Anjali Jain, Partner, Areness

The huge pandemic which the world is facing right now has affected almost every industry including the legal one too. India features a pool of around 1.4 million enrolled advocates across the country. A report prepared by the Bar Council of India analyzes the impact, the trend the entry of foreign firms would wear the legal sector. Taking this under consideration it seems that in the approaching times there shall be a plethora of options within the legal arena for the freshers in every area of practice. At an equivalent time once the foreign firms pave their way in India there shall be a sudden surge in the competition which can significantly impact the new entrants also.

Law: Unity in Diversity

Law differs from other professional courses such as Chartered Accountants, Company Secretaries, etc. since the subject and domains which fall within the ambit of law are endless and countless. And this itself can be highly confusing for any law graduate without any proper counselling or mentoring. Also, now more and more students from Arts and Commerce in their Higher Secondary are opting for law right after completion of their schooling since 5-year law courses save one year from the traditional 3+3 law degree concept.

Changing Trends

Choosing from a nursery school to a law firm, mindset perhaps doesn’t vary much. Everyone would always have an unsaid wish to study/work with the industry leader, but then, it is easier said than done. What also makes life more difficult for law graduates in choosing a career is the availability of countless career options now. Even if they opt to choose to join a law firm, it isn’t easy since, there are hundreds of different niche practice areas besides the traditional general practice. However, it seems that law schools have come to the rescue of their students with specialised placement and recruitment cells guiding and counselling their students through mentorship programmes, special sessions with industry experts and also making compulsory internships in their course curriculum.

Benefit of Internships

Though it is highly cliched that internships merely add to the Resume of a candidate, however, a law student has good 8-10 opportunities in his 5 years of law to have a first-hand experience and cursory knowledge of any specific field of law which may guide him in the long run in pinpointing his chosen area of practice. One can easily find at least 5-7 internships mentioned in any CV of a law graduate these days. However, what the candidate has learnt and the exposure during the internship will always depend from firm to firm as well as the zeal to learn of the law student.

Choosing how to start your career

Though placements in law firms take through all industry practices, however, still reference model does play a predominant role in the placement of law graduates, especially the 0-2 PQE ones. If learning is the priority which all veterans would always recommend, it is better to go for a Tier -3 firm or individual practitioners since the exposure would be much more compared to the Tier-1/2 firms where prudence demands that considering the huge stakes of clients, inexperienced advocates cannot be assigned tasks of high responsibility. But then, in case one is looks at numbers, undoubtedly, Tier-1/2 firms will compensate a fresh law graduate equivalent at times to those in other sectors such as IT or Business Management, especially, if one is from a top-ranked law college. Another determining factor is the specialisation of a law firm or a specific team or a Partner in a law firm and if a law student has made up his mind to work in a specific field only, he should prefer such boutique/ niche law firm or practitioner only. Similarly, working hours, work environment, growth in seniority can also be determining factors.

Nevertheless, though it typically depends on individual priorities such as family/ financial/ territorial circumstances, but still choosing the right place to work for a law student can at times be a very tough call.

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