Vishaka Deshwal is one of the most diligent and illustrious scholars of the 2015 batch of NLIU, Bhopal. She has participated in various co-curricular activities and has multiple publications to her name. With such a dynamic profile and her dedication to work, she has recently received a job offer from WIPRO. We asked her to share her experiences and strategies she used over the years.
In this interview, she talks about:
- Maintaining a decent CGPA
- Importance of co-curricular activities
- Writing research papers
- Recruitment process at WIPRO
How would you introduce yourself to our readers who are mostly law students and young lawyers?
I am currently undergoing my final year at the National Law Institute University Bhopal. I would like to take this interview as an opportunity to share my views and insights on life in a law school and career decisions that a law student has to take.
How did you decide to study law? Did you have lawyers in your family? Why law and not engineering or medical studies?
There are no lawyers in my immediate family. I used the elimination method while deciding the subject of graduation because I knew what I did not like.
I got to know about the Common Law Admission Test (“CLAT”) while reading something online and I liked the concept of an integrated law course. The more I read about the National Law Schools, the more I got interested in getting into one.
As a law student which activities did you participate in? Did you have any guidance on how to go about your academics, co-curricular activities and internships?
I did not devote my time to only one co-curricular activity. I tried my hand at Parliamentary Debates, Moot Courts, Mediation Competitions, Paper Presentations, etc. I did not want to miss on anything so I made it a point to at least try out most of the activities.
From the first year onwards, I participated in Mediation Competitions, Client Counselling, Debating, as these do not require any prior substantial knowledge of law. I participated in moot courts and also tried my hand at writing research papers. I have also been associated with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Cell in the college since my first year.
All in all, I tried a bit of everything and every activity turned out to be an add-on to my skills. Our seniors were always welcoming and helpful in guiding us on how to go about participating in various co-curricular activities.
One can find it difficult to manage continuous evaluation through trimester exams, projects submissions, etc. in a law school. How did you manage to keep up your grades
I think continuous evaluation through trimester system is not as difficult as it may seem from the outside. After a point, you just get used to making projects and writing examinations every three months. It is just that one needs to be regular so that the projects or submissions do not get piled up and become unmanageable. Although, I am not the topper of the class but I managed to keep my grades consistently above average. I was not always attentive in the classes but still managed to sail through. Scoring good grades is not a very difficult thing I realised.
There is enough incentive to keep up your grades in a law school. Good grades are like cherry on the top. Sometimes, grades may even help you get through good internships.
You have published a lot of papers in various prestigious journals. Can you give us a few tips to ace the art of paper writing?
Research Papers are an integral part of any discipline. As law keeps evolving with time, there are always some loopholes or grey areas which need to be corrected. Mostly research papers aim at bringing out the fallacy in the law and suggesting the remedial measures. Therefore, I think that writing papers has a much broader relevance for a law student than just enhancing the CV.
There are two necessary things we should remember before writing a paper. First is choosing the right topic. The topic should be specific and should highlight an important point of law that needs consideration or analysis. Second is that there should always be a new proposition or suggestion at the end of the paper.
Rest, I think all law students know about the basics of researching. The more you read up, the better understanding you would have about the topic.
Your internships at law school have mainly been with top tier firms. Our readers would be quite curious to know how you went about securing these internships.
I was prompt in applying for the internships especially internships at law firms. Also, I made it a point to follow up with the HR to know about the status of my application. I also got through some of the internships through the Placement Co-ordination Committee of our College. I think the key is relentless punctuality.
I think there is nothing wrong with interning at law firms from the very beginning provided that you have made up your mind about joining one after college. I think it depends from person to person, if you are not sure which career option is best suited for you then it is better to try out all possible options and then make up your mind.
Did you plan out your internships throughout law school or did it all just happen by chance?
I did not plan my internships as such. I took up whatever came my way. The only thing that I made sure was that I get to work with different kinds of organisations be it- NGOs, Government Departments, Law firms or Office of Senior Advocates.
I think one should try and narrow down the options by start working with different kinds of organisation form the first year only.
How relevant did you find your law school education with the kind of work you were required to do at law firms?
I think what we are taught at the law school is very much relevant. The research and interpretation skills that we acquire at the law school help us through the internships.
How has your mooting experience been?
I am not a hard-core mooter. I did one International Law based moot court in my fourth year and one National Moot Court in my second year. The kind of in depth study and research that we undertake while preparing for Moot Courts is incredible and makes the whole effort worthwhile.
Although, I really liked mooting and it taught me a great deal, I found it very time-consuming. That is why I participated in a limited number of Moot Court Competitions.
You have been a member of multiple committees while in law school. Do you think these enhanced your skill-sets? Please share a few of your memorable experience.
I have been a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Cell (ADRC) form the first year itself. Mediation is one of my favourite areas of law and I enjoyed participating as well as assisting in organising Mediation Competitions as a member of the cell.
Recently, you secured a job offer at WIPRO. How did you go about achieving this? Please tell us about the recruitment process at WIPRO?
WIPRO had come down to our campus for the first time, for recruitment purpose. The process was divided into three stages: first of all, an extempore was conducted. Some of the candidates were eliminated at this stage. Next, there were two rounds of interviews with different panel of interviewers. While the focus of the first interview was personality assessment, the second was majorly limited to legal questions. After the two set of interviews, there was further short-listing. The selected candidates were given a written assignment which was to be submitted the next day i.e. the day of the final interview. The final interview only comprised of questions relating to personality assessment.
How did you prepare for the job interview? What kinds of questions were asked to you?
While preparing for an interview, it is of utmost importance to be thorough with your CV. Mostly, the interviewers ask you about areas of law that you have worked on in your internships and seldom about your publications or other co-curricular achievements. Therefore, reading up the topics that I had mentioned under my internship experiences was the first thing I did.
While making my CV, I made it a point to states the title of the work that was assigned to me on the internship (specifically mentioning the provision or name of any case law involved) leaving no scope for any vagueness or open-endedness. This way I was able to limit the number of probable questions.
The bottom-line is that most of the questions can be anticipated and prepared for well before. By doing so, you feel confident while articulating your answers during the interview.
Many law students strongly believe that getting a job at one of the top 3 law firms is mostly about securing a high GPA. Would you agree?
Good grades or co-curricular activities alone are not enough. It is a combination of the two that projects you as a dynamic lawyer. Maintaining grades is important as that is the core of law school curriculum but we should not limit ourselves to writing exams and securing good marks.
Many people believe that working as an in-house counsel affords more work-life balance and is less demanding. What is your opinion?
Compared to working at law firms, job of an in-house counsel is less demanding thereby it affords more work-life balance. However, one should always strive to achieve work-life balance irrespective of the nature of the job.
If you could re-live your 5 years in Law school, is there something you would do differently?
I do not wish to change anything about my time spent in the Law School. I think even the mistakes that I made eventually helped me improve in some way or the other.
Lastly, what would be your message for our readers?
I think we should never stop exploring because there is always a plethora of opportunities out there; we just need to have an open mind.