Niyati Jigyasi is a graduate from National Law Institute University, Bhopal (Batch of 2014). Her diligence paid off when she received a job offer from Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) in her 5th year of law school. Currently, she is working as an Associate there. We asked her to share her experiences and strategies she used over the years.
In this interview, Niyati talks about:
- Trimester system at NLIU
- Importance of Internships and other co-curricular activities
- Preparing for job interviews and securing a job at LKS
Tell us about your pre-college life as well as educational background. Why did you decide to study law?
My decision to pursue law is a result of my conversations with my Grandfather who himself was a law graduate. He is one of the main reasons I choose law.
Being a commerce student, law appeared to me as the best career option. I started preparing for CLAT since 12th itself but was able to clear it only in my 2nd attempt and was proud to be a part of India’s premier law institute National Law Institute University, Bhopal.
How was your first year of law school?
It definitely has an impact on your coming years but according to me it definitely does not determine your coming four years. Every year in law school has its own importance and each year teaches you how can you improve your performance in the next year.
I’ll say 1st year of college not just in law school but in every field can be a bit challenging for every student. Adjusting in new city, hostel, eating mess food, completely new subjects etc seems to be a bit challenging but eventually you get adjusted in the environment.
For me, first year was one of the best years of my college life. Probably, because that was the only year when I was a hosteller. I had full on hostel masti in my 1st year and it set the tone for the fun filled rest of 4 years.
One can find it difficult to manage continuous evaluation through trimester exams, projects, submissions, etc. in a law school. How did you manage your studies?
In trimester system managing studies along with other co-curricular activities seems a bit a difficult in starting but within 2-3 trimesters you get used to the routine and its no more difficult. Every student comes out with his/her own way to manage the studies in the trimester system.
I tried to make the maximum use of the first month of the trimester which used to be comparatively free. I also tried by best to complete my submissions and presentations on time so that I don’t have to rush during the time of exams to make by presentations.
How much time does it take to manage academics properly in a law school like NLIU, especially in light of the trimester system?
First year is a pretty good time to get a fair idea about the trimester system & decide the way one wants to approach the studies in the trimester system. In a law school there are a lot of co curricular activities going on round the year so one needs to plan in a manner that he/she can manage academics along with other activities. This can be a bit hectic at times, but taking part in co curricular activities is also equally important. I remember the trimesters when I took some moots, I was either working for moots or was studying for exams or submissions. But that was also a good experience. Managing studies along with other activities in a trimester system teaches you a lot.
How would you describe your time at NLIU-Bhopal? What are the co-curricular activities you took part at NLIU?
Being from Bhopal & getting NLIU, Bhopal through CLAT was one the best thing that could have happened. I had a great time at NLIU, Bhopal. These 5 years have transformed me from a law aspirant to a law student and now an Advocate finally. NLIU has helped me to fulfil my dream of being an Advocate. These 5 years have taught me a lot and if I start discussing each of those things it will be a long list. NLIU, Bhopal gave me friends for life, I’ll cherish each and every moment spent at this place.
I took part as a Researcher in three moots, was a member of Managerial Board of NLIU Law Review since its inception and worked a lot to get the Law Review issues published. I was also a part of CARES-the environment cell of our college for a short span of time. As a member of CARES I edited the 1st NLIU Environment Newsletter which was released eve of Inter College Environment Meet organized by CARES.I was also the co-ordinator for getting this Newsletter published. I also participated in 2-3 essay writing competitions, paper presentation and got a paper published in one of the e-journals.
Which internships that you have pursued will you consider to be right at the top and why? Tell us about some interesting internship experiences.
My internship experience at Phoenix Legal, Delhi and at FICCI, Delhi are the best. The internship at Phoenix Legal was the best law firm internship experience I had. The variety of work which was given to me, the way the seniors treated me in that organization and the way my work was appreciated made my internship at Phoenix Legal right at the top. The internship at FICCI was altogether a different experience. The work at FICCI was more of comparative analysis of Indian laws and foreign laws based on which FICCI had to take a stand as to whether the Indian law is correct or not and what amendment is required to made to make it the more beneficial or how beneficial the amendment proposed is. The kind of work I did at FICCI made it one of the best internships.
At one of my internships I was given a chance to interact with the client directly in a client meeting regarding the case I was working on with the senior. Obviously the questions which I am going to ask to the client were discussed thoroughly before the meeting, but the experience to question the client about the case and a senior sitting next to you quietly, speaking only when client is not able to understand your question or when you are going wrong is an amazing experience that too being just an intern.
