Your first internship or job outside of law school is an important stepping stone to shaping your legal career. For many, it’s the first opportunity to apply the valuable skills they learned in the classroom to real life. That’s why getting it right is crucial.
If you’ve decided to kick-start your career by seeking employment in the offices or “chambers” (as they are officially called) of a senior Supreme Court attorney, you probably know you have your work cut out for you.
According to the Bar Council of India, less than 1% of all registered lawyers are senior lawyers. In a country of about 2 million lawyers, only about 400 are appointed as lead attorneys by the Supreme Court.
It is therefore clear that you aspire to work with an extremely small and elite group of professionals – the cream of the legal profession and the most eminent legal experts in India today. They are trailblazers in their respective fields – lawyers who are at the forefront of the Indian judicial system, often leading crucial cases and inspiring landmark judgments.
Getting an internship opportunity or a job with a senior lawyer is by no means easy, but if you can get your foot in the door, it will open up a wealth of career opportunities for you.
Here are three tips to increase your chances of working in the offices of a prominent and seasoned lawyer.
1. Stand out:
When you apply for a coveted position, the competition will likely be filled with strong candidates. The challenge is to stand out. Differentiate yourself from the competition right from the application process. Remember that every applicant is different and each application has its own story. Do your best to ensure your story has a strong, individualistic voice.
Let it be known that you are determined to pursue excellence, that you are enterprising and that you seek opportunities in unlikely places, and that you make full use of your resources.
While writing a strong CV is essential, keep an eye on the calendar and apply well in advance, often six to eight months before the period you are applying for, as these coveted slots are usually filled months on end. ‘advance.
2. Match your area of specialization:
In today’s competitive legal job market, it is often recommended (as I just did) that students seek to differentiate themselves and have a focused career strategy. Concentrations and areas of specialization are a great way to do this.
If you’ve already identified an area of specialization, look for a position that matches that of a senior attorney — or identify a senior attorney who has been a pioneer in that field — so you’re better prepared to advance your career. . When applying for this position, be sure to highlight your academic and extracurricular efforts to prepare for the role.
For example, if you are looking to specialize in technology law in the future, mention your accomplishments related to the field while in law school.
If you have worked in your law school’s science and technology journal, and because of that, you are familiar with legal and policy issues regarding legislation, patent applications, international copyright, fintech, artificial intelligence or data privacy, be sure to highlight these accomplishments as a path to your specialization.
3. Sharpen your interpersonal skills:
Even though you may be the brightest person in your law class, don’t underestimate the importance of interpersonal skills – communication skills, adaptability, time management, and conflict resolution, among others.
In your day-to-day tasks, speaking well is crucial, whether it’s writing a cohesive memo or simply being able to effectively explain your needs on a particular task to a team member.
As part of a senior attorney’s team, you will need to establish a working relationship with a wide network of stakeholders – other interns and colleagues, court reporters, court assistants, administrators, paralegals and court judges.
You must be able to see things from another person’s perspective, ask questions or seek out resources when needed, and respect everyone’s time and perspective.
To develop these skills, take advantage of teamwork and leadership programs. For example, LSAC Global’s Justice League program empowers law students to serve as ambassadors and represent their law school’s vision, while enhancing their leadership and creative skills. At the same time, don’t neglect your networking skills. Build relationships with faculty, classmates, and alumni, and be on the lookout for organizations that offer networking and mentorship opportunities.
Much of the practice of law is learned by observing other legal professionals. As an intern or employee of Supreme Court Senior Counsel, you can gain immeasurable experience in researching, writing, and observing the courtroom. Prepare ahead of time, sharpen your focus, and make the most of the opportunity of a lifetime. A rewarding career awaits you!
– Article by Yusuf Abdul-Kareem – Vice President of Emerging Markets at the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
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