Most law students dream of getting a job at one of the top law firms in the country. These firms pay enviable salaries and justifiably so for any fresher, this is one of the biggest attractions of working in a top firm. Legal education is expensive. People spend lakhs to get a good education. So it is comprehensible when you want to secure a high-paying job at a big firm. They pay you handsomely, allow you to work on million-dollar deals, you attend fancy corporate events and meet the top-notch people from the industry. This post is not about the work at law firms. It is, however, about what you can do to secure a job at one of these top law firms.
When we talk of top law firms in India, some names readily come to mind, viz AZB and Partners, Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas and Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (the erstwhile Amarchand Mangaldas), L&L Partners, Khaitan and Co., and Trilegal, to name a few. There are other big firms that are highly sought after by students for internships and jobs. These six-seven firms generally visit the top National Law Universities (NLUs) for their campus placements. This day is called Day Zero but not everyone who sits for placements on this day gets an offer. There is a complete process of shortlisting CVs and group discussion. Many candidates get eliminated at this stage. Only the ones with good grades, a well-rounded CV and communication skills manage to qualify for the interview round.
Colleges, other than the top NLUs, have to rely on their internships and networks. Campus placements on Day Zero are one major advantage of the top NLUs. Students from other colleges have to perform well in their internships to have a shot at a job interview. We have covered how you can stand out in your internship in an earlier post. So when you secure an internship at one of the top firms, work towards getting yourself a job interview. This especially applies to students in their fourth year of college. This is your time to get a PPO. What are the things that will help you secure the job? Here, we list the essential qualities that you must develop if you want to land a job with a top-tier law firm.
Effective communication: Having ‘good communication skills’ is a thing of the past. You chose law as a career. You ought to have effective communication skills. You must know how to get your point across precisely and convince the other person. This is not just restricted to verbal communication. You must have strong writing skills too. A lot of work will be related to drafting various documents. Many students ignore drafting and research when these are some of the foundational skills that you must have. To help you develop them early, we offer some unique drafting courses. Our course evaluation includes a project assignment that compels students to research and analyze the given topic.
Practical knowledge: Most law schools focus on theory. Very little attention is paid to practical industry knowledge. In this aspect, you have to rely on every available resource and opportunity that you get. Gain practical insights by interning as much as you can. It helps if you intern in a bigger city as there are more opportunities. Attend court proceedings, observe the procedure, ask questions when you do not understand something. Attend conferences and symposiums of subjects of interest. Interact with professionals working in those fields to gain practical insights. It is immensely important to prepare yourself for the job that you seek. Our courses are aimed at bridging this gap between theory and practice. They focus not only on the concept but also on the process of a particular transaction. For example, our course on Mergers and Acquisitions talks about the concept as well as the strategy and steps involved in a merger or acquisition. Likewise, there is a dedicated course on legal due diligence to help you get versed in the process and the purpose behind it.
Long internships are the key: If you think that a month-long internship is enough to get you a job at the firm, you are mistaken. One month is a short time for you to showcase your skills and impress the partners. To tell them that you can add value to the firm, intern for a longer time. If your internship was only slated to last a month, negotiate with your partner and see if they allow you to extend it. You can also ask them if they will be willing to call you back for another internship. If they like your work, they will call you again. This way, you intern with the same team and get to know them and their work better. In turn, they also get to know your work ethic and whether you are a good fit for the team. This increases your chance of landing a job with them.
Networking: Yes, the work you do during your internship is important. But so is networking. This does not mean that you go around talking to everyone in the office. What it essentially means is that you build a rapport with your team and stay in touch with them even after your internship is over. Interact with your team members. Work well with them. Show them that you are a good team player. Keep in touch with them (and not just for asking for favors). If they come across an opportunity for you, they will let you know. But this will only happen if they know you. You cannot appear suddenly in 2020 and ask a person you interned under in 2018 if there is a vacancy in their team.
Your aim during your internship at these top firms should be to get a PPO. For this, you will first have to intern with them. If they like you and your work, they will call you for another internship. If you perform well there, they may interview you and offer you a PPO. Of course, the road is easy if you have an aunt or uncle who knows the partner and can get you in by making a few calls. But if not, you will have to go through the whole process and work really hard to secure that job. Thankfully, you have our resources to help you develop all the skills that you need. Start working now and you will get your desired job!