LAW Schools Placements and Beyond

The aspiration to study in a law school is triggered by a myriad of motivations. For some, it is an opportunity for exposure to a hitherto unknown field of study; for some, it is a well-planned journey to a fixed destination; and for some, it is a means to an end. Whatever be one’s motivation, the time spent in a law school affords one ample opportunity to turn one’s aspiration into reality. The aspiration may get modified, re-imagined, or even replaced along the way: but it is important to remember that these are the effects of an institution that are, more often than not, necessary.

The recruitment process of a law school is not very standard and is very institution-dependent. However, that is merely a concerning procedure. The kinds of opportunities available to a graduating law school student are more or less the same, across colleges. The question is: how motivated are you to translate that opportunity into a tangible achievement? The advantage of being in a “better-ranked” law school is that it eases your journey, in terms of the resources at your disposal. 

Having said that, let’s briefly touch upon what we mean by “placements” in a law school and what transpires after that.

The recruitment process in a law school usually begins in the fourth year. Until then, one is expected to have worked as an intern at various organizations which include Chambers of Senior Advocates (Supreme Court or High Courts), offices of Advocates-on-Record, Law Firms, Corporate Offices, and Non-Government Organizations, among many others. The work experience, over some time, at any of the above-mentioned places tends to have a bearing on one’s chances of recruitment. The recruitments are handled by a “recruitment coordination committee”/ “placement committee” (the names may vary) which is either a completely student-run body or sometimes has a representative from the college administration.

The modes of recruitment are, broadly speaking, of the following types:

    1. ‘Day Zero’


This is the most popular and sought-after mode of recruitment. The reason for its name is that it happens at the end of the fourth year, just before the final year of law school. And the reason for its popularity is that the biggest law firms in the country (which are typically the highest payers) come down to law schools for selecting prospective associates. The law firms usually draw a shortlist from the list of students who submit their names for consideration. This is followed by a personal interview and/or a group discussion. At times, there is also an on-the-spot assignment (in the form of a case study). Based on an assessment of the student’s performance in these rounds, the interviewers make their selection and inform the recruitment committee which informs the selected candidates once the entire process has been completed.

The law firms which usually come down to law schools for ‘day zero’ are the following: Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Khaitan Co., Trilegal, J. Sagar Associates, and Luthra Luthra Partners. These are considered to be the ‘Big Seven’, due to their size and pay packages. The average salary offered by these offices ranges between 12 and 15 lakhs per annum. 

  1. Pre-Placement Offers(“PPO”)

In addition to being recruited through the Day Zero process, PPOs are another mode preferred by the students. Going by their name, PPOs are made to the students even before the Day Zero process begins. These are offers made to students who have interned at a particular office. Based on the performance of a student in one of her internships, the student is interviewed by the requisite office and if successful, is offered a position in the office. This process takes place a few months before Day Zero. 

The law firms which come down to campus for Day Zero also offer positions through the PPO process. In addition to the ones mentioned above, law firms such as S & R Associates, Talwar Thakore Associates, and Wadia Ghandy Associates also make PPOs. However, the number of offers made through a PPO process is usually fewer than that at Day Zero. In addition to law firms, there are other organizations  also where a student might have interned, that offer positions in this manner. 


  1. Throughout the final year

Once the final year of law school starts, more law firms, companies, and corporate organizations come to campus to select students for various positions. These organizations include public sector undertakings, government organizations, regulatory authorities, etc. Their manner of recruitment also comprises a shortlist process, followed by a personal interview and/or a group discussion. It might also consist of an on-the-spot assignment.

To name a few organizations which fall under this head: ICICI Bank, Deutsche Bank, Securities Exchange Board of India, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, National Thermal Power Corporation, and Star India.


  1. Overseas Placements

This avenue presents an attractive (and lucrative!) opportunity to law school students. However, the process for this is slightly longer than a regular job interview. Foreign law firms are the typical employers in this category and usually comprise Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, and Allen Overy. They accept applications from students with a consistently good academic record. Based on their shortlist, they conduct personal interviews followed by a legal assignment. If selected, the student is offered a vacation scheme which is like an internship at the law firm’s overseas office. This internship is like an assessment, at the end of which one is offered a training contract. It is the training contract that is more like a job offer.

The average salary offered by these foreign law firms ranges between 25 and 28 lakhs (converted in INR) per annum.

The pointers above describe the placement process for firms, companies, and government or non-government authorities. In addition to these, there are various other methods preferred by students which are dependent on their motives, for which there might not be a standard procedure. For example, to build a career in litigation, one student might start an independent practice by herself while another might join as a junior with a practicing advocate. Another might apply for a clerkship under a judge of the Supreme Court. The point is, that there are various routes available for arriving at the same destination.

