Let’s make something clear before we begin, this isn’t a post about “ENO” which would start working in 6 seconds (Chhole Bhature ka experience), no matter what people say, there is a gap between those graduating from NLU and those from non-NLU (generally).
Some claim that this gap exists only in corporate placements and not in academics, but I refute that statement strongly.
The quality of education in an NLU trumps that of other universities (generally), the grading system which gives weight to research-based assignments (mostly original content), attendance, etc ensures all-round development of a law student. There are (functional) debate societies, moot court societies, centre for research, fests, sports, and other activities to ensure holistic growth of the students.
The non-NLU colleges (again, generally) have some of the above. If college A has a functional debate club it might not have a centre for research and so on. The point I am trying to make is a person from non-NLU has to work harder than any NLU grad if she/he wants to be on the map.
It is also empirical that the students work hard with a roadmap so that their efforts are not wasted in breaking unnecessary walls (or building one :P).
Here are 5 easy steps to bridge the gap between NLU & non-NLU grads.
Nobody has ever regretted a good CGPA
There are people who will suggest that you don’t need more than 70 % marks and that you should focus your energy on building your CV rather than burying yourself into books. You need to shut those voices out of your head.
You should always toil towards achieving good grades, after all, your classroom is the earliest form of competition that you will face. Also, while attempting to score well, do not simply mug up the subjects, understand the law and MAKE NOTES if you plan on appearing for ANY competitive exam in the future.
Master the art of research
Your expertise in any area might face a minor blow if a major amendment comes your way but there is one skill that will never stop paying back. The skill to research well is rare and it gets you paid well as well as gets things done.
The most fundamental part about being a good researcher is to know the tools like the back of your hand. Whether it is commentaries, websites, manuals or something you read somewhere, you have to be an expert. This is only possible if you take up research in the very first semester itself.
This way by the time you finish your law school, if you even spent 20 hours a week on research for five years, you’d have 5000 hours of research time on your sleeve.
Don’t wait to participate in moots
“You’re in your first year and you do not have the proper understanding required to go for moot courts, better wait for a few semesters“, these lines are echoed in almost every law school, either through a faculty (sadly) or through a senior to the freshers.
This is the most lethal piece of advice that can be given to any fresher, moot courts help the students understand the subject in the best way possible by a practical problem-solving approach. It is something which a student should target as early as possible and as much as possible.
The costs of the competition can be minimized by targetting those competitions which are nearby and with a lower registration fee.
Here’s a video of NLIU’s best mooters giving Moot Court advice
Participate in as many intra moots as posssible.
Barney was right, Blogging is still cool
If you’re from a lesser known law school in a small town, it is tough for you to get in the radar of people of interest. One of the easiest ways to do it is to start a blog on the topic of your choice. It is a slow process which will take time to bear fruits but when it does, it will help you drastically. Once it has reached a certain desired level of popularity, you can help others publish articles.
Some popular blogs you may refer for inspiration are SpicyIp and The Law Blog.
Plan your internships well in advance
I am not talking about planning your internship 6 months before the desired month, everybody does that (everybody who cares enough). Pick a field of law as early as possible, follow the above steps in that particular area of law. Then plan your internships in that area years in advance.
Once you’ve set your targets, plan on how to get those internships. Apply strategies like participating in a moot where a partner from that firm is judging, attend a seminar where that lawyer is chairing, send your blog posts to people on LinkedIn to get their attention.
Once you have a plan A, work on your plan B. Things don’t always fall in place and you NEED to intern as much as possible so apply for backup internships(not a burst e-mail to 100 firms).
Writer’s Note: The road to success is tough to scale but not impossible. People do it all the time and you’re no less. The only thing you need is perseverance, true expertise comes from practice. Follow the steps and keep at it until you achieve it.