Interviews

Swati Shanker, Law Graduate, NLIUB, on preparing for interviews and appointment at AMSS

Swati Shanker is a student from National Law Institute University, Bhopal, batch of 2015. She has interned with top notch law firms and was placed with Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co. during campus placements.

In this interview we speak to her about:

  • Managing Grades in a trimester system
  • Excelling at moot court competitions
  • Securing a job from Amarchand

 

How would you introduce yourself to our readers who are mostly law students and young lawyers?

Firstly, I would like to congratulate the Super Lawyer team for initiating this informative web portal. I think it by sharing first hand experiences of lawyers and law students pertaining to various law school activities and higher studies provides valuable insights to law students and will help them decide their career path and objectives accordingly.

Talking about myself, I am a fifth year law student of National Law Institute University, Bhopal. I am a first generation lawyer. My law school journey till date has been a valuable learning experience. As a law student, I have always tried to excel in both academics as well as extra-curricular and co-curricular activities like mooting, authoring research papers etc.  This has helped me learn not only the theoretical aspects of law but has also helped me inculcate legal-analytical approach and hence the practical application of the subjects.

My area of interest is corporate law and in furtherance of my interest I have interned at some major corporate law firms like Wadia Ghandy, AMSS. I have also authored various articles on current corporate topics. I look forward to establish myself as a successful corporate lawyer and make significant contributions in this sphere.

I like reading novels. I also have an inclination towards meditation and have trained myself in various forms of the same. I like travelling and exploring new places.

 

How did you decide to study law?

Being part of various social welfare organisations and having been involved in various social activities since my school days, I developed an inclination towards law at a very early stage. However, I never considered of pursuing a career in law initially and opted for science after 10th boards. In my standard 12th I came to know about the Common Law admission Test (CLAT) and it appealed to me a lot as I perceived it as an opportunity to nurture and develop my interest in law. Being a first generation lawyer my parents had apprehensions towards legal career and hence I had no option of quitting science altogether. So I started preparing for engineering and law entrances simultaneously and cracked both. Despite of being offered national engineering colleges my parents being very supportive allowed me to pursue my dream career and hence I ended up landing in law.

I am a first generation lawyer.

 

How did you manage to keep up your grades?

I found trimester system to be easy going and more helpful in improving grades. Continuous evaluations in a trimester system can make one realise his or her strengths and weaknesses and hence improve performance with each trimester. I managed to keep up my grade by paying attention to class room lectures and self study. Class room lectures not only help you keep a track of the course but also in a broader manner portray the content and the manner in which questions should be answered in an examination. I treasured valuable experiences from each trimester, employed them in subsequent ones and managed to excel my performance with each trimester.

 

swati-sanker-1Can you tell us about your mooting experience?

(Swati has won Stetson International Environment Moot (South Rounds) and represented the university in Stetson International Round.)

Winning Stetson and getting an opportunity to represent India was one of the most valuable law experiences of mine.  The moot provided me a huge exposure to international law and its facets. Both national rounds and international rounds require an individual to be aware of each and every minute details of the problem. However, international law differs from national round in one aspect that the judges put extreme weight age on mannerism and courtesy.  The moot was not only helpful academically but also provided an opportunity to interact with various national and international teams.

 

In your opinion, what would it take to excel at moot court competitions?

Intelligent and diligent team work guarantees success at moot court competitions. Mooters should have an eye for each and every detail, as a single word can change the whole game. To excel at moot court competitions one needs to follow following steps:

  • Be well versed with the problem
  • Research should be exhaustive and meticulous
  • Memorandum should be neatly drafted and formatted.
  • Oral arguments should be properly structured and logical.

 

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

Yes, I have interned with some major corporate law firms. I secured theses internships through both personal applications and college’s recruitment committee. A well drafted and tailored CV plays a significant role in fetching an internship. Further, getting an internship through personal application requires one to prepare a well drafted cover letter and vigilant follow up.

 

How relevant did you find your law school education with the kind of work you were required to do at law firms?

