough weightage on a person’s CV to land them a job?

Danesh Mehta-“That is definitely one of the most important questions to answer when one is considering an LLM degree. The first and most important point in my opinion is for the students to ask themselves whether they can comfortably afford a foreign LLM without much financial hassle. The reason being that it is a huge investment and does not guarantee a job. A foreign LLM has various advantages that you will never learn from an Indian LLM. It broadens your thinking on how the world works, you realize how work culture differs from country to country and most of all you build connects from around the world. Even by staying alone in a foreign country one also develops self-discipline and responsibilities. So, on a personal front, I have found it to be a great experience.

Even though a foreign LLM degree may look attractive on your CV it does not mean you have secured a job for yourself, therefore, it may be difficult to recover the money spent on the degree. Further, if someone is looking to work and settle abroad I would advise them to do the LL.B /J.D. degree in that foreign country as that would increase the prospects of being hired there.”

2. How do I know which university is best for me? Should I only not do an LLM abroad if I don’t get into an Ivy League/ high ranking law school?

Danesh Mehta-” It is very important to ask oneself – What do I want from the LLM? Do I want to learn a particular subject? Do I just want to have the ‘foreign experience’? Do I just want to add the name of that university on my CV?

Once you understand what you are looking for it will help you search what universities are right for you. In my opinion, one must shortlist universities based on your subject of interest and not on necessarily on the name of the university. For example, let’s say you want to learn a course on arbitration. It is quite likely that a lesser-known university having an overall rank of no. 7 has a better arbitration course than a top university having an overall rank of no. 1 or 2. This may put someone in a dilemma. In my opinion, if your intention is simply to learn you must learn at the university that offers the best course in line with your interests. In summary, do your research and ensure that you will get from the degree what you wish to pursue.”

3. What helps my application more – grades or work experience? Is there any other way to improve my applications?

Danesh Mehta-“The short answer is – both matter. At times your grades right from your school days to your most recent degree matter. However, this should not dampen your spirits in applying as it is only one of the qualifications and not the only qualification to getting into a good university.

On the other hand, I would recommend doing post graduate work experience before applying for an LLM for two reasons – (i) this is taken into consideration by the university and is possible that they may overlook average grades for the good amount of experience you have; and (ii) you can get the most from your degree. You will appreciate what you learn even more if you have some basic knowledge on some subjects.   

Other than the above, one may consider in their SOPs mentioning certain extracurricular activities that one has done or skills they have developed through the years.”

4. There is a common doubt in students that whether they should do a general or a specialized LLM. What are your thoughts on it and what would you say to the students who have this doubt?

Danesh Mehta-“As I mentioned before, when you are deciding whether to do or not to do your LLM you need to first understand what your end goal is. Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years? Will your LLM degree help you in achieving it? If yes, then how?

Answering these questions helps one create a roadmap in their career. I decided to go for a general LLM to get a more holistic experience of all the subjects as I was unsure what area of law I wanted to focus in. Gradually through the program I found my interest and decided to take more business-oriented subjects. This worked well for me. However, if for example, someone really wants to practice tax laws, a tax LLM may be really helpful to them from a career standpoint. Put yourself in a potential employer’s shoes who is a partner at a tax law firm – he would probably hire a Tax LLM graduate over a general LLM graduate to join his firm, right? 

In my opinion if you are unsure what area of law you want to pursue, you may want to do a general LLM where you could pick from a range of subjects.

5. Apart from what you learnt in your LLM degree what do you think was the most-important take-away from your degree?

Danesh Mehta-“Without a doubt, the most important part of your LLM degree (as much as if not more important than what you learn) is your networking! Making new friends, acquaintances and mentors should be your priority. Remember, your classmates a few years down the line may be partners at law firms all over the world. If they are your friends from the university, there is an immediate sense of trust that is created. Which only means that you may get clientele and legal work from foreign law firms which would only boost your career. In fact, even if you want to land yourself a job there, the chances of getting one increase tenfold if you attend networking events, get-togethers etc. Your LLM contacts are the most underestimated yet most important take-away from your degree.”

Prerna Deep- LLM Graduate from The University of Edinburgh Answers 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions of LLM Aspirants

ABOUT PRERNA DEEP

Prerna Deep is the recipient of British Council GREAT Scholarship (2019). She holds LLM in Criminal Law from the University of Edinburgh, UK; LL.B. from Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi and English Honours from Miranda House, University of Delhi, India.

Prerna Deep is a qualified lawyer who comprehends law as an interdisciplinary and normative tool capable of promoting justice and enriching lives. She is currently working as a Law Clerk-cum-Research-Assistant under Hon’ble Justice of Supreme Court of India. As an avid reader and writer, Prerna has authored several Nationally and Internationally published research papers.

She believes nothing describes her best than Virginia Woolf’s words:
“I have a deeply hidden and inarticulate desire for something beyond the daily life.”

Prerna provides legal consultation, mentorship, research and copy-editing services. You can also reach Prerna for collaboration on publications, workshops and interviews.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LLM ASPIRANTS:

1. Many students are often confused on which area of law they should pursue their LLM in? Because even if they know their area of interest, they are getting confused on which one to choose because today there is immense competition in the market and due to the rise of technology it creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs. How did you decide and what would you say to the students who are confused about it?

Prerna Deep- “This dilemma is close to home. When I decided that my primary area of interest in law was criminal justice, I was often asked if it was wise to pursue a specialisation in the subject. To all the LLM aspirants, I must emphasise that you must keep in mind that it is not just a matter of a year or two of post-graduation that you invest in a subject you do not appreciate fully; it is more likely that you would work in the chosen field for the rest of your life. While it is pragmatic to select a financially profitable area, it is equally important to have picked an area that rewards you mentally and emotionally. You do not wish to wake up one day and regret not taking chances with the discipline you love and are passionate about in fear of failure. You might not like your job for the rest of your life. I opt to take my chances with the subject I was absolutely inspired by and in awe of and would highly recommend to the students that they select LLM in the area of their interest and not what is in vogue.”

2. Students who have already decided that they want to do an LLM are often confused about whether they should pursue LLM after getting some work experience or before. What would you say to these students?

Prerna Deep-“During my LLB, I consulted several professors, seniors, and fellow mates on the topic mentioned above. Both the choices are right; it is more about where it fits in your career goals. For instance, some people do not realise there is a need for specialism until they have worked for a while, while others are determined to pursue LLM since undergraduate. I was confident that I wanted to do LLM, and I was also certain about my specialism, so I went with it.

To the students who are not sure about LLM or confused about their specialism, it is wise to work a few years after your LLB, find out the legal field that most interests you, and when you think there is a need for an in-depth study of a subject, go for LLM. It would save you a lot of pain, confusion in the future.

Some students are sure about their specialism and find it easier to pursue academics in continuity than taking a break and returning to it. If you are worried you might not be able to return to university after work, or you would like to complete your post-graduation first and then enter the professional work arena, it is best to pursue LLM directly after LLB.

Think thoroughly before making a decision; both options are great. It all boils down to what would suit you the best.”

3. Can you guide students about financial aid/scholarships as many are confused on how can they get a scholarship and what are the basic requirements to get a scholarship for studying abroad for Indian students?

Prerna Deep-“There are various funding opportunities available to Indians applying for LLM abroad. It varies subject to the country, university, and often the preference of specialism. Since I only applied to universities in the UK, my response is limited in the context. There are primarily two types of funding available, internal (The University) funding and external (Other organisations like the British Council). When you select your university and course, the webpage often has links to the scholarship opportunities available to prospective students. Some universities automatically consider your scholarship application; for others, you have to follow different mechanisms.

I would suggest the prospective LLM aspirants go through the funding and scholarship websites of the university of interest. If you have further doubts, you can also email the university asking about any scholarship opportunity available. Further talk to your professors, your seniors who applied abroad; they may know more scholarship programmes. I often checked Lawctopus for any scholarship announcements; you could keep an eye too. Be careful that you have sufficient time in hand as the scholarship applications often close six months prior to the usual deadline of the admission application.

4. Do grades matter as many students are worried whether their law grades are enough for applying for an LLM? What do you think about the importance of grades for getting a seat in a good college for LLM? How can a student without good grades frame a good application?

Prerna Deep-“In my opinion, law school gives substantial importance to grades more than many other disciplines. There is often a non-waivered academic requirement in the UK to make an LLM  application, and all the top law schools require you to have the Indian 1st division in LL.B. to make an application. While very few law schools might allow an exceptional application if the lack of marks is compensated by a great CV, unfortunately, that’s not the usual case. I applied to the University of Edinburgh, and my offer was conditional on LLB marks that had to be above 60%. I had secured a full scholarship (British Council’s GREAT Scholarship) before my LLB results were announced, and yet the University made my scholarship and admission conditional on my LLB grades.

I would highly recommend the students who would like to secure a place in postgraduate courses in one of the top law schools in the world to pay sincere attention to their grades. Try and maintain your marks above 60% in your undergraduate degree. While grades alone are not sufficient to secure your place, it is highly challenging to secure one without good grades. If you do not have good grades, you should utilise your SOP wisely to explain your stance of why you do not have the grades you require and how your application stands out despite the average marks because of your overall extraordinary work.”

