There is no magical secret that can assure you a job in top-tier law firms, all you need to do is work for it. Reality is far duller than what we expect it to be; there is a wide gap between dreams and numbers. Working at a big legal firm provides you with a luxurious lifestyle and the opportunity to mingle with renowned business people and celebrities. It’s rare for a twenty-something not to be swayed by this glitz. These positions are likely to go to top graduates from the top NLUs, some overachievers from other good law schools, and students whose families have the requisite links. The bulk of the people are duped into believing in false dreams. Besides all these, we can always aspire to dream for a position, work for it and perform our level best to make a shift from nearly impossible to quite possible.
In India, all the law schools provide a placement assistance service to their students. To ensure that you get work in a top law firm, here are some things you can do:
1) Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses-
Find out what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking a pre-law aptitude test or a diagnostic test before law school. This will help you figure out which fields of study would best suit you during your time at school. Make sure that these tests reflect how much work it requires from each subject area rather than just listing off all the possibilities in every possible subject area.
2) Consult it with others-
If any of your friends or family members work in the same field, ask them about what the job entails. This will help you figure out whether or not you want to go into that field in the first place. The best way to find out if you like a certain type of work is to do that type of work in law school.
3) Find a good fit for yourself-
Finding a good fit isn’t just about finding a place that “suits” you, it’s about finding a place where you can get along with the people there and register for classes that offer experience in what you want to get involved with later on. You can start with a simple “I’ve been looking into law firms here and they offer these great rotations!” and let the interviewer take it from there. If it doesn’t work out, you can always move on to another type of firm that seems like a good fit for you.
Well, if you are not from top law schools then the process is a bit more difficult. Gone are the days where getting a job depends on experience, now it depends on academics and skills possessed by you that fit the job. There are several noteworthy career foundations in the legal grapevine. Here’s an example: the three as (ability, affability, and availability) represent the essential success characteristics for an associate (in reverse order of priority).
4) Perfect your language skills –
The capacity to write well, readily comprehend law and judgments written in complex language, and write sophisticated language when necessary in the profession is what a firm expects from us. The reason behind preferring one from top tier NLU over others is the literary, logical, and analytical skills possessed by them. Perfection and command over the above-mentioned skills will give you an upper hand.
5) Practical knowledge and skills –
To succeed as an intern in a law firm and ensure a PPO placement in the future, you must have the following knowledge and skills:
- Research Skills – This is one of the most important skills. Associates will ask you to seek case laws, questions of law, interpretations, and so on, while they conduct their study. They will be impressed and offer you additional work if they perceive you have discovered something relevant that they have not. If you perform a poor job, they make a mental note to never offer you another task.
- Contract Drafting – Understanding the minutes of contract drafting allows you to aid associates by giving valuable value adds and recommendations when they ask you to review the contracts they create.
- Patience and due diligence- If you proofread well when requested, associates will notice and offer you additional work. There is no such thing as a trivial job. You will be entrusted with additional work and work at a higher level if you perform your tasks well.
- If you’re on the disputes team, your legal writing abilities will get you brownie points since you’ll be able to provide excellent initial drafts to the lawyers, cutting down on their workload.
- If you work on a transaction team, your understanding of due diligence can be valuable. Such knowledge and abilities are not demanded of you, but if you have them and use them well (due diligence is easy work conceptually but time-consuming in terms of volume), you will be assured of a PPO unless you make a mistake somewhere.
Consider an internship to be a test drive. You will be put through your paces by the business. Is it likely that they’ll be impressed? Some law students believe that they will go to an internship and learn. That is a ridiculous expectation. Nobody at a legal practice has time to train an intern unless they know the intern will be there for at least a year. Internships are not a place to study; they are a platform for you to perform. So plan ahead of time and showcase your knowledge.