I consider internships as a great learning experience as it provides a practical exposure to diverse areas of law and helps an individual find his area of interest. Internships were always a deliberate plan for me because I considered it as a tool of exploring my area of interest and decide my career objectives. In furtherance of the same, in my initial years at law school I interned with various high court and Supreme Court lawyers, commissions, litigation law firms and corporate law firms. Of all these internship experiences I found corporate law to be very appealing and decided to pursue my career in the same.

Law school education focuses mainly on the theoretical aspects of law whereas internships are more about practical application of law. However, law school education helps in developing a fundamental understanding of law and sets a broader picture of law. Based upon my practical experiences, I found law school education to be if not sole but a contributing factor for having a successful internship experience.

 

What do you have to say about law students interning exclusively at law firms all through their undergraduate years?

Law being a diverse field, a well informed decision as to area of interest is a prerequisite condition for a successful legal career. Internships assist an individual in arriving at such informed decision. Rushing forth to intern at law firms since the very first year frustrates the objective behind internships. Hence, I would advise that rather than opting this attitude law students should strive for diverse internship experiences at vivid places in their experiences and then take an informed decision.

 

Please tell us about the recruitment application process at AMSS.

Yes, I have been offered a job at AMSS through campus placement.  I have interned twice with AMSS. I applied for these internships through the college’s recruitment committee. The recruitment application process at AMSS involves majorly two steps. First stage involves short listing of C.V.  and the shortlisted candidates are then asked to fill a questionnaire providing various personal and academic details. This is followed by the final and deciding round i.e. personal interview.

 

How did you prepare for the job interview?

My job interview preparation was based primarily on C.V, general corporate laws and HR questions. My AMSS job interview was primarily C.V based. In order to crack the interview one needs to be very thorough with the C.V. Hence, it is advisable that the C.V. should be drafted properly and should contain only those things about which you are confident. Further, while reading C.V. you should also try to find out any recent development in the area that you have mentioned in your C.V. Thus, a C.V. reading should be both vertical and horizontal. Further, overview knowledge of various major corporate laws subjects like, Contract, Companies Act, Transfer or Property, Partnership and securities laws are advisable.

Yes, HR questions were also asked in the interview. The HR questions asked in the interview were usually repetitions of the AMSS questionnaire that one is supposed to fill after the short listing stage.

One more thing that I would like to add here is if you have interned with AMSS previously always be thorough about the team with which you have worked. In the interview you might be asked the name of the team and the partners you have worked for. Also one is advisable to be updated on the recent developments in the firm.

 

Are grades of critical importance in securing a job?

To some extent this assertion is correct. CGPA plays a determinative role in securing a job for some of these law firms. However, it is not necessary that in order to get placed here you need to have extraordinarily high grades. Decent grades (among top twenty rankers) coupled with significant extra-curricular activities will also achieve the purpose.

 

If you could re-live your five years in Law school, is there something you would do differently?

I have balanced my law school life by placing equal importance on both academic and extra-curricular activities. In five years at law school I have managed to win moots, author research papers, however, I never got a chance to spend considerable time on sports. So, if given a chance to re-do my five years in law school I would like be more active in sports and would like to represent my college at various sports fests.

 

What’s the next goal on your list?

Currently I do not intend to do an LL.M because at this juncture I am looking forward to working with AMSS and learning the practical aspects of corporate law.  However, in order to broaden my domain of knowledge, I might consider doing an LL.M in corporate laws from abroad.

 

swati-sanker-3Lastly, what would be your message for our readers?

My message to readers would be that “intelligent hard work always pays off”.  Success demands dedication and consistency. Further, you should be sure about your career goals and objectives. As per my practical experiences success at law school is a four step process:

Maintain good grades

Intern with diverse institutions  and find out your area of interest

Undertake various extra and co-curricular activities, be it mooting, papers, sports.

Develop social and communication skills

To sum up my law school experience:  “Law school journey is like a roller coaster ride, enjoy the rises and falls.”

 

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