5. What according to you are some key things the students should keep in mind who have decided to do an LLM? What final advice would you like to give to LLM aspirants?

Prerna Deep-“LLM is a considerable commitment, and one should be sure of their choices before making this commitment. Firstly, you should ask yourself what purpose would LLM serve for you? No point regretting pursuing LLM mid coursework. Secondly, finalise your specialism in LLM if you want one. Thirdly, decide whether you would like to pursue LLM in India or abroad. The country you choose may depend on several factors, including the ranking of law school, courses offered, living cost of the city, scholarships available.

You need to elaborate the database of all these conditions to choose the best course in the best law school for yourself. It is challenging and time-consuming. I would recommend starting at least 2 years in advance; you would probably need to give IELTS, the applications are sent a year in advance of the course, and every university has its own requirements and procedures. Make sure you have read everything correctly. Consult your professors, seniors and reach out to alumni of the college you are interested in. Give your best, and don’t give up.”

Bhumesh Verma- Managing Partner, Corp Comm Legal EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!! Answers 5 Frequently Asked Questions of Law Students!

ABOUT BHUMESH VERMA

Bhumesh is the Managing Partner of Corp Comm Legal, a New Delhi-based independent Indian law firm. In the mid-1990s, he began his career with Ajay Bahl & Co. (now AZB & Partners). He then became a partner in some of India’s most prestigious legal firms, including Khaitan & Co., Paras Kuhad & Associates, and Link Legal.

In 2000, he was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship by the United Kingdom government, where he studied at York College of Law.

He has strong connections with partners of many large, mid-size, and small law firms and other consulting firms around the globe, and is continually involved in inbound and outbound M&A transactions.

Bhumesh has written over 500 articles for a variety of print and online publications, including LinkedIn, IBLJ, Business World, The Practical Lawyer, and scconline.com. Bhumesh is an Adjunct Professor at a number of prestigious law and management institutions in India and abroad. He also provides workshops and training sessions on contract writing, negotiation, and corporate legal skills for students and professionals.

Bhumesh has written and edited books on commercial contract drafting and mergers and acquisitions, and he is now working on a few additional publications on various corporate law topics.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LAW STUDENTS:

1. Many students normally have a fear that since they are 1st generation law students their journey would be more difficult than a student whose parents are lawyers. What is your take on it and what would you say to them?

Bhumesh Verma: “ You would have seen some of the star kids making a debut in movies now and then. Do all of them do equally well? No. Only those who are talented and work hard make it big. The same principle applies in the legal profession.

Your parents may help you in affording an expensive college, getting internships, or the first few assignments (if you join your family firm), that’s it. Thereafter, you have to face the judge/arbitrator on your own, satisfy the clients/government authorities on a corporate transaction on your own – how can your parents help?

This debate is as old as the legal profession, I think. You need to have what it takes to be a good lawyer – your parents, background, heritage, and legacy may open few doors for you initially but you have to undertake the entire journey on your own. In the long run, you ultimately get what you deserve out of your efforts in life, that’s my experience.

I have been a first-generation lawyer too – had my fair share of struggles but I always admire the support I got from the fraternity. The legal ecosystem is quite fair to all – a piece of humble advice, stop complaining/anticipating problems and start working on your strengths.”

2. Today most of the law students are shifting towards cooperate sector because of the big salary they would get initially. There is a notion among the law students that if you join a law firm or a company you will earn money faster than if you choose to work under a senior advocate in a court. What are your thoughts on the same? And what would you tell all those students?

Bhumesh Verma: ” To me, this is a juvenile approach. On the contrary, in my limited knowledge, the most well-known, respected, successful, and richest lawyers are those practicing on the litigation side.

You need to concentrate on your skills – identify what are your strengths and weaknesses. Pick a path which you are passionate and enthusiastic about – not what you think or are told makes the most money.

Please understand that money is the result of your efforts and craft. If you are good at your craft, any practice area will get you money. If you choose a practice area due to your perceived notion about its monetary potential, I feel sorry for you. What if you were not to succeed at that ?”

3. In Law school there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Bhumesh Verma: “ More internships may be better if you are getting exposure to diverse legal practice areas. It should help you in identifying your interests and strengths and enable you to choose your potential practice area.

Otherwise, just adding several internships doesn’t help you much. Almost every student can get good internship opportunities – contact your college internship cell, apply to firms directly or now even some good organisations help in placing students with good law firms. You don’t get if you don’t ask.

I feel amused at the concept of ‘deserving’ among law students. How does a student measure that she is deserving and someone else is not? Leave this to the recruiters’ judgement, shouldn’t you?

Imagine if your parents were to be in a position to secure a good internship for you, wouldn’t they recommend you or you ask them for it?  

Stop crying and cribbing. No one likes cry babies in this world.

If you don’t find a way, make one for yourself.”

4. During 12th standard, students come under this enormous pressure to crack entrance tests to get into top-tier law schools of the country but as we all know that due to limited seats everyone cannot get into it. What would you say to students who couldn’t make their way to the top law schools?

Bhumesh Verma: “ A college brand also helps you to an extent only. Isn’t there a difference between the student who stood last in his top law college and the topper from a low-ranked college?

As I said earlier, you get what you deserve in life. If you start and keep moving, you will reach your destination.

If you don’t get an elevator, go by stairs.

If you don’t start moving – just keep complaining about NLU / non-NLU, English / regional language background, first / tenth generation lawyer, you are just filling your mind with negativities and seeding complexes into you. If you don’t respect yourself, trust me no one else will.

Good students make their mark in whichever college they study in. If you don’t get admission in your desired college, you have to compensate for lack of it in the ways you can – read, write, research, intern, participate in moots, do additional specialization courses.”

5. Nowadays there are enormous online courses present on the internet which are being sold. It is high time that Law schools should start analyzing their syllabus/course structure so that students who are already paying law school fees, no more need to buy these online courses. What do you think? What would be your suggestions to Law schools?

Bhumesh Verma: ” I am engaged with some Universities as well as online education entrepreneurs as Guest Faculty / Hony. Professor, so my feelings are ambivalent on the subject.

Actually, there has been a huge void/gap between the academic knowledge imparted at Indian law colleges and the practical skills required to practice law efficiently. Some entrepreneurs are trying to bridge this gap by introducing online courses.

If your college is already imparting you practical skills by engaging with seasoned professionals in moots, workshops, specialized courses, etc. that may suffice.

However, sad but true, many colleges still lack this approach and they feel their job is over by delivering course-based lectures and organizing/participating in moot courts. Students of such institutions may feel the need to fill the void by going for online courses. However, it should be need-based, not for the sake of certification, under peer pressure or out of Fear of Missing out.”

Nikita Abraham(LLM Candidate at Munich Intellectual Property Law Centre (2020-21)) ANSWERS 8 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LLM ASPIRANTS

  1. Today many students after getting their undergrad degree aspire to pursue LLM in a foreign country as they feel that an LLM from a foreign country will be more worth than pursuing an LLM in India. What do you think about it and what would you say to these students?

Nikita Abraham- ” It depends on your interests and your means to pursue those interests. I cannot say with absolute certainty that pursuing an LLM abroad is worth more than an LLM in India, since the course structure would be very different and may not be suited for everyone. Studying abroad was the only choice many years ago if equivalent programs were not provided in India, however that is not the case today.

Before making the decision, I would recommend that students slow down and sit down to think about whether they want the experience of living abroad for a year, because that would be the minimum time spent away from India since most LLM programs are one year courses. After this, think about whether you want to stay back and work for some time away from home. Whatever your answer may be to the second question, there is a lot of planning and preparation that will follow, if you want to study abroad. If students decide to pursue their Masters from a university abroad, they should:

  • Shortlist the universities that offer programs with subjects of their interest
  • Have a look at the faculty associated with the courses. Go through their background and their accomplishments
  • Read up about the alumni and reach out to them asking about their experiences.

A prospective LLM student should do this and definitely more! This could be an easy journey for some students, whereas it could be extremely challenging for others. Find out which one you are. The most striking features about doing any educational program abroad, which multiple people before me have said, are the people you meet from different walks of life and all over the world and what you learn from them.”

2. Many students feel that LLM is a necessity after studying law as it will enhance their profile and will give them better job opportunities in the future. What do you think about this thought process of students who just want to pursue LLM for enhancing their profile? What would you say to such students?

Nikita Abraham- ” An LLM will definitely enhance your profile, but so will actual work experience. It comes down to the real learning that takes place regardless of whether you do an LLM or decide to focus on work. Keep in mind that an LLM program is so much more labour intensive than your undergraduate program and an expensive endeavor as well. The decision you make will be influenced your unique personal situation.”

3. Students who have already decided that they want to do an LLM are often confused about whether they should pursue LLM after getting some work experience or before. What would you say to these students?