Life beyond placements starts on a sweet note. Of course, there’s the attraction of remuneration, and a million ways one imagines spending it. But the sense of independence in managing one’s own life accompanied with the responsibility and accountability for one’s work is nothing short of a new chapter in one’s life. There are times when the chapter runs into pages but remember that you can always take a step back, pause and place a bookmark there: just remember to start from where you left.

Top 5 Career Options in Law

For a long, a study of law has been associated with a career in the courtroom. Representation in popular culture hasn’t helped much to debunk this myth: (mostly) men clad in black robes aggressively pontificating to a rather mute judge is the vision and understanding one has developed of the legal profession. However, in today’s age, the study of law opens many doors which are not just in the courtroom.


The quest for entry into a law school from the point of view of an immediate lucrative career opportunity is relatively new. Until not so long ago, students graduating from schools across the country were restricted to very traditional choices in higher education: either engineering or medicine, if immediate post-college monetary gratification was their motivation. However, the effects of the increasing rate of globalization and the entry of foreign players into the Indian market were seen in the legal profession too. So much so that as of today, students (and more so, their parents!) view education in law as a viable means to a well-paying job upon graduation.


Having said that, let’s look at some career opportunities that become available to you upon completion of a law school education.


  • A career in Corporate Law


This is one of the most attractive opportunities available to a young law graduate fresh from law school. It is attractive because it is lucrative, offering high-pay packages immediately upon graduation. This involves both, a law firm profession as well as an in-house legal counsel at a corporate.


Corporate law encompasses various fields – Capital Markets & Securities, Banking & Finance, General Corporate, Mergers & Acquisitions, among others. You need to be well-versed with statutory regulations governing one or many of the above-mentioned fields, but you tend to specialize in one of these. You work with a team of lawyers in a particular field and deadlines assume special importance. The interest of the client is paramount, and the work is heavily oriented and informed by the instructions of the client. 


As opposed to popular belief, there are avenues of litigation in this field also. Some teams work on Corporate Litigation, Arbitration, and Insolvency proceedings, to name a few.


1.Academics & Research



The advantage (or disadvantage for some!) of studying law is that you read a lot! This prepares you for a lifetime of reading, studying, and analyzing. An efficient way of channelizing this is to make this habit of reading a profession. And that’s where a career as an academic comes into the picture.


An academic is not always a teacher. Based on what area of law, or any interdisciplinary approach to the law you’re interested in, there are various spaces where you can pursue a career in research. This involves research positions in universities (both in India and abroad), think tanks, and policy organizations. Everyone wants someone with an in-depth understanding of legal provisions and issues and that is where an academic’s prowess is unmatched.


2.Judicial Services



If you think the law is a calling for life, then this is a bus you need to board. This is a secure governmental job with all the trappings of a bungalow, car, and other associated perks. If you’re the one who has always imagined the comforts of a government job, then this is the place to be.


The entry into this profession is by way of a judiciary exam which is conducted by every State, under the supervision of the respective High Court. You can appear for this examination fresh out of law school or even in the final year of law school. If you’re successful in this examination, then you become a member of the subordinate judiciary, i.e., you’d occupy the post of a presiding officer of a smaller court, right up to the District Court.


However, one can also appear for a judiciary examination after a few years of practice, usually seven. This one is for the higher judiciary, and upon qualification, one is immediately appointed as an additional district judge.


3.Civil Services


Appearing for the UPSC examination is also a very popular choice among law graduates. Having been subject to a rigorous academic schedule for five years prepares you well for another formidable examination, which is the UPSC examination. A study of law in law school does not only make you well-versed with the law but also subjects like history, political science, sociology, and economics, to name a few. All these subjects are often tested in the UPSC paper as well. Moreover, since the law is such an interdisciplinary area of study, your understanding of issues tends to become very well-informed, which is an important skill from the point of view of this examination as well.





Then, of course, we have the good old courtroom.


A career in litigation, in today’s time, has been radically transformed. Although the adversarial nature of the profession in the courtroom subsists and is a major feature of the same, there are other avenues also. Traditionally, you would join a senior advocate (or an advocate with some years of practice) as a junior in her chambers. You would assist the concerned advocate with research, drafting, briefing, and filing. Earlier, the practice was very individual-centric but now there are dedicated litigation firms, similar to corporate law firms. Till some time ago, one of the major concerns of law graduates who wanted to pursue this line was that this does not pay as well. However, with the establishment of such firms, the salary offered by them are comparable to some law firms.


Another route that a prospective litigator takes is going independent. If you are so motivated and resourceful, you can open your independent practice after having worked with someone for a few years. You can build on the clientele and the goodwill established through years of practice. And with a few more years of practice, the concern of not being so well-paid is also addressed. Lawyers, with a name and a robust practice, are always in demand.


The legal profession has existed for centuries. That is primarily because people have existed for centuries. As long as there are people, there are conflicts. And as long as there are conflicts, a lawyer’s expertise is never out of fashion!


