Nimisha Mund, GNLU, on securing a PPO, her diverse internship experience, and the importance of extracurricular engagements

Nimisha Mund is a student of GNLU, batch of 2015.  She has interned with the likes of O.P. Khaitan & Co., Solicitors & Advocates, Phoenix Legal, and Trilegal. During her time as an undergraduate she has also participated in the Herbert Smith Freehills NUJS Moot Court Competition, 2013, 15th DM Harish International Moot Court Competition, 2014 (on Public International Law), has been a member of the Legislative Drafting Clinic for the “Trade Secret Bill” under the guidance of Ms. Kalpana Reddy, First Secretary for Intellectual Property, Embassy of the United States of America, India and Mr. Hitesh Barot, Senior Intellectual Property Counsel & Vice President, Technology Policy, GE India. Her other accomplishments include being Student Research Assistant in the Microsoft Research Chair, established in GNLU and being the Elected Female Representative of GNLU, batch 2010-15.

Nimisha has secured a pre-placement offer from Trilegal an astounding one year and seven months prior to the completion of her degree.

In this interview we speak to her about:

  • Importance of extra-curricular activities
  • Securing top-notch law firm internships
  • And working at a top law firm and getting a PPO

Tell us a bit about your life before college; did you have lawyers in your family?

Well, my pre-college life did not feature anyone from the legal fraternity in it. What it did feature, however were inspiring individuals who allowed me to imbibe the qualities, which, I’d like to believe make me a good lawyer. Pre-college life otherwise was fun, much more relaxed. I played a lot of sports, and read a lot through school but inherently was the same- I approached everything with the tenacity of a bloodhound!

Why did you decide to study Law? What inspired you to do so?

In the beginning it was quite by accident. I had intended on concentrating on preparation for other entrances and the course I took for a month offered an hour of law coaching for four Saturdays. Once I saw the extent of analysis involved in the legal education, I, frankly, was hooked. Thereafter I decided there was no other vocational calling for me. And then of course, there’s the brass tacks!

How important is it to have publications to your name?

The gold stars on the CV have been identified as such because of what they show about the lawyer and not the other way round. I believe there is no better way to exhibit your legal acumen and yes, to add to your CV. Though this I feel is contingent on your manner of writing. Its about taking a stance and not just assimilating and disseminating the jurisprudence on the topic.

How was this novel experience of working with Ms. Kalpana Reddy?

A very rewarding experience. Learning the nuances of drafting a legislation, choosing the best from foreign legislations, interviewing the stakeholders and learning how to plug loopholes in the law is something, the gains of which I shall carry throughout my life as a lawyer. And the best part is still to come…that is when you look at that piece of legislation once it gets passed and say, Hey! I helped draft that!

How important are extracurricular engagements?

Extremely important. And I cannot stress on this enough. It’s a run of the mill answer but that does not take away from the truth of it- that it gives you the skill of being a good team worker bracketed by the ability to hold your own as a leader. More specifically to sports, the way you learn to push your boundaries is amazing.

Our readers would be quite curious to know how you went about securing your internships.

Some were on merit, while some were not. I had my heart set on Trilegal –especially after a talk we had from a Partner at Trilegal in our college, and each internship was undertaken to enable myself to deliver well at Trilegal and secure a placement. I planned to do this in the fourth year, but when our college called for internships in the third year, I decided I was prepared. One other important thing I did was, that rather than get more ‘names’ on my CV, I interned at the same place again, because that allowed me to get better work, and learn a lot more, as then they trust your capabilities.

Did you stagger your internships throughout law school as part of a deliberate plan or did it all just happen by chance?

Very much deliberate. Some things in corporate law really impressed me. Taking the common example of securitization for instance—such ‘man-made processes’ (for want of a better word)—the fact that people thought of such efficient systems really intrigued me. I continued with corporate law in most internships and that held me in good stead.

While there is nothing better than hands-on-experience, one shouldn’t undermine the education you get in a classroom. Citing a simple example, while you’re at your internship, its much easier to navigate your way through laws when you are given a proposition, if you’ve studied the law beforehand.

What kind of work did you have to do during your internships?

Well everyone gets menial work once in a while, I did too. Take everything positively. Getting a document to proofread is still an opportunity to dissect the agreement, find out what are the boiler-plate clauses (the must haves). Few are wise enough to avail of such opportunities.  Besides that I’ve been  lucky to be given some fantastic work as well. I’m a total sucker for an innovative argument, so any proposition that had me look totally out of the box, and I loved it.

How must one go about organising their internships?

Well, one must start out with a litigation internship in my opinion. If you intern at a firm in the early years, it won’t really be a mutually beneficial experience, that is to say that the firm might not really gain from your contribution, but it is indisputable that you will. It might even give you an edge over others. But keep in mind that there is a high attrition rate from firms so if one day you wish to leave that field and start litigation, you should have some experience to fall back upon.

What do you think an intern should accomplish in the course of their internship to get a “callback”?

Diligence as well as intelligence. Deliver work on time and once you’re done you should be able to go and brief the person who allocated the work to you in the best manner. Soft Skills are important. To perform better, I’d say there’s nothing like a good dose of curiosity! Don’t shy away from asking the lawyer the background that they want the research in, it’ll give you a deeper understanding of the way things work. A simple example being, that what you might have thought was a simple research point on contingent contracts might actually be to build an argument for option contracts and the lawyer was too busy to tell you that. So ask away.


Did you have to undergo an interview before securing your PPO?

Yes, I had an interview with barely an hour’s notice! Thankfully I was abreast with the latest developments in the corporate world. The most important factor is knowing all the work in your CV in and out. Not just that but all the latest developments and anything ancillary to that. Confidence in an interview is extremely important. My advice to all reading this is that there’s one thing you constantly need  to question- “why me”. Why should they pick you out of the hordes of applicants. Everybody can have an answer, it’s hardly the holy grail and it not only increases your confidence but will shine through to your interviewer. Yet more important is that you know your audience, gauge your interviewer’s style, you need to know when you have to have the tact to swallow back an acerbic retort, as it’ll be frowned upon and when it will be appreciated.

How important are good grades in securing a job?

I’d say its extremely important. I’m not a topper. But it’s not the end of the world if you don’t have a great CGPA. It’s just that you have to compensate by performing much, much better.

What should one law student aspiring for a job at top law firms do?

I know it’s a cliché but there is no substitute for hard work. Couple that with smart work, i.e. knowing the right websites to keep you updated etc. and I think everyone will have the right concoction.

Lastly, what would be your message to our readers?

I’d say that we’re lucky to be in a profession where our job need not be just a means to an end. We don’t have to be just chanting “TGIF” and plod doggedly through the week but actually enjoy our work, its dynamic and analytical nature. So keep that in mind, enjoy your work, be opinionated and on a more serious note, if you pick a niche area in your work, pick it wisely.

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