Nikita Abraham- ” This depends on your area of interest, which will influence your work profile. Did you decide when you were midway through your undergraduate program that you wanted to do an LLM from a specific university? Did you start working on your profile from then by writing papers, doing specific internships, or learn relevant skills specific to the area of your interest? If yes, then go ahead and apply for that LLM program.

But if you are unsure, don’t worry. This is where work experience helps you figure out what matters you enjoy working on and what you want to learn more about. Working in a specific field, being exposed to the current legal issues, discussions with seniors will help you navigate this. Keep in mind that some LLM programs might require work experience as part of their admission criteria.”

4. After deciding that a student wants to pursue LLM, a question that comes to mind is where? So, can you tell the viewers how to choose where to do an LLM? And how did you decide yourself.

Nikita Abraham- ” Your unique financial situation might influence this decision a lot more than other factors such as what your interests are. You will need to figure out whether you can finance it yourself, or if you need scholarships or any other external funding or benefits. Look at the places you want to apply to. Find out if it matches the goals you set for yourself, whatever they may be, and if it will help you get there. Talk to students doing the same program and ask them about their studies and other projects they have done. Does their lifestyle and experience appeal to you? If yes, then you can start planning accordingly.”

5. There is a common doubt in students that whether they should do a general or a specialized LLM. What are your thoughts on it and what would you say to the students who have this doubt?

Nikita Abraham- ” As clichéd as this will sound, once again it depends on your interests and what you wish after the program. Talk to people who have done both programs for perspectives on opportunities available after completing the programs. It doesn’t matter whether you do a general program or a specialized program, you must accept that you will have to keep learning and keep yourself abreast with legal developments that could have an impact in different spheres.”

6. Many students are often confused on which area of law they should pursue their LLM in? Because even if they know their area of interest, they are getting confused on which one to choose because today there is immense competition in the market and due to the rise of technology it creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs. How did you decide and what would you say to the students who are confused about it?

Nikita Abraham- ” Make sure that you are ready to learn and be willing to accept that things may very well change. If the rise of technology creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs, then you should also realize that it opens the door for other kinds of jobs. Try to learn the basic skills and more, you will realize that these will always be in demand.”

7. Do you think doing an LLM after getting an LLB degree helped you? How was your experience pursuing LLM? What were some lessons which you learned while doing an LLM which you would like to share with the viewers?

Nikita Abraham- ” Yes, it has certainly helped me. I am currently doing the program. I learnt the importance of research. Being prepared really makes a difference, whether it is for your lectures, your seminars, other miscellaneous discussions with classmates, studying for your exams. You realize the importance of effective time management while juggling so many tasks on your own as an LLM student abroad. You also realize that the work you put in and your extra efforts make a difference in most activities that you do, but sometimes you can be wrong. You learn the importance of working hard but also that you need to be smart. You learn by trial and error and you come to accept that you will not be successful at everything you try out, but you will find out what you can succeed at.”

8. What according to you are some key things the students should keep in mind who have decided to do an LLM? What advice would you like to give to LLM aspirants?

Nikita Abraham- ” I would say start early once you have made up your mind. Do not while away time when you have to work on your application, because there is a lot of preparation that goes into this. After shortlisting the universities that you want to apply to, be sure to be very clear about what is expected from you as a candidate. Do not leave room for doubt. Ask around if you are unsure; ask the present students studying there, reach out to the alumni, contact the university’s administrative department.

After you know the process thoroughly, start working on your application. Some of you may take months, some of you might only need a week or two. Don’t be afraid to ask for help during this process. It is stressful and you will definitely need support. Reach out to your teachers, your friends who have done this before, seniors, your employers if that is the case, etc. Make sure to give it your all and do it with sincerity. The rest usually follows!”

Nikhil Naren – Author and Advocate at Scriboard ANSWERS 7 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

About Nikhil Naren

Nikhil has completed his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelors of Laws [B.A.LL.B] from Symbiosis Law School, NOIDA, Symbiosis International (Deemed) University, Pune, India in the year 2020. Over the years he has built special inclination and interest towards Information Technology Laws, Intellectual Property Laws, Competition Law, and Contract Law amongst other areas of law. He has Co-Authored the book, Internet Law: Regulating Cyberspace and Emerging Technologies published by Bloomsbury Professional India [ISBN: 978-9389714951] at the age of twenty-three.

He was an active member and convenor of his law school’s photography society- One ‘Click’ and also has a good experience at Moot Courts and Mock-Trial competitions. Apart from this, he also mentors law students for Moots, Research, Internship, and on any other issues approached for. He loves to write on contemporary issues falling under his domain of interest. He was offered a Pre-Placement [PPO] while he was in the VII Semester of his law school and thus, has around 25 months of Work Experience in IPR and InfoTech laws over and above his past internships.

He successfully handles Metacept [www.metacept.com], a one-stop platform created for the enthusiasts of IPR and InfoTech laws with the help of his dedicated team.

He is a focused person with a strong belief in honesty and hard work. His objective in life is to continuously improve himself and to try new things that challenge him. He is a firm believer in the fact that “learning never stops”.

7 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LAW STUDENTS:

1. Grades are important because the goal of grading is to evaluate individual students’ learning and performance. But some say that grades are not always a reliable measure for evaluating. What do you think the role of grade/CGPA in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade got in college matter? What would you say to students who haven’t been able to get good grades/CGPA in college as many students fear that due to bad grades/CGPA they won’t be able to get jobs in top law firms or companies?

Nikhil Naren- “Grades may be a good reflection of one’s discipline but not necessarily one’s skills. The study of law enables you to proceed with multiple career choices and one needs to figure out what aligns with their career choice. If a student’s choice of career mandates having good grades, they must. If a student wishes to pursue masters from top law schools abroad, grades [and specific subject grades] play a vital role. Some of the top law firms do have a minimum grade requirement that makes you eligible to sit for their interview.

In conclusion, I would like to say that grades are important but are not the only important factor in placing you where you wish to be. I will advise students to at least maintain an average grade in law school but give due attention to both co-curricular [publications and moots] and extra-curricular activities to make a fine balance in the end.”

2. Students are often confused about what does a good CV look like which would attract the attention of employers. Many students even pay some organizations to make a good CV for them. You must have changed and updated your CV/Resume many times in your career and you must have even seen many CV/Resumes of students as well. What according to you is an ideal CV? And what is the difference between a rejected CV and an accepted CV? In simple words, what according to you does an employer tries to find in a CV? 

Nikhil Naren- ” At the very outset, I would like to state that CVs should be tailored every time one sends them for availing an opportunity. Tailoring a CV means that the student highlights their accomplishments in line with the opportunity they wish to apply for. For example, if one applies to a law firm specialising in Intellectual Property Rights [IPR] laws, they should make it a point to first highlight all of their important achievements in the domain of IPR. Do further research on the other domains that the firm caters to.

Remember, your CV should speak loud and clear about your interests because it is the first point of interaction between yourself and your potential recruiter. You may also try to switch roles and assess yourself from the perspective of the recruiter.

One should also keep in mind that the CV does not run beyond two pages, utilize the margins and keep clear headers. You must avoid having your picture on the CV unless it is for modelling assignments.”

3. Many students normally have a fear that since they are 1st generation law students their journey would be more difficult than a student whose parents are lawyers. What is your take on it and what would you say to them?

Nikhil Naren- ” This perception might have been true around two decades ago. Certainly not in the present times. We are witnessing good law schools coming up and the practice of law diversifying. Opportunities have moved beyond graduating from law school and heading straightaway to Court practice. I am a 2nd generation lawyer myself, but the domain of law I work in has never been practised by my father and vice versa. Today, one has ample opportunity to make their mark provided they are honest and consistent with their efforts.”

4. In Law school, there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Nikhil Naren- ” Internships are very important, numbers aren’t. Internships provide a student with the practical learning opportunity and application of theoretical knowledge gained in the classroom. Personally speaking, an internship at one place for a longer duration creates a better impression as compared to five internships at five different places. Another reason why internships are important is that it is the only way to assess if the practice of a particular domain of law interests you or not. You might be great at knowing the essentials of a valid contract but it is through internships that you hone the skills of drafting a contract. What do you think is more important and place you well then, knowing the essentials or drafting?”

5. When you enter into law school there is a perception that you need to do moots and win moot competitions so that you can be a good lawyer in the future. Is it true? What would you tell the students regarding this, especially to students who haven’t or don’t want to participate in moots?

Nikhil Naren- ” Mooting is an important learning and skill-developing exercise that prepares you for the profession [especially if you want to pursue litigation]. However, it is not a set benchmark for becoming a good lawyer. I encourage the learners of law to become a part of their law school’s mooting contingent for at least a year. A moot court competition improves your researching and drafting skills, teamwork skills, oratory skills, presentation skills and tests your perseverance. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that while working on a moot problem one gets a golden opportunity to lay their hands-on learning new laws even before being taught.

For students who are not interested in mooting, I strongly urge you to take it up for a year. If one is not interested still, I strongly advise them to go for good publications, but that too would not necessarily guarantee in making them a good lawyer.”

