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A Law Students Reality


Mistakes law students make


Once upon a time, there was a bright, ambitious and hard working law student. She wanted to be an extraordinary lawyer. Her parents invested heavily in her career, sending her to an expensive law school. She believed by the time she graduates she will get a job that will be worth all the hard work, the exams, the bank loans and mortgage, 5 years of living away from the family and sleepless nights spent writing projects or reading case law and statutes.

(My thoughts: "Well, from experience, it's not easy but an interesting journey I must say")   mute

She first encountered a hitch when she began to apply for internships. Internships are very important, so she heard. But as she wrote emails after emails to tons of places, she got no replies. The placement and recruitment committee sometimes got her an internship or two, but they turned out to be lame.

(My thoughts: " Well, that's true, but in my case I had opportunities, internships are very important if you must know and I think you should take the first two lightly and the next four and five very seriously😉")

How was she going to get a job?
my advice
She tried and got some internships through personal contacts – mostly her Dad’s friends and acquaintances put in good words to get her some decent internships in good law firms. She turned up bright-eyed and excited, only to wait at a desk for a long time before any lawyer gave her work to do.

(My thoughts: This is funny, anyway, lucky you, your Dad could help, well, I did my research and findings myself but with the help of few friends")
food
The first task was some research work. She spent a lot of time reading up, trying to prepare a note about the questions but she had never done anything like that before. She got a call over the office intercom in the evening, and the associate demanded the work.

After she mailed what she had done, she was called down to the associates' desk in the next five minutes. She was shouted at for turning in such useless research. I have to do all of it myself, and your research is of no help to me, she was informed by the associate.
food2
My thought: " Well, its Normal to be scared at first, that's why its good to intern in a good firm, I mean check out law firms your friends have attended,do a research about the firm online and try to read peoples review about the firm, do so as to get a little knowledge of what the firm is like or how interning the firm will be like.

 Well,my first internship experience was a good one and I can't forget such an experience, I did proofreading and research, I joined in ADR Meeting ( ADR means Alternative dispute resolution known in some countries, such as India, as external dispute resolution) it includes dispute resolution processes and techniques that act as a means for disagreeing parties to come to an agreement short of litigation ) and I was taught how to Draft too, I made tons of mistakes when given assignments but I was corrected and it wasn't made a big deal, they made me know that its okay to make mistakes and learn too (you can read about my internship experience here-

https://www.lawctopus.com/j-hudson-samuel-partners-banglore-internship/

Dejected, she packed up and went back to her PG ( Paying Guest room) where she was staying. She could bet the other interns were laughing behind her back as she walked out of the office. The next few days at the internship weren’t as bad though. Other associates were patient. They gave her mostly proofreading and basic research. They even praised her when she found the right case law or a good article that explained the point.

Things were just falling into place, and she was beginning to feel useful when the internship ended, as this was a month-long internship. She returned to the campus relieved, due to the fact that she would soon be away from the pressure she experienced in the law firm. DV

What did she really learn from this internship? Proofreading legal documents? How to pull out RBI ( Reserve Bank of India) notifications? How to find case law? Is that enough for a budding lawyer in terms of practical learning?

Why wasn’t she able to make sense of the work that is going on in a law firm? Why was she not able to understand the transactions that were being carried out? Why was she not entrusted to do more serious work beyond proofreading and basic research?     fried rice

If you have been to a law school, you know that this cycle is going to repeat for this law student, until she graduates. There may be a good end if she gets a good job. But only very few get these jobs.

She is going to probably, if we go by statistics, like most law graduates, take a very low paid job in a lawyers chamber, which may pay anywhere between INR 10-20,000. Or maybe she will have to give up on her dream of being an extraordinary lawyer someday, and instead opt for a LPO (legal outsourcing - Legal outsourcing, also known as legal process outsourcing (LPO), refers to the practice of a law firm or corporation obtaining legal support services from an outside law firm or legal support services company (LPO provider).  a job that at least pays INR 45000 or upward.    juice

(My thought: "Now this is so true and very frustrating, that's why am telling you guys, the big chance you stand to gain when you do internships, its a big deal, do it because you will never ever be taught in school the important and practical side of Law")

She paid attention in class. She got good graded in exams. She did all the extracurricular activities she was supposed to do – she even overcame her worst fears to do a few moot courts. She joined various committees in the college. She wrote a few papers and presented them at conferences or published in law journals. What else was she supposed to do?    DV2

(My thoughts: This just made me laugh because I did all of that too and even more, don't get me wrong okay, it's  important you do all these in school too, it will really help to trust me)

What did she do wrong, that her law school dream that was supposed to end with a high paying job didn’t turn true? She had to run around from pillar to post trying to acquire a job that will at least cover the living wages in expensive cities and then struggle to keep that job as she discovered that in her five years of study, she was not taught the very essential skills of lawyering?     DV1

Let us take a quick look at why this happens again and again to well-meaning, hard-working, ambitious law students. Mostly hopefully find employment, but many of them fall short of achieving their full potential or getting their dream job. And they struggle a lot.

The biggest factor to blame here is the legal education system. It is antiquated. Old and uninspiring, it completely fails to teach law students, even in five years, the most basic skills of lawyering.    LIST OF FREE SITE

Yes, there are still people who learn it, but the reason is that there must have been someone in their family who was willing to show them the ropes, or a kind mentor at some internship. The best bet is to intern long term at a good firm or under a good litigator to learn legal work. You are certainly not going to learn it in your law school!