CLAT Preparation, or any test preparation for that matter, can be broken down into 4 phases. Depending on the time available and your strengths and weaknesses, the duration could vary. Yet, the broad phases remain the same. These phases are Discovering, Foundation-building, Rehearsing, and Peaking.

The first phase is  DISCOVERY. During this phase, you do a lot of research on Law as a career option, your aptitude and interest, and the CLAT test structure per se. Most of you will visit websites, ask Google, visit some Clat Coaching institutes and ask friends or seniors. Some of you may also try a Diagnostic Test to figure out where you stand in each subject area. A few also try to speak with practicing lawyers to get a feel of the profession.

This is followed by a very elaborate phase of BUILDING THE FOUNDATION. Though you would have covered most of the subject areas and content in your school years, you will quickly realize that this phase is quite different! While the schooling process emphasized the process of solving the questions, the focus now is on getting the answer quickly. This is usually achieved by revisiting and strengthening the core concepts from multiple viewpoints. Arriving at the answer using multiple strategies is very critical.

As you approach the CLAT Exam Date, you would have already got good practice in theory by reading books, and notes and attending classes. This has prepared you well by giving a solid groundwork for the next phase, which we call as REHEARSAL phase. Just as an actor prepares by going through the lines many times before the actual stage performance, you must prepare well for the D-Day. Simulating the real test by giving Mock CLAT tests in a similar environment is critical. However, it is even more important to analyze your performance critically. As a ground rule, you should be spending about 2-3 times the time analyzing a test than writing it.

Past years’ CLAT papers are readily available and you must make a schedule for writing as many of them as possible. CLAT papers tend to repeat question formats and you will identify the popular ones while attempting them.

The final phase is of getting into a mental model of readying for the final performance. While the previous three phases are important, this final phase of PEAKING at the right time involves a lot of non-academic preparation as well. If you burn out early, you need to slow down in the final days. Some of the strategies that you should follow are similar to an athlete preparing for a marathon event. A few days before the race, you take strategic breaks and divert your pressured brain into relaxing things like a comedy movie or an outing with friends. You must also get more than enough sleep during the final lap.

We will discuss more of these phases as we go. But if you are already in the REHEARSAL phase for the upcoming Common Law Admission Test (CLAT), you must switch to going through the past years’ papers. Get in touch with your mentors and they might be able to help you get the most out of your time.

All the best with your preparation!

Law as a Career: What does graduating from a law school means?

Are you a science student in search of a rewarding career path? Are you a person:

  1. who did well in Class X and enrolled in the scientific stream as a natural choice? Because the majority of your friends in a comparable percentage range chose science, you followed suit. ‘Why science?’ was probably not a question that worried you at the time.
  2. Have never been excited about traditional professional alternatives such as medicine or engineering, but are unsure what to do after Class XII? Pure science graduation is almost always a no-no for you.
  3. Who wishes to follow your heart and do something that would provide you with enormous job pleasure over 25-30 years of active work life while maintaining a good lifestyle and social status?

If you fall into one of the categories listed above, the law is a career option you should seriously explore. The two most critical elements for success in any career route are “aptitude” and “attitude.” Here are some statistics to help you decide if the law is the right career for you.

It is common knowledge that a legal career is no longer restricted to litigation. Increased corporate complexity, as a result of liberalization, has opened up a plethora of fascinating job opportunities for law graduates, including legal consulting, specialized sectors such as taxation, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, and so on. Legal journalism, legal process outsourcing, and the judiciary are among the non-traditional solutions that are gaining traction in the legal community. Does it pique your interest?

Established lawyers are rising in social stature and enjoying a better quality of life. They follow a simple motto: ‘Do what you WANT, not what you CAN.’ As a result, people have mostly chosen this occupation rather than being forced into it. Does it strike you as motivational?

Let’s take a look at what successful lawyers have in common:

  1. They’re voracious readers.
  2. They have a high level of logical reasoning.
  3. They pay close attention to the smallest of details.
  4. Their communication abilities are excellent.

Academically strong kids, on the whole, have good reading skills. Their inherent strength is logical reasoning. Communication skills and attention to detail are primarily innate qualities that can be honed with deliberate effort. It’s no surprise that science students account for about 40% of students in top NLUs. Do you have what it takes?

The Common Law Admission Test, or CLAT, is a stepping stone to some of the most prestigious National Law Universities, which provide five-year integrated law programs. CLAT does not require any prior subject knowledge of any stream chosen after Class X because it is an aptitude examination. Science students are thought to have a high aptitude level and are thus as good rivals for CLAT preparation as any other stream.

Finally, you want to be acknowledged as a successful lawyer and alumnus of a prominent law school a few years down the road to building your reputation. It won’t make a difference if you studied humanities, commerce, or science for two years after Class X.