6.Students nowadays are very confused regarding the area of law they should choose. Even if they know their area of interest, they are getting confused on which one to choose because nowadays there is immense competition in the market and due to the rise of technology it creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs. What would you say to the students?

Nikhil Naren- ” Competition shouldn’t ever make you quit on your area of interest rather it should become an enabling factor to become the best version of yourself in that particular area of practice. That’s just two different perceptions of looking at it. We have witnessed our lives turning upside down due to the pandemic, which in itself was so uncertain. You can’t stop the waves, but you can always learn to surf, isn’t it?”

7. What according to you is the most important life/career lesson you learned which every law student should know?

Nikhil Naren- ” Keep learning every day and be a better version of yourself. Evaluate before you decide or make an opinion about something. Be the Shepheard, not the sheep. Impressing others shouldn’t be your motivation. Lastly, keep your excuses at bay.”

Founder at Remote Lawyer – Soumya Shekhar (Completed LLM From National University of Singapore) answers 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions of LLM Aspirants

ABOUT SOUMYA SHEKHAR

Soumya is the founder of Remote Lawyer, a virtual legal services consultancy which offers diverse services such as innovative contract drafting solutions, legal content creation, startup advisory and knowledge management services. Soumya is an alumnus of National Law University, Delhi and National University of Singapore. A scholarship holder from National University of Singapore, Soumya comes with a rich and diverse experience. She has worked with tier-1 law firms and also MNCs as an in-house counsel. She routinely advises startups on their legal requirements such as drafting commercial contracts and legal compliance needs. 

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LLM ASPIRANTS

1)Today many students after getting their undergrad degree aspire to pursue LLM in a foreign country as they feel that an LLM from a foreign country will be more worth than pursuing an LLM in India. What do you think about it and what would you say to these students?

Soumya Shekhar- ” I suggest that, do not apply for LLM right after your college. Work for a few years, gain some practical insights and then, if you have the academic interest in the area for which you are applying, then only go for a LLM. As far as Masters from abroad is concerned, it definitely adds to your CV. The exposure you get in a foreign university is unprecedented for Indian students as the academic pedagogy in these universities differ greatly from Indian universities. Having said that, obtaining a degree just to adorn your CV is not the way to handle your future. Pursue a LLM if you are genuinely interested in getting academic exposure, not because everyone is doing it!”

2)Students today are very confused about whether to pursue LLM or not. What do you think how a student can decide whether an LLM will be worth it for them or not? Can you share your experience with the viewers on how did you decide to do an LLM and why?

Soumya Shekhar- ” I have always been inclined towards academics. My decision to pursue a LLM stemmed from the fact that I wanted to pursue teaching at some point of time in my life and a LLM degree would have helped. Moreover, I received a full scholarship to study at the National University of Singapore, so the decision for me was pretty simple! Pursue a Masters if it ties in with your long-term goals. If you want to litigate having a foreign LLM on your CV would add to your credentials. If you want to enter into consultancy business or become an entrepreneur like me, again a foreign LLM degree makes your offering more credible. Hence, think before you follow the rat race. How would this degree help you in the long run? What do you want to do in the future? These are the questions you should ask yourself before taking the plunge.”

3)After deciding that a student wants to pursue LLM, a question that comes to mind is where? So, can you tell the viewers how to choose where to do an LLM? And how did you decide yourself.

Soumya Shekhar- ” There are primarily three reasons why one would want to pursue LLM:

  1. To enhance job opportunities in India.
  2. To work abroad.
  3. To have a brand name on the CV.

Your choice of location of LLM should depend upon what is it that you want to get out of your LLM degree. If it is to enhance your CV: Ivy League, Oxbridge and NUS are good options. If you want to work abroad, then look at EU Universities. There are plenty of opportunities in the EU and it is comparatively easier to get through as a majority of applicants are still unaware of the potential of the EU market.

Some other universities where I had gotten through were UCL, NYU, Columbia and Georgetown, however, as I was getting a full scholarship in NUS, it made more sense to choose NUS over the US universities.”

4)There is a common doubt in students that whether they should do a general or a specialized LLM. What are your thoughts on it and what would you say to the students who have this doubt?

Soumya Shekhar- ” I would suggest a specialized LLM. It always looks better on your CV, as it shows clearly your area of interest. Choose which area you want to specialize in and build your CV accordingly.”

5)Do you think doing an LLM after getting an LLB degree helped you? How was your experience pursuing LLM? What were some lessons which you learned while doing an LLM which you would like to share with the viewers?

Soumya Shekhar- ” I took an experience of 2 years at Luthra and Luthra Law Offices, before I pursued my LLM. I think that pursuing a LLM post at least some work experience helps one understand the nuances of law better. Some of the life lessons I learnt during my time at NUS were:

  1. Analytical thinking: To question the existing thought process. I critiqued the paper of a Professor who taught me and he was impressed with the fact that I decided to point out flaws in his work. This is the pedagogical level we require in India to develop an innovative mind.
  2. The habit of researching deeply: While writing my term papers at NUS, I could not have turned in a paper which was superficially written. The deep dive research I did, taught me the value of reading everything before forming an opinion.
  3. Exposure to different ideas and mindsets: Discussions were a huge part of the academic culture at NUS and it helped me understand diverse ideas and mindsets. It also helped me develop my argumentative skills.”

Manvee a student at CNLU, Patna ANSWERS TOP QUESTIONS OF LAW ASPIRANTS

ABOUT MANVEE

Manvee is the Founder & CEO of LL.B Mania, and a student at Chanakya National Law University, Patna. Her areas of Interest lie in Sports Law & Intellectual Property Rights, and her achievements lie in the same areas.

Moreover, she is a national-level Athlete & holds a national record in High Jump & a dozen of State & Cluster level records.

Presently she is working on her blog which is called LLB Mania. According to Feedspot, LL.B Mania is ranked 113th Position out of 162 presently which is an achievement in itself. LL.B Mania started as an Instagram page in 2018 for providing daily legal updates and in 2020 during the pandemic, she started the Blog website for LL.B Mania in April 2020 and now it has been a year and their website is growing day by day.

TOP QUESTIONS OF LAW ASPIRANTS

1)Students are often worried about whether they will be able to crack the law entrance exam in 1 year/2year/6 months/1month preparation time. According to you, how much minimum time should a student give for preparation?

Manvee-“According to me this question will vary from person to person. I have seen people cracking CLAT in span of 6 months to 2 years as well. However, cracking clat with 1-month prep is practically impossible unless and until some miracle happens on the D day with that student.

According to me as per the new pattern of CLAT, Coachings are not a necessity now, moreover we have plethora of content available on YouTube, one just needs to do some basic research to strategize his/her prep. The new patterns require the comprehending ability and critical thinking for the students which is a must for lawyers and I am really happy with the change in new pattern.

I cracked CLAT 2020, without any coaching and I would like to tell you that I cracked CLAT being in Law School. Coaching mentors often tell that, “Law School ke sath CLAT nahi crack ho paega”.But its not true at all. All one need is proper plan and its executions in the planned way, then one can crack clat while studying in Law School.

I passed out 12th in 2018 and the same year I just sat in the exam without any prep. But I realised later on I should have prepared atleast for 3 months also then results might vary in 2019. In 2019 I gave clat after the drop but was unable to clear the exam, because I realised I didn’t gave my best, I became complacent as the exam arrived, neither I prepared GK notes throughout the year nor did mock analysis, and I took distance learning program, no one was there to guide me, this was the blunder I committed, as a result I could not make it that year and had to take admission in Private College in Bangalore.

But I didn’t give up! I took all my CLAT materials with me to my hostel and decided to write CLAT 2020 for one last time, although there was ambiguity that I may or may not crack, but I still tried. My College was pathetic, I started realising after 2 months of admission, this was not the place that I deserve. Be it Management, Hostel, or Facilities, only thing which was best was the Faculties (not all). But Only for faculties I cannot stay in the pathetic place where I was not getting the environment which I wanted always, the admissions were going on throughout the year, they even lied to our parents and do whatever they wish. I felt trapped and decided I need to get out of this shit!

So, I decided at any cost I need to crack CLAT 2020. Even our faculties who got campus placement from NLSIU at that college as Assistant Professor that same year when we got admitted, they openly told us in class get out of this place, you are going to get nothing hell out of here after your graduation, and after 1st semester all of them left the college and joined somewhere else. Now after hearing that I was pretty much sure I am not going to stay here anymore, so I planned my next 5 months and started to follow.

I planned my schedule in November 2019 and started to follow that, it was pretty much painful but I have no choices left. My College timing was 9AM to 4PM (Monday to Saturday). And even our hostels were out campus 20 km far from the College, so we need to catch our buses daily at 7.50 AM and in the evening at 4.30 Pm. It took 1-2 hours from Hostel to College and Vice Versa. It was pretty much tiring.

I use to read The Hindu while I was in the Bus (Morning & Evening) this way I use to cover Current affairs and made e-notes in my phone and later on transfer that to my laptop. And I use to reach hostel at 5.30 Pm, So I took snacks and sleep for 1 hr and after having my dinner at 8.30 I use to complete my college work by 11 PM. And from 11.15 Pm to 3 am I use to prepare for CLAT daily in hostel and whenever I got sphere time in College.