Also once when I was researching on an issue and internet and books were not able to solve that issue completely I was asked my senior to go and meet the officers in the Ministry to solve the issue. The interaction with the officers in ministry and the trust that the seniors at the firm showed on me by sending me alone to talk to the officers was also a great experience.
What are the skills you learned from internships? How did you ensure that you get noticed during internships for the work you do?
Internships helped me to enhance my research skills and gave me a fair idea as to the work life after law school. It helps you to decide the place where you want to see yourself in future. Internships taught me that its ok if you don’t know a particular law, but having an ability to learn & apply that law to the given case in the limited time you have is what is required.
According to me, only good work can make you get noticed during internships and nothing else. If you work hard and do your work on time, you will definitely get noticed at internships. I always made sure to complete the work given to me on time without compromising on the quality. Giving quality work on time is the mantra to get notice at the internships according to me.
You have participated in various moot court competitions. Do you think mooting is beneficial for Law students or is it just to make your CV look fancy?
According to me Mooting is very beneficial for Law Students. Mooting gives you a chance to do in depth research on a specific issue. It enhances your research skills, your speaking abilities, it teaches you to think from your opponents’ side also, it teaches you to work & coordinate with others as a team. I’ll say a law student should atleast once do Mooting in the law school, its a really a good experience. No doubt it looks good in CV and adds value to your CV, but it is definitely not just a line item to add to your CV, it is very beneficial for a law student.
What brought you towards Tax Law?
When we came to know that L&S is going to come to our campus I started studying indirect tax and I realised that tax is also not a bad option, I can give it a try. L&S also organized Lecture series at our campus before the recruitment, these lecture series cleared all my doubts about choosing tax law as a career option. Before this I never thought about going into tax law. And I can say today that I took a right decision.
You secured a job at Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (LKS) in your 5th year of law school. How did you go about achieving this?
We were told that for any interview you need to know each and every word which you have written in your CV. So I made sure that I knew everything written in my CV. Apart from CV I studied the basics of the important subjects like contracts, sale of goods, companies, property law etc. And I studied the basics of tax laws specifically for L&S interview. For L&S interview I also studied all that was discussed in the lecture series properly.
How many times did you intern at LKS before you bagged the job offer? Please tell us about the recruitment application process at LKS?
I have never interned at L&S before. I was recruited through campus recruitments. The recruitment process at our college involved sending our CV to Placement Committee. Students were shortlisted on the basis of CV and after that shortlisted candidates had to go through the interview round.
What kind of questions were you asked during the interview with LKS?
In my interview fortunately I was not asked a single question on tax. Maximum part of my interview was based on my CV. I was asked about my experience at the various firms I have interned earlier and based on my experience they asked about the work which I did in that internship. I was also asked certain questions on contract law apart from my CV. Other than that questions like why you are choosing tax, do you have any problem in relocating, will you be able to work in this organization for a long time etc were also asked. I was also asked about my experience at lecture series, was it beneficial or not and why was it beneficial.
How do you think one should go about writing a CV when one is applying for a job?
There is a saying first impression is the last impression and in case of applying for jobs, your CV is the thing that will create your first impression on the recruiters. Therefore, one should take utmost care while writing the CV. You can’t take a chance to mess up your CV. At the time of writing the CV you should keep in your mind that you have to answer the questions based on your CV so you should write only what you can answer. You should be aware of all the possible questions based on the things you have written in your CV. And if at the time of writing the CV you don’t know something properly then write that only if you are confident that you will be able to study that. Never write anything in your CV which you don’t know. You are bound to know everything written in the CV. So the most important thing for writing CV is write only those things which you know properly. Apart from this CV should not have any formatting or grammatical mistakes.
Many law school students aspire to secure a job. What do you think most are doing wrong, from your observations?
Every person has his/her own point of view and priorities in life. By God’s grace I have never faced such a situation. So sitting here and saying what wrong they are doing will not be appropriate. Everyone who is struggling is trying their best to secure a good job. What I can probably say is that may be going behind only a big shot corporate firm job and a good salary can be a problem. According to me, starting with even a new or small firm is no harm, may be if I would not have been lucky enough to get a job at L&S, I might also have taken a small law firm job. But as I said, I am no one to say that those law school students are doing something wrong. I firmly believe that each one of them will be trying their best to secure a job to suit their requirements.
Lastly, what would be your message to our readers?
To all the law school students I’ll say just enjoy your five years of law school as much as you can. You’ll never get that experience ever again in your life. Having said that, I’ll also say that take your studies, projects, internships, co-curricular activities seriously. You’ll realise its important when you start working. So party hard, work hard & just enjoy your law school life. You’ll miss it when you’ll start working.