And why is that?         MAKE YOURSELF PROUD

Primarily, the law teachers are to be blamed. Also the syllabus. Teachers do not know what you need to learn and then, for the ones who know, they are not even mandated to teach the same by the University. Actually, on both counts, the final blame lies with the Bar Council of India.

A couple of decades back, for some unknown reason, the Bar Council of India made it illegal for full-time law teachers to practice in the court, or to practice as a lawyer anywhere. This means that law teachers are disconnected from the realities of legal practice. They are doomed to teach you only the sections of any given statute, along with a commentary of it, and perhaps some case laws around those sections.                         INTERNSHIP EXPERIENCE

Does that help? Does any client ever pay a lawyer for his knowledge of statutes, or for being able to look up the right case law?

Today, with the advent of Google, this kind of knowledge has become a staple, as anybody can access it. It gives a lawyer no advantage and no ability to earn. All the law you studied, gave exams on and s perhaps spent hours learning – there is nothing to be proud about it or to be worried if you forgot all that.
ARREST
It used to matter once upon a time when Google didn’t exist, clients had no legal blogs to read and figure out stuff, and lawyers relied on their memory to cite case laws in the court. A person with no legal training can today tell you all the sections that apply for their case and even produce a template needed for the job if needs be. Lawyers today add an entirely different kind of value – that of expertise.

What expertise is that? Why aren’t you taught about it in the law school?     COMPANY LAW

Well, to start with, the law teachers having never practiced, do not have that kind of expertise. If you ask, most of them will freely admit that. They are far removed from the realities of the real world. Many of them are forced to offer fancy subjects like Bankruptcy law, World trade law, Insurance law, M&A law and what not having much idea about it themselves.

Ask your competition law teacher if he or she has ever seen a petition with her own eyes that are filed at COMPAT (an appellate tribunal for competition law) and see her crumble. Ask the person if he or she has ever attended a proceeding before any tribunal for that matter, and I bet that the answer will be No.                  COMPANY LAW 2

Ask the person what rules of procedures apply to proceedings before such court and she will have no clue. She would not know how the registry works for that matter, or how long and what it takes to issue a notice.

(My thought: "As a matter of fact, it's true but recently few teachers are trying their best to read and get more knowledge in these aspects but for how long will students wait for a change?")             COMPANY LAW 3

How is the teacher then supposed to teach you the most important skills you are going to need to succeed and survive?

I could take any other example. You had a teacher teach you companies act, without having any idea whatsoever as to how companies actually design their corporate governance, or what their important compliances are and how professionals manage and keep track of those compliances. They probably don’t even know how to write a resolution for a board meeting how! So what do you learn? You learn more sections and case laws. Good luck with that.        MEAT PIE

A CEO ( a chief executive officer) went to a law school to give a talk. The students told him they learn M&A ( Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) refer to the management, financing, and strategy involved with buying, selling, and combining companies.) there in class. So he asked them what the first step of an M&A was. Where does it all start? They didn’t know. He asked them to tell him about five important clauses in a Shareholders’ Agreement or if they had any idea what the due diligence report plays in drafting an SHA and he was met with stone-cold silence.                UL 1

It’s not only those who are going to work in law firms or companies that suffer, but the people who are interested in litigation also are not much better off. Every litigator spends months trying to figure out the process of a registry of every court and tribunal, stuff that could be easily taught very systematically in a classroom.                UL2

Mostly, law students have no clue about how to draft petitions or various applications. They spend years trying to learn these basic skills from senior lawyers, who are extremely busy and have very little time to spare for juniors. It is therefore mostly trial, error, stumble and learn.

Many law graduates with great track record join a law firm and get disheartened as they do not only have to work, but also learn the work at the same time. It adds on to the hours you tend to spend at the office. If law students were well trained before they joined law firms or chambers, they wouldn’t spend the atrocious hours they are required to spend otherwise.
     UL3
The crazy thing is that this absolute waste of time, energy and opportunities is completely normalized in the legal profession. Older lawyers who have made it in the profession, have done so despite all these troubles. Hence they expect you to go through the same quagmire.

However, most of them forget that the times have changed. Prices have increased. They probably didn’t have to spend 3-5 lakhs per year at a law school, but today this is becoming the norm! Those older lawyers also probably didn’t have to deal with huge parental and societal expectation that a law student should earn over a lakh after graduation, which is somehow the standard law graduates are today held to.
LETTER TO YOU
Why would becoming a lawyer have to be so tough after spending so much time, money and effort in a law school?

Well, that’s how it is, and it is not going to change anytime soon.

The mistake law students make is not realizing that this is what is going on while they are going through law school. When they make that mistake, they tend to hit a wall when they graduate and find themselves unemployable. At that point, options are few except taking a diminished salary and learning the ropes on the job.
LETTER TO MUM
The next big mistake will be to be aware of this problem and still do nothing to learn the practical aspects of law, whichever particular field may interest you.

(My thought: "Start now to plan, prepare and get acquainted with all there is to know about Law theoretically in school and practically by going for internships. It will go a long way sharpening you into the best law student you can ever be and help you to avoid the mistakes law students make")


DV CASE

Comments

  1. It was a long journey. We all make mistakes and learn from them so it is great to see that you want to help out students before they do make them. Thank you for sharing! Love, Iga www.igaberry.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks for reading, i appreciate @ iga

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow. I didn't realize the system was such a mess for law students. I heard it was an awful lot of hard work and long hours for years before it pays off, but I thought law school did a better job of preparing students to be lawyers. Thank you for sharing this so honestly so other students know what reality they are facing.

    ReplyDelete

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