In sum total I was working 18-20 hours daily for next 5 months (November 2019 to March 2020) and sleeping for 3-5 hrs not more than that, pretty much similar to working in Tier-1 law firms.

It was really painful for me, sometimes I though of quitting and accept that my destiny is here only, but my mind never led me to give up. My dad use to tell me in my childhood “God Help those, who help themselves”and this quote was still in my mind and I wish something happen that I get time to prepare well for CLAT 2020, so the covid-19 lockdown happened. I realised god saw my struggle in the college and providing me opportunity by extending the date of the exams and with online classes as well at home.

I was happy and safe at my home in mid-march 2020. Online Classes & Less workload; it was a blessing in disguise for me. Now I started my preparation in full-fledged manner. From March 2020 to mid-September 2020, I got 6-7 months approx. for my preparation which was sufficient for me, because I learnt the skill of comprehending long texts in my law school via projects and moots & another important skill was research skills, this thing helped me a lot.”

2)There are many students who have a doubt about whether coaching is really important to crack the law entrance exam. What do you think? Is coaching important? Did you take coaching and did it help you? Can someone without coaching also crack the exam?

Manvee-” If CLAT was on Old pattern coaching was needed somehow but for new clat pattern I don’t think so coaching is a necessity, however students find difficulty in Critical Reasoning so they can refer to YouTube, there are ample amount of content. The answer for the question Is coaching important?  Is a Yes and No, both! If someone has no idea of CLAT and its pattern and is weak in comprehension he/she may need coaching however if one has requisite comprehension skills, he/she might not need a coaching but a mentor.

I wouldn’t deny with the fact that mentor is a must for CLAT prep, it can be people who crack clat (Studying in NLU) or some coaching people, only if they can give you time & personal attention. CLAT is an exam of skill and time management, if one is able to manage and get both of them and execute this in proper manner, he/she can crack the exam.  I never took CLAT coaching but I got 2 mentors for me 1 was from NLSIU, Bangalore (now a 3rd Year student), via my Professor in college (NLSIU Alumni), he guided me what should be the frequency of my mocks, how to attempt mocks, what should be the percentile in my mocks and other basic details and another 1 I got via Instagram, and he is Vivek Mishra Sir (Co-Founder Legalight), he guided me for Critical Reasoning and English part and moreover he gave me 1 on 1 personal attention on call whenever needed.

So Yaa! These 2 mentors played a vital role in my CLAT 2020 journey, If I would have not been in touch with these 2 people I maybe unable to crack the exam this time as well. Moreover, I got support from my Parents and my friends from my former law school, Joysree & Nithin, these 2 guys always motivated me in college and Joysree had full confidence in me that I am getting into NLU’s this year and it Happened. Joysree helped me in my projects when I was preparing for clat by taking most of the workload on herself so that I can prepare very well for the exam.”

3)In today’s generation, when it comes to deciding on a career, student’s first choice is either engineering or medical and not law. What would you say to those students who haven’t decided on whether they should take up law or not? What encouraged you to choose law as a career?

Manvee-” Answering your 1st question, if a person is a keen reader and ready to read long texts for his entire life and, then Law is one of the best choices for him/her. If one is only coming in law profession by seeing the Tier – 1 Firms salary for the Freshers or Perks of Being a Judge, then I would advise them to do a thorough research on the profession and get a reality check about the profession.

Being a Judge, you need not to have a social life that much as an ordinary person does. You need to separate yourself from society. I have seen people giving up jobs of Judges because they were unable to enjoy their social life or socialise with people. Coming to the placement package in Corporate Sector, then my friend I would like to tell you it extremely difficult to get in Tier – 1 firm unless and until you are extremely meritorious and You need to be in Top 4-5 National Law Schools in order to get package of 15-17 lakhs/annum.

For rest of the people its extremely difficult although its possible to fetch internship and job if one plans and execute it proper manner being in lower NLU or any ordinary college. People are unaware of the fact that in Tier – 1 Firms they are required to work for an average of 70-90 hours a week (13-16 hrs/day approx.) in their initial years. These 2 are the main reason why aspirants are attracted towards the Law as career but they don’t have idea about the reality.

Coming to the next question why I chose law as a career, from my Childhood I loved to read books and more than that I love writing. But when I was in school, I wanted to be a commercial pilot so I opted for PCM in my 11th Class, and this was the biggest mistake of my life. Somehow, I managed to pass in All 3 of them in My 12th Boards, now I was pretty much clear that I am not going into science field. So, I have 2 options left either I go for Journalism or for Law, the eagerness to write and edit & Interpret led to opt me for law as a career.”

4)Many Students become depressed and feel that they cannot become successful lawyers if they won’t enter into a top law school. What’s your take on it? What would you say to students who have this mindset?

Manvee-” This is a most common misconception among the CLAT aspirants, that if I am unable to make it into Top 5 NLU’s I can’t be successful lawyer in my life. I won’t deny with the fact that being in top 5 NLU’s will help you to fetch internships at good places, but there are always If’s and But’s, Students do not know that for fetching internships at tier – 1 law firms or under the to notch advocates chambers, one needs to be in top 10% of their batch and moreover, they have to be all rounders like they need to achieve in moots, paper presentations, publications at reputed journals, etc.

So, if someone is mediocre student and is not in top 10% of their batch then they can work on their skillset and CV building, they can get internships easily by compensation marks over skills. And in my opinion getting into top NLU’s or even in any of the NLU’s doesn’t guarantee you that you will be successful lawyer. All that will matter is your consistency and hardwork that you did in your Law School, Initially it will be difficult to get internship in tier 1 law firms or even in tier 2 firms, but if your CV is exceptional and you are ready to put your 100% efforts then you are getting internship or job in reputed law firms, no matter what law school you studied be it private or government.”

5)Few students have a doubt in mind that whether they should take a drop for the entrance exam or not. Some students feel that drop isn’t worth for law while some feel that they should give another year for it. What would you tell to the students who are confused about whether they should take a drop or not? Do you think a drop year is worth it?

Manvee-” No, I would never recommend anyone to take drop for exam like CLAT, we have time an again seen the hypocrisy of clat consortium, so we cannot trust them more, they tell something do something. I have covered in one of my Blog CLAT – The Exam of Elite, I would suggest every CLAT taker who is thinking of drop year, should not take a drop for the exam like clat.

I would like to ask people who are thinking of dropping a year just tell me one thing taking a drop year will give you guarantee that you will get NLU’s in that attempt or not?

If the answer for you is yes then go for the drop, if the answer for this question is No, then take admission in some law college after a thorough research. For the exams like CLAT 7-8 months rigours preparation is sufficient for cracking the exam, I realised very late that taking a Drop year was never justified for the aptitude based exam, if you want to drop a year then write Judicial Service exam or UPSC, that will require a drop for sure! I have seen people taking double drop and not getting NLU’s. What’s the benefit of double drop then? So never drop for CLAT-UG atleast.

Law Profession demands work experience, the earlier you get into practise the chances are more of getting success increases. I am 1st generation lawyer from my family, no one was there to guide me, if the things which I knew today someone told me when I passed out my 12th immediately, then I would never took the drop for CLAT in 2019 and took admission in the same year in 2018 and I would have been in 3rd year now.”

6)Many students have a fear that since they belong to a particular stream (For example- Humanities) they won’t be able to crack the law entrance exam (for example CLAT) because they didn’t had maths as a subject in their intermediate. Is it true that if you belong to stream which doesn’t have a particular subject then they won’t be able to crack the exam? Do you think such students have a disadvantage compared to others?

Manvee-” It’s a myth my friend! “that I belong to XYZ stream I can’t crack CLAT”, Honestly speaking any person with good comprehension skill, critical thinking and aptitude can crack CLAT. Only thing that matters is how early you start and in a planned manner. In CLAT they don’t ask Calculus, Trigonometry and all. In fact, now Maths has been replaced with Data Interpretation which I thing is pretty much awesome decision. For D.I one needs to have grip over the maths upto Class 8-10, that’s it! Most of the CLAT takers think that I can clear CLAT by leaving the Maths Section! The biggest mistake everyone does, I did the same in year 2019 and as a result I couldn’t qualify the exam, but for CLAT 2020 I attempted 4 questions out of which 3 got right and gave a boost to my rank and I cleared the exam.

Maths is the only section which can get you NLU or get out of the NLU race, what I felt in my CLAT journey. A gap of 0.25 marks can lead to difference in 250-500 ranks, so just think a gap of 1 mark can make you 2000-3000 rank up or down.

Never ever leave maths section in CLAT, atleast solve 1-2 sums, out of 15 sums 5-7 sums are always doable.

One thing I have observed, people from maths background have an edge over the other only in maths section, the actual clat aspirants are 7000-12000 who prepare diligently, but we see around 60,000 – 70,000 people write CLAT, then who are these people, these people are who do not get selected in JEE & NEET, so they think let’s write CLAT and get into NLU’s and once they enter into NLU’s they are unable to cope – up the pressure of workload and I have seen many people like these leaving the college midway, but what about that seat they wasted for one deserving aspirant who couldn’t get because of them. Just because they have an edge in maths so they get seat in NLU’s most of the time.

