When I was in my first year, my seniors suggested that I don’t intern in the first semester. Their logic was simple – you have hardly studied law so you would not be able to perform during the internship. This is a common advice that seniors, faculties and legal professionals alike impart to the freshers at a law school.
In fact, this idea is not restricted to first-year law students only. As we progress into the second and third year of law school, we are told time and again to intern and work on laws we have already studied at law school. Consequentially, corporate law internships are scheduled after you’ve studied contracts, company law and at times, investment laws.
It does make sense to a certain extent. How can one perform when they don’t know the law? Ever since we were toddlers, we were told to be prepared for the challenges before facing them. We were taught ABC and nursery rhymes to appear for an admission test at kindergarten school.
While growing up we were busy attending tuition and coaching classes for various tests, trying to score good grades in boards. Later, we gave our 100% to secure a good rank in CLAT. It is only fair to expect us to be ready for what lies ahead beforehand, right?
The big question here is: Are we waiting to be spoon-fed by the university?
Tanmay Bakshi is a 13-year-old working with IBM on artificial intelligence. He has already authored two books, designed various applications, has a youtube channel and has given various lectures at TedX. Do you think it would have been possible for him to do so, had he waited to be taught everything at school?
Let’s take an example. Law schools in India teach the more important laws from the third year onwards. Subjects like Company Law, Civil and Criminal Procedural Codes, Investment and Banking Laws, Intellectual Property Laws and Constitutional Law are taught third year onwards.
If you are a student of ILS or GLC (both under state universities) you would know the disadvantages of studying company law in the final year. Imagine. If you were studying at ILS, would you wait till after law school to intern at a corporate law firm? I’m presuming you wouldn’t.
The number of students who’ve already studied company law would be more. Wouldn’t they be competing for the same internships as you? Apart from them, you might have to worry about those who have studied the relevant laws before applying for the same internship. What do you think? Who would land the PPO? Would it be those who already know the law? Or would it be you?
Look at the bigger picture. Let’s say it’s Day Zero at your law school. A recruiter asks you for the relevant internship experience matching the job profile? Will you be able to say that you did only one corporate law internship because you were taught business laws only in your final year?
Don’t be fooled by the college brochures, syllabus, seniors or anyone else. If you are not planning to stay jobless after college, now is the time to start. Here are few ways you can be ready for an internship right from your first year or a job the minute you graduate, or maybe even before that.
#1 Waiting is regretting. Start figuring out now how your life beyond college will look like.
Michael W. Ellison, said “The only way you will find out what truly matters to you is by viewing your college experience as your opportunity to take risks, put yourself in uncomfortable situations, and diverge from your peers with the goal to identify the areas of life that you want your life to be about.”
Remember, the first introduction class you attended in the college? There must be one out of every five students who would have said he/she doesn’t know what they want to do after college. Uninformed choices are often fatal. When you don’t know what are you getting into or do not have a vision you are likely to be frustrated.
I am sure you must have opted for law for a reason. Do your research and do everything it takes to make it work. But keep in mind that this goal that you set for yourself can change too. And once you realize where your true calling lies you need to start working in that direction.
Let me tell you a real story. I opted for law to become a journalist. However, in the course of my degree, I realized I could actually make a better career as a corporate lawyer. I started molding myself in that direction. I took up internships at companies and law firms, did a brilliant business law course, emphasized on scoring good grades in law school and eventually got a job!
#2 Move ahead of academics. Utilize your time.
Let me tell you about a basic flaw in our education system. We all are made to attend classes, learn what is taught and reproduce the same in the exams. This gives us little or no scope to grow and develop further.
Having said that, there is one good aspect of it too. If you manage to concentrate on your classes you will have ample time to go beyond academics. You can enhance your knowledge and CV better if you utilize your time wisely.
When I was in school, every time I used to get new course books for a new academic session I used to read them cover-to-cover. The classes turned into a revision session. It made me excel at studies and as an add-on, I was the teacher’s favorite. Since I was ahead of my class, I had the time to indulge in extracurricular activities including a radio show.
At law school, since I had extra time off I explored new horizons of debating, writing research papers and took up an online course which I dedicate my career and grades to.
#3 Read, write, research and apply!
Once you are done with setting your goal the greatest way to achieve it would be to read, write, research and apply. You might dismiss the idea by calling it non-workable or foolish, however, I have witnessed a very different story.
In the limited experience I have had, writing papers, articles, blogs have turned out to be the best technique to land a good internship or a job. Here is the deal: Not only do you get recognition, fame and a lot to mention on your CV, but also build your knowledge.
Try it for a week. Pick up a subject and start writing one article each day on one aspect of it. I reiterate, one new aspect of the same subject each day. Keep the length of the article between 1500 to 3000 words. Run a plagiarism check. Make sure it’s below 30%. Send your article to various publications or websites.
If no one else does, and you think your article is good, mail it to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or directly submit it on our blog. We will publish it in your name. If you don’t want to do that too, start your own blog. You will realize that in a week’s time you know about the topics more than anyone else does.
In such a situation, do you think any recruiter, law firm or company would want to miss out on someone who knows more than their contemporaries?
If you are still in doubt, we conducted dream job boot camp. We have been able to get all our students decent jobs by training them on how and what to write. Of course, the rest is their effort but it has done wonders.
Ramanuj came up with this idea when he helped his friend who wasn’t getting a job for 6 months by just asking him to write without taking a break. 7 days and 13 articles down the line, he managed to get a job leaving his recruiters mesmerized with his knowledge.
Such is the power of researching and writing.
Learning outside law school is preparing for a brighter future.
It depends on you. Are you willing to wait? Or are you willing to learn and move ahead of others?