To an outsider, the legal world might appear akin to a serious black and white movie. The legal jargon, the courtroom drama, and the flowing robes; it’s the perfect setting for a cinematic life. However, the journey begins when you enter the gates of a law school, and in India it can take up to 5 long years of law school to finally be able to be called a lawyer.
What one does in this half a decade long experience is what will set them apart from rest of the crowd. Moreover, for anyone who has stepped inside a law college for whatever reasons, knows that it is one of the most consuming places that can exist.
There is never not a time when something or the other isn’t happening in a law school. These five years, to say the least, can be the most colourful years of one’s life before entering the profession of black, white and minimal greys.
You and I have all heard stories about what it’s like to study law. From the mostly accurate, to the utterly fictional. Also, everyone has their opinion on how to do well, rise at the top, and be the legal whiz-kid at your law school. So do I.
Let’s look at some of the activities that I, personally, think are a must for any legal student to move up the ranks.
Visit The Courts
The ‘sharp mind’ that you need for law demands a particular mix of certain skills. Law requires, both, absolute command on details, and a wider view of where different areas of law interlock. Theoretical legal knowledge has extreme limitations in the real play field.
One must for a law school whiz-kid is to visit the courts regularly and gain invaluable insight into the proceedings. Locate your closest courthouse, and visit as often as you can. Listen, watch, observe for a long time. Take in the air and aura of the courtroom and get used to it. Understand the operations, and read up on everything that was new for you at the end of the day.
If done regularly, this exercise is also essential to building your backbone for a strong litigation career, and also network in general. Do not hesitate to introduce yourself to lawyers to establish long-lasting professional relationship.
Write A Blog
A law school whiz-kid is meant for exemplary scholarly work. Find your areas of interests, and keep writing. Even if one cannot find different topics every now and then, just posting their college assignments can easily sustain the blog for a long time. The content will gradually improve, and so will the number of people following it.
Blogs are a great way to add value to your law school life and have something tangible to show in terms of understanding. Give your readers useful insight into various aspects of law and your popularity is set to increase. Make your blog a better representation of you than your CV.
Did you know that Lawctopus, CLATGyan, Glaws – which are all names to swear by in the legal field today were all started by their founders during their college days? Neither these blogs-turned-websites nor their founders need any introduction today. SuperLawyer interviews of two of these founders Tanuj Kalia (Lawctopus) and Jay Sayta (Glaws) must be read for invaluable insights into blogging and its prospects.
Extra-curricular activities not only look great on the CV but also play a crucial part in shaping your personality. Debates and MUNs hone your public speaking and negotiating skills more than anything else. While mooting is an activity specific to law school that shares the element of debate and public speaking but is much more legal centric.
Advocacy is a skill, and not all law students will develop it just by finishing their law school. Mooting will enable you to not only argue well but to also identify, write, and frame the issues just as accurately. It builds confidence and prepares you to face and more importantly persuade a judge. Everything about mooting can be learnt here. Have your fundamentals about mooting clear ahead of time.
Additionally, research paper publications cannot be emphasized enough. Your legal journey will constitute of a LOT of research and writing, and the sooner you start the better. In this article by Aditya, he mentions the details of his conversations with Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO of iPleaders, about the immense importance of research publications in a law student’s life. A must for every aspiring whiz kid.
The legal field is constantly evolving one and law students have a reputation of clocking the library hours in order to stay updated. Law school curriculums can be extremely restrictive as all new changes in the law cannot be incorporated soon after implementation. In the Indian scenario, for example, law schools are still finding it difficult to include GST in their syllabi.
This is where the internet comes in handy. Online courses are becoming extremely popular amongst the student community to find their edge over the others, and rightly so. Not only do they provide in-depth knowledge of specific areas of law, but also help recruiters identify potential employees for the recruitment.
Niche areas of law often don’t find a place in law school curriculums and in my humble opinion, they are the most important ones in today’s time to establish your own identity, for a young lawyer. Law school whiz kids will always ache to do different things from the crowd. Have you been able to study specific details of E-commerce and FinTech businesses in India?
Areas with huge potential like import-export laws, energy laws, and even the upcoming high traction field like gambling law go unnoticed and unheard of in law school. You can access these and many more such domain-specific subjects here.
To know more and be more, online studying is indispensable for the law school whiz kid.
The top Indian rumor about the legal field going on for years is that lawyers can’t advertise here. Although it may be partially (read : legally) true, but there are so many other ways to advertise/market yourself that one cannot afford to ignore it.
In law, networking is marketing, blogging is marketing, even the arguments that you make in a courthouse is your marketing. A lawyer is both – a product and service in himself. How you present and sell yourself is what will make customers hire you. They say, “Doing business without marketing or personal branding is like winking at a girl in the dark; you know what you are doing, but no one else does, especially her.”
Marketing is also a skill that will never go out of demand, no matter what industry you are operating in. It is a method by which a service’s quality and usefulness is transmitted to potential customers, and in us lawyer’s case, it all revolves around how to devise new ways of attracting more clients or customers to recognize you.
However, marketing yourself and personal branding is not a guerilla marketing technique. You have to get into grassroots outreach and grow from there. Getting back in touch with your alma mater, locating a mentor, fixing your own internship – these are all small ways in which you market yourself and also get a better accurate sense of where you are heading in the profession.
Your online presence, your display of legal and leadership acumen in the courts, your media coverage, are all continuous stepwise junctures in your marketing journey from the grassroots.
These 5 things are sure to direct your law school trajectory up north and help you gain priceless extra knowledge and be recognized. All the best!