Get a survey done of people in NLU’s you will find most of them were never concerned about law as a profession at their first place, these people after passing out just increase the crowd and deserving candidate’s get the job late because of them.”

7)There are many students who are very weak in English because they come from a Hindi medium school. Many students who are from English medium school also have a fear since they feel they have poor vocabulary or poor readings skills. Due to poor vocabulary/reading skills they feel that they won’t be able to crack the law entrance exam. Similarly, many students are worried about maths as well. What’s your take on it? How can they prepare for English and maths?

Manvee-” See, these are the subjects that needs a lot of practise. One who is weak in vocab they need to start working on that immediately, I would recommend to do word power made easy because it contains root words which you can figure out easily in the passage of the CLAT exam. Reading of The Hindu Editorials is must for building vocabulary & new words. I personally used to make note of the difficult words from the editorial part and make my own sentences out of it, in this manner I got grasp over the new words and it benefitted me in the exam as well.

Coming to Maths, now the paper consists of Data Interpretation which requires the grasp over few topics Average, Percentage, Profit & Loss, Simple Interest, and Some part of geometry. Now I feel Maths section is easy for most of the aspirants compared to earlier one.

Practise, Practise, Practise is the key to get hands over these subjects. The more you practise the better you get the understanding of the concept.”

8)Students often get confused during 12th standard that whether they should focus on boards or law entrance exam? What’s your take on it and what would you say to the students?

Manvee-” It depends what are their priorities, I have my friend who gave priority to their 12th Boards and then they took 1-2 drop for CLAT & I have those Juniors also who cleared CLAT with their boards. It all depends what you want at 1st place.

If You don’t want to take drop then start focussing on CLAT from your class 11th Only, make sure you get atleast 60-70% in your boards, that is more than sufficient & if You are struggling to pass in class 11-12th then I would recommend you to focus on your boards 1st because if you do not clear that, you won’t be eligible to get a seat in NLU even if You clear the CLAT exam.”

9)Do you think class 10 and 12th marks are really important to enter into a top law school or to get a good job?

Manvee-” Not at all! Your Class 10th certificate is only for your date of birth verification and CLAT required only 50% in 12th Boards. And I never believe in this theory that If you are topper or score good in boards then only you can clear the examination or become a successful lawyer, Having Good marks will give an extra edge to you but that doesn’t means you will be a good lawyer or not in your life. All that matters is your consistency and hardwork that you put up throughout your law school & Post Law school.”

10)There are many students who decided to pursue law very late (For example: after boards) so, they didn’t get much time to prepare for the exam. More than any other subject, they are most worried about current affairs questions as they haven’t kept track of it. What would be your advice to them? How can they prepare for current affairs? What was your strategy?

Manvee-” I am one of them who decided to pursue law after my Boards result was out, I was struggling between Journalism & Law, end of the day I decided to go for Law.

See! Current Affairs is something which you cannot complete in 1 month or in a Crash course if you haven’t studied that whole year, current affairs need time and one needs to memorize that.

Current Affairs was always my favourite & strongest section in CLAT. I always used to get highest marks in mocks and in CLAT exam as well in Current Affairs section.

See, I have learnt from my mistakes only what I did in my drop year that in 2018 for CLAT 2019 and still unable to clear that, those mistakes I didn’t repeat in my CLAT 2020 preparation which I was doing simultaneously with my Law School.

I am writing down my mistakes which I did when I took a drop year –

  • Not Reading the newspaper on daily basis
  • Not preparing the notes for current affairs
  • Just reading one liners MCQ’s from Compendiums
  • Not doing comprehensive study for the important topics
  • Not doing research for important topics
  • Never analysed mocks properly
  • Not doing the revision diligently.

My Preparation strategy for CLAT 2020 (G.K Section) when I was preparing while studying in Law School –

  • Reading Newspaper on Daily Basis
  • Preparing daily G.K Notes & revising them diligently
  • Did my own research for Important events & made notes out of them (Texts & Videos)
  • I used Compendiums only as a reference not for the main prep.
  • Attempted & Analysed Mocks seriously.
  • Moreover, I made notes from The Hindu & The Indian Express and connected that with past happenings of that events which I prepared notes.

So, these were the learnings from my own mistakes which I did in my drop year & trust me it works most of the time. So, if one has right mentor with them then they can clear the exam without coaching & when I am telling this then I assume that the student has basics knowledge of the exam patterns and has solved past year paper and some questions as well.”

11)When we talk about entrance exams there is always a question in the mind of students that how much time they should devote for preparation of law entrance exam in a day What would you say to the students regarding this?

Manvee-” The answer for this is pretty much simple, as I mentioned earlier it depends upon the priority of the person to person –

For 12th Boards Students

  • Make a Schedule and Set targets for your prep.
  • On an average 4-6 hrs daily for 1 years along with attempting regular mocks & analysing them thoroughly.
  • Try to maintain a balance between your Boards & CLAT, trust me its possible, it only depends on your willingness & willpower.
  • You should be clear with your strategy before starting your preparation.

For Students who are in Law School

  • Make a Schedule and Set targets for your prep.
  • Spend around 5-6 hours daily for 6-10 months on your prep along with attempting mocks on regular basis & analysing them.
  • Read as much law subjects as you can, Legal Section will be much easy for you because paper is comprehension based now, all you need to interpret that.
  • Be aware with the Daily News and Important topics for G.K sections.
  • You should be clear with your strategy before starting your preparation.
  • The CLAT preparation will be toughest phase of your life when you will require to maintain a balance between your law school & CLAT prep, but it is possible.

I am pretty well aware of the mistakes that most of the CLAT Aspirants does, that’s why within a month (around May 2021) I am coming with my another venture CLAT EASY, which is a part of LL.B Mania, where we will be helping the CLAT Aspirants in their preparation & mentorship and all, everything free of cost. Because I Know not everyone can afford coaching, but everyone needs guidance for their preparation.”

Akriti Shikha- Associate at HSA Advocates ANSWERS 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

ABOUT AKRITI SHIKHA

Akriti Shikha is a law graduate from Symbiosis Law School, Pune and has been extensively working in the field of Dispute Resolution. She has interned at various top tier law firms in India such as Khaitan & Co., Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Nishith Desai Associates and many more. She began her career with L&L Partners, Mumbai, in 2018.  Her primary practice area is dispute resolution (litigation). She has represented the firm’s clients across fora, which involved appearing in and arguing matters before Courts and Tribunals, research, drafting and drawing up pleadings, submissions, notices, briefing and assisting Senior Counsels. She is currently an Associate at HSA Advocates, Mumbai.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY LAW STUDENTS:

1)Grades are important because the goal of grading is to evaluate individual students’ learning and performance. But some say that grades are not always a reliable measure for evaluating. What do you think the role of grades/CGPA is in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade received in college matter? What would you say to students who haven’t been able to get good grades/CGPA in college as many students fear that due to bad grades/CGPA they won’t be able to get jobs in top law firms or companies?

Akriti Shikha-“ There is no doubt that law school grades are important and play a vital role when recruiters (especially law firms) consider while offering an individual a job after earning their law degree. I think the grades are an initial evidence to judge an individual as a potential candidate and are used to screen through candidates and decide which students to interview. However, not getting good grades does not mean that one will not succeed in their legal career. Internship/ work experience, soft skills, networking, interview session and other factors are just as critical as grades are to one’s career. For some students, good grades will assist them in their pursuits, whereas for others, networking/ other factors will be the skeleton key. However, a well-rounded CV will get their feet in the door, both in law firms as well as companies.”

2)Students are often confused about what a good CV looks like which can attract the attention of employers. You must have changed and updated your CV/Resume many times in your career and you must have even seen many CV/Resumes of students as well. What according to you is an ideal CV? How do you think one should go about writing a CV when one is applying for a job?

Akriti Shikha-“ CV is a short account that you provide on who you are, what you did, and what you plan on doing for your career. Having a strong CV will get you noticed by the recruiters and help you to seek the interview you deserve. There is no such ideal CV that works for all, but an attempt should be made to answer, ‘Why should we hire you?’ and that you are perfect fit for the position. One should take utmost care while preparing the CV since that would create the first impression on the recruiters. Certain suggestions to create an interview-winning CV are:

  • The CV should be 2 pages long (maximum).
  • It should highlight your educational and additional qualifications, internships experience, academic achievements, moots participation, publications, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Avoid providing too much personal information.
  • Do not forget to run a spell check on your CV and make sure the formatting is uniform throughout. “

3)Today most of the law students are shifting towards cooperate sector because of the big salary they would get initially. There is a notion among the law students that if you join a law firm or a company you will earn money faster than if you choose to work under a senior advocate in a court. What are your thoughts on the same? And what would you tell all those students?

