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Things Beyond the Law Firm Job: By Shamnad Basheer (Repost)


This was written by Prof. Shamnad Basheer of NUJS on SpicyIP (July 22, 2010) under the title “Diversity and Thinking Outside the Law Firm Box”. See here.

Many of us have lamented the fact that although the “national law schools” have churned out very gifted lawyers, we’ve lost many of them to law firms. It is but natural that many of them are attracted to financially rewarding jobs that law firms typically guarantee.

However, given that these law schools were established to induce alternative forms of lawyering aimed at improving society, we have to admit that there has been a failure of sorts…and a massive one at that.

It pains me to see so many of our students devastated during the campus recruitment phase when they fail to land jobs with prestigious firms. And the one question I always ask is: are you sure this is what you want to do? Or are you merely following in the illustrious footsteps of your seniors? Surely, there are a million different ways of putting legal skills to use?

Thinking “out of the box” and doing something different than being a mere cog in the wheel of corporate transactional lawyering is certainly more appealing?

More importantly, if you expand out the “base” of potential legal career opportunities, you don’t need to depend so heavily on firms that come to recruit? And surely, this will help future generations of law students that take inspiration from you… and relieve themselves of the herd mentality to think differently?

Why don’t you try something different, I ask in all earnestness? I see a blank face, a blank stare, and oftentimes, a smirk.

So what ails? Why don’t many of our students consider alternative legal careers and look beyond law firms? Or perhaps join firms, but move beyond the typical corporate transactional work to do more pro-bono stuff? I hope to engage with these maladies another day.

[Reproduced verbatim from Prof. Shamnad Basheer’s article Diversity and Thinking Outside the Law Firm Box“] Image from here.

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  1. shubham yogi 2004-09 batch, Assistant Director Barfii( Movie)
    Nihal Kovvali 2005-10 Batch, by choice Legal cum Probation Officer at Ranga Reddy District Child Protection Unit, he choose to do it.
    there r many

  2. The fact that students today in law schools are so gravitated towards law firms and corporate placements and as a result of which alternate forms of lawyering fail is because of the high fees charged by the best law schools in general. A typical law school fee structure for five years leaves a student with at least 9-12 lakhs rs worth of student loan to pay off. Also that a majority of these students leave law firms within 3 – 4 yrs of placements and pursue other interests also go on to say that if the government has a fee subsidy program for the NLUs the way it has for IITs, such students can pursue these interests from the beginning of their professional careers itself.

  3. The thing is, most of the students are financially dependent on their parents/family. To think that after spending over 6 Lakhs and more importantly, 5 years of your life in a National Law University, one will go and work as a junior under a senior advocate for a meager pay and no future job security; it’s just plain stupid. Parents themselves expect more after being patient for so long.

    So yeah, people without any legal background and contacts should surely go and join corporate firms for financial stability and security. That, according to me, is plain common sense.

  4. I m a 3rd yr law student at symbiosis law school n i dont want to join a law firm but what other options do i have in the corporate world? I want to join the corporate world but not a law firm.



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