Akriti Shikha-“ The question on whether to work with a law firm or in a company or under a senior advocate would depend on the individual’s area of interest and their career objectives. Each one has its own merits and requires a slightly different skillset. The notion of having a big pay-check may seem alluring to many initially, however, what is important is that the work must give you a sense of professional and personal fulfilment. One eventually realises that challenging work, work culture, collaborative environment, some creative perks etc. are relevant considerations for you to stick around.

For a lawyer who just started his career in litigation, carving out space for him as a litigating lawyer can be tough due to the fact that for beginners, the earning is extremely low. But for ones who are truly passionate about it, you never know, you may become a great future counsel in the country! For the ones who seek to work in a law firm or a company, the pay packages are comparatively enormous, but the question remains on whether you would like to work in the office which may demand fourteen-to-sixteen-hour workdays, six to seven days a week, in the long run. In the end, the aim should be to get the success that you truly deserve, and each person has to discern what is their definition of success, and then understand the skills you need to achieve it. Some people define it in terms of money and the car that you drive, while others define it in terms of the respect you get from the bar and the bench, and there are numerous other criteria you could posit. “

4)In Law school there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Akriti Shikha-“ I think that the ‘depth matters more than the width’. The quality of the legal internships benefits the students in multifarious ways and would be more meaningful than the number of internships undertaken by them. It is the lessons you learn during the internship that makes the difference.

Building contacts and networking is definitely a great way to land internships. To know who truly ‘deserves’ is a debatable question and whether you get the internship on merit or through reference, either ways, you need to simply work hard during the internship period, depending on which you may be offered a pre-placement offer. “

5)What according to you is the most important life/career lesson you learned which every law student should know?

Akriti Shikha -“ There is not just one important life/career lesson, but a few:

  • Figure out what you want to do in your career and, if possible, plan your every move around it.
  • Work hard but play hard too.
  • Choose your career wisely. If you love what you do, you will do it well and effectively.
  • You always pass failure on your way to success.
  • Keep reading and stay updated with the current news and events. You never know when it might come to your aid, after all, a lawyer is required to think on his feet.”

ANANT GUPTA-CEO & CO-FOUNDER, MEMO PUNDITS ANSWERS 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

ABOUT ANANT GUPTA

Anant graduated from National Law University Odisha in 2016. Throughout his 5 years of law school, Anant remained an active mooter with a considerable number of achievements to his name. His team was adjudged as the “Runners Up” at the NUJS Herbert Smith Corporate Law Moot.

He worked with the Banking Law team of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. for 2 years and also gained business certifications from Harvard Business School. After which he realized that entrepreneurship is better-suited to his interests and skills. He took a leap of faith and founded 2 startups – Memo Pundits, the ed-tech startup, and Infinite Detours, a high-end trekking startup for travelers across the world.

Memo Pundits is India’s first Mooting School for law students, founded in 2014 by Anant Gupta and Rachnendra Tripathi. It is a unique platform which imparts knowledge in the field of mooting. What sets it apart is its teaching methodology, which is far from traditional Indian online courses. All online courses are based on the Harvard University’s “Active Learning” model, which makes sure that learning is always fun!

Having conducted over 70 webinars, Anant’s vision is to reach all in need of guidance. He is also the recipient of an Under 30 National Award for being an inspiring entrepreneur in the ed0tech industry.

TOP 5 Questions that are most frequently asked by law students

1) Grades are important because the goal of grading is to evaluate individual students’ learning and performance. But some say that grades are not always a reliable measure for evaluating. What do you think the role of grade/CGPA in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade got in college matter? What would you say to students who haven’t been able to get good grades/CGPA in college as many students fear that due to bad grades/CGPA they won’t be able to get jobs in top law firms or companies?

Anant Gupta- ” In most scenarios, the importance of grades come from the fact that it is one of the quickest yet uncomplicated yardsticks to evaluate a candidate within minutes. However, grades are relevant the most while applying for the first job. The majority of good lawyers no longer know or care about their grades. Clients and employers judge lawyers mainly by the work they do and the outcomes they show.  It can be a plus going to IV leagues or a top NLU, or being a gold medallist in the batch, but it has no bearing on job or clients.

So, if someone applied for a scholarship to study at a prestigious foreign law school, grades could be significant, but only when applying for the first job; after that, it’s all about the lawyer’s efficiency. Employers usually assess applicants by assigning trial assignments, analysing connections and recommendations, and assessing the quality of work performed before making a hiring decision. This how they guess the potential of a typical candidate. So even if they do a mistake and hire someone who is undeserving, they get fire within a few months as it is fairly easy for them to spot the unskilled.

As a result, more often than not, people with low grades routinely outperform others simply on the basis of their abilities and track record. If a student has not earned a satisfactory score, they should commit more time and effort to learning practical skills through internships, preferably long-term ones. Many law firms take in law students with low grades, train them in skills, and polish them up so that they can get decent jobs. So correctly prioritize.”

2)Many students normally have a fear that since they are 1st generation law students their journey would be more difficult than a student whose parents are lawyers. What is your take on it and what would you say to them?

Anant Gupta- ” In law school, a misguided first-generation lawyer faces a slew of challenges. Most of them now lack sufficient knowledge of how law as a practice maintains financial stability and sufficient profits. In certain cases, references are more important than hard work, particularly when there is no proper guidance, as every senior is not always accurate with their advice and suggestions. Furthermore, most applications go unanswered because they were submitted directly to HR divisions at law firms without any references, due to a lack of understanding of how the legal profession functions. The costs of attending law school, which are a financial burden for many students and their parents, are at the top of the list. To summarize, the most significant challenges are economical, academic, and social.

There are a few tactics to choose from at this stage. To begin, one must accept the challenges and mentally prepare to close the “readiness gap.” Students should not be afraid to go out and clear their questions through on-campus advising committees that guide students through various challenges. Students should make an effort to make a positive impression and receive letters of recommendation from places they interned or worked for. Always strive to work hard and smart. Avoiding trouble areas have never benefited anybody, so everyone can take the time to work it out while retaining discipline and respect. Then, for those who are experiencing financial problems, keeping an eye out for scholarships on and off campus should be a top priority. That job can be handled through diligent internet searches and career counselors. Also, before applying for a student loan, one should do extensive research into the whole process, from seeking professional advice to evaluating one’s own circumstances to making repayment plans. A lot of students mistake loans as an investment rather than a debt.

But, in the middle of it all, students must maintain their spirits and not be defeated or scared by the obstacles. All should be proud of all of their hard work and preparation that went into producing the results and networks that they did. Of course, mental health should be prioritized, and it’s normal to feel stressed and human, but no one should question or discredit their achievements. A lot of people have made it, others will too.  “

3)Today most of the law students are shifting towards cooperate sector because of the big salary they would get initially. There is a notion among the law students that if you join a law firm or a company you will earn money faster than if you choose to work under a senior advocate in a court. What are your thoughts on the same? And what would you tell all those students?

Anant Gupta- ” A law degree can lead to a variety of careers, including science, education, government jobs, banking, and finance, among others. The legal profession is divided into two major categories: corporate law and litigation. Making a decision between these two practice areas is crucial because it will have a significant effect on the future. Most people make this decision before enrolling in law school, but students should still keep the possibility of revaluation in mind.

Litigation is a field where you can test your abilities in order to gain notoriety. It gives you a large sum of money, but only after a few years of proper establishment. It gives individuals the freedom to make their own decisions, such as who they work with, how much they charge, and what area they practice in. There’s something exciting about solving practical problems, and it also gives them a lot of admiration. Furthermore, since litigators operate all year, their compensation is unaffected by economic fluctuations. However, the profession’s biggest drawback is its sluggish speed. Litigators who are only starting out are underpaid, have a difficult time finding clients, work as hard as they can when looking for work, persuade clients, and deal with a lot of rudeness and irritating phone calls.

Now in case of working in a law firm, a lawyer directly enters into a clear, strong, and unified company culture who have a well-established business that gives a hefty sum of money straight from the beginning. Therefore, all the work in building a place for oneself is not required. In corporate there is also a stability and assurance of job, which is basically fixed if one keeps working well. Now, when a lawyer works in a law firm, he or she enters into a simple, solid, and cohesive company culture with a well-established business that pays a large amount of money right away. As a consequence, no effort in constructing a place for oneself is needed. There is also job security and stability in the business sector, which is practically guaranteed if one performs well. Their work is often influenced by the state of the economy, as job availability is decreased when the economy is poor. There is also less communication with colleagues due to all the formal work.

Hence, both have their own pros and cons to deal with. Furthermore, there are middle-ground options such as general commercial litigation, which includes almost any form of business dispute, including breach of contract, relationship conflicts, business torts, and so on. At the end of the day, it’s just about asking oneself the right questions and getting truthful answers about what they are capable of, they you want to do, and what is the core reason behind these choices as certain practice areas attract certain personalities. So, everyone needs to assess themselves, their interest, qualification, work-ethic, and mindset before setting a goal and start working on it.”

4)In Law school there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Anant Gupta- ” A law school internship is key for several reasons keeping aside the general expectation and BCI’ regulations. It aids the process of building on one’s existing knowledge and converting it to practical skills through extensive training and practice by being put into real situations with real clients. It facilitates education while growing the chances of landing a good job later.

Students in their early semesters are encouraged to do simple internships , even if they can pull-off a big one through connections, as it would be redundant due to a lack of legal expertise. So students mostly go for  internship with a non-profit organization and an internship with a trial court. NGO internships highlight how law can make a difference in the lives of the poor, and they are often the only option available because large firms do not accept students in their first or second years. A trial court internship offers a more realistic image of legal practice and teaches the essential skills required to be a successful lawyer. Also, small firms do take in such students often which gives them their first corporate work experience. The focus should be on exploring various fields of law, careers, and work settings in short periods to get a taste.

After that comes the time to narrow down focus and make selective and strategic choices to suit one’s goal. But even if a student is confused at this point, no need to lose it. There are plenty people who have broken norms and gotten into big firms without a lot of internships or have joined their dream law firm only to quite in months. But that is not an excuse to slack off. After that, it’s time to narrow one’s focus and make strategic and selective decisions in order to achieve one’s target. However, even if a student is puzzled at this stage, there is no need to stress excessively. Many people have defied the odds and gotten into major law firms without doing several internships, and there are also individuals who have entered their dream law firm only to leave after a few months. So, the strategy goes like this; explore then invest (work, energy, and time). This does not equate to the highest number of internships, but rather to their quality. The argument is that making concerted effort over a five-year period, doing the work rather than overthinking, getting uncomfortable with oneself, and making wise decisions should be good enough.”

5)During 12th standard, students come under this enormous pressure to crack entrance tests to get into top-tier law schools of the country but as we all know that due to limited seats everyone cannot get into it. What would you say to students who couldn’t make their way to the top law schools?

Anant Gupta- ” My first response here will be that in the long-run, it really does not affect one’s career. There is no doubt that NLUs have become the most influential movement and a major step forward in the development of legal education in India, bringing supreme infrastructure, ambition, global outlook, outreach, glamour, and, of course, recruitment. These advantages cannot be denied. But most of it is true only for the top 5-6 NLUs. The secret is that any law student can adopt the NLU model by implementing those concepts to their own lives, and embark on a journey to becoming an exceptional lawyer. I have seen such results myself while training both NLU and non-NLU students through Memo Pundits.

There are a few thresholds that a law school should pass to realistically better their performance. If campus recruiting is taking place and people are being recruited, the issue will be solved to a large degree. Despite the fact that some major Indian law firms take pride in recruiting from top law schools and batch toppers, several other recruiters also welcome students who intern for a long time with them. An ambitious environment is non-negotiable. Law schools, where students are highly competitive and function in a close-knit fraternity on a small campus, lift their standards of themselves to the point where they go out of their way to accomplish the things they are intend on accomplishing, such as internships, jobs, moots, as well as other activities. People are often jolted out of their stupor while they are in a competitive environment.

Another substantial factor is the exposure provided; through extremely esteemed individuals teaching, taking webinars, and interacting with students in institutions. There is also the factor of institutional memory at work which stresses on recruitment driven campus culture focused on mentoring, internships, deliberate branding, strong student bodies, events and recruitment committees, strengthening the community bonds and, as a result, success.

So, if a law school is providing all these goodies, then there is no need to search for the NLU batch. And above all, anyone can rise from any place, it’s all a matter of work, luck, and networking!”

SOFIA BHAMBRI- Managing Partner (Advocate) at S.Bhambri & Associates ANSWERS 6 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

About Sofia Bhambri

She is Managing Partner (Advocate) at S.Bhambri & Associates, Delhi. Her Boutique Law Firm was started by Mr. N.K Bhambri in the year 2011. The Primary focus was on Family Law as well as Matrimonial Law Practise. Since, then the growth has been magnanimous and now they are proud to be associated with several of our associates. They particularly deal with Matrimonial Disputes, Recovery of Money Suits, Trademark and Copyright Registration & Prosecution, Labour/Employment Laws and Compliances, Consumer Cases, Criminal Cases, DRT Matters, School Tribunal Cases, Senior Citizens Tribunal too. She as a Managing Partner, has litigation experience of 7 years in various Courts of our country such as various High Courts, District Courts, Tribunals and Forums.

She was empanelled as AMICUS CURIAE with National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission, New Delhi. She was empanelled as Legal Aid Counsel with Delhi Legal Services Authority, West, New Delhi.

She is the Honorary Member of Advisory Board at Lecit Elite, a Legal Startup aimed at spreading awareness and aiding law students since the year, 2020. She is the founder of Initiative Raahat aimed at providing legal guidance to women in distress in particular. 

TOP 6 Questions that are most frequently asked by law students

1)Grades are important because the goal of grading is to evaluate individual students’ learning and performance. But some say that grades are not always a reliable measure for evaluating. What do you think the role of grades/CGPA is in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade received in college matter? What would you say to students who haven’t been able to get good grades/CGPA in college as many students fear that due to bad grades/CGPA they won’t be able to get jobs in top law firms or companies?

Sofia Bhambri-” As far as grades are concerned, they do not have that much effect, while a law graduate’s profile is being scrutinized for hiring purpose. As practical internship experience is considered. However, it does not mean that a law student must turn a blind eye towards his or her grades completely. It is quite alright that you may be an average student, however, if you have loads of practical internship experience matching with the job description then, it is likely that you would be hired.  I would like to add that if, a law student is striving to pursue his or her Masters Degree from outside India, then, the grades or percentage must mandatorily be above average, as the foreign Universities consider good grades prior to issuing admission offer to a student.”

2)Students are often confused about what a good CV looks like which can attract the attention of employers. Many students even pay some organisations to make a good CV for them. You must have changed and updated your CV/Resume many times in your career and you must have even seen many CV/Resumes of students as well. What according to you is an ideal CV? And what is the difference between a rejected CV and an accepted CV? In simple words, what according to you does an employer try to look for in a CV?

Sofia Bhambri-” Well, if you are freshly enrolled lawyer then your CV must include all of your internship experiences in chronological order, beginning from new to old ones. Your CV must be framed in your own language, the internship experiences more or less must match with the job description for which you are applying for. One must tailor the CVs according the requirements and the job profile for which one is applying for. Law students must refrain from making grammatical errors in their CV, as well as must not resort to getting their CVs drafted by some other person. If a law student does not know his or her strengths then how can someone else know it. They must instill confidence in themselves and must not be swayed by anyone who lures them by saying that a CV must be framed by a professional.”

3)Many students normally have a fear that since they are 1st generation law students their journey would be more difficult than a student whose parents are lawyers. What is your take on it and what would you say to them?

Sofia Bhambri-” Even if a law student is going to be a First Generation Lawyer, it is my belief that our legal profession absorbs those, who are willing to invest majority of their time in gaining experience related to his or her area of interest. Yes, it is true to some extent that second generation lawyers get a readymade platform, such as an office, already existing clientele, however, even they have to make efforts in order to gain confidence of the clients, as your name alone won’t suffice if you are not putting effort and time to build your own rapport with your clients, colleagues, seniors etc.”

4)Today most of the law students are shifting towards corporate sector because of the big salary they would get initially. There is a notion among the law students that if you join a law firm or a company you will earn money faster than if you choose to work under a senior advocate in a court. What are your thoughts on the same? And what would you tell all those students?

Sofia Bhambri-” While, choosing to work in corporate sector or otherwise is solely a lawyer’s discretion, however, the notion that money can be made faster if one chooses to work in a company or a law firm is completely false, as people forget that in a company or a law firm one gets limited salary, and while one is gaining experience and learning tricks of the trade under an advocate in his or her junior-ship, they are laying groundwork for setting up their practice in future. In  beginning, a junior may not get handsome amount of money, however, once you have invested around five years in litigation practice, then sky is the limit for you to earn, you can surpass those who are working in corporates or in law firms on salary basis. One of the best thing about litigation practice is that you are not answerable to your boss, you are your own boss, you make your own rules.”

5)In Law school there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Sofia Bhambri-” The quality of experience one gains in an internship matters not the quantity, if you have not been able to gather practical experience during your internships then internships will be of no value addition to your CV. Furthermore, the issue with law students is that all of them want to intern at a Tier-1 law firm, they are focusing on big names, however, they ought to keep in mind that they can learn a lot from small law chambers too. When a law student can focus on learning rather than concentrating on getting internships, in places where already there is a rush, then things would start to unravel in their favour. They must not in any circumstance fall prey, to herd mentality prevalent in their batch.”

6)During 12th standard, students come under this enormous pressure to crack entrance tests to get into top-tier law schools of the country but as we all know that due to limited seats everyone cannot get into it. What would you say to students who couldn’t make their way to the top law schools?

Sofia Bhambri-” I will answer this question in straight words, well how does it matter? If one does not get into top law schools, you can pursue law from any University or Law College and still do wonders in your career. Legal profession is all about practical skills  it has less to do with the academics, while one is pursuing law. If a law student can put consistent effort into his or her work, that is to gain practical skills then, I don’t think anything can stop that person from achieving great heights.”