Adarsh Somani-Partner at Economic Laws Practice (ELP) ANSWERS 10 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

ABOUT ADARSH SOMANI

Adarsh Somani is an Partner at ELP and part of firm’s tax practice. He is a Chartered Accountant and a law graduate from University of Rajasthan.

Adarsh assists several multinational and domestic companies in deploying tax efficient value chains in business. He has now been servicing clients for more than a decade. Adarsh inter-alia extensively focusses on Goods and Services Tax matters and tax policy issues. Adarsh’s skill sets also include contract structuring, negotiations as well as transaction advisory from a tax perspective.

Major industries for Adarsh include Pharma & FMCG, Financial Services, and retail businesses.

He is a regular speaker at tax conferences and conventions and has also co-contributed a paper on ‘Valuation and Classification under GST’ for ICAI in past. He regularly writes columns for various online and offline publications.

Prior to joining ELP, Adarsh has worked at BMR Advisors and Ernst & Young.

TOP 10 Questions that are most frequently asked by law students

1)Grades are important because the goal of grading is to evaluate individual students’ learning and performance. But some say that grades are not always a reliable measure for evaluating. What do you think the role of grades/CGPA is in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade received in college matter? What would you say to students who haven’t been able to get good grades/CGPA in college as many students fear that due to bad grades/CGPA they won’t be able to get jobs in top law firms or companies?

Adarsh Somani –” Grades aren’t the only thing important to say the least.  Grades, in my view, are a function of what you deliver on a given day, which could be a virtuous day or a tumultuous day.  The same, therefore, is no assessment of what you are on all other remaining days i.e. what your consistency is all about. 

Grades may, in a best-case scenario, aid placements but consider the fact that the A-listers also go through a rigorous process for assessment of ability, aptitude and attitude before being handed over a job. This followed by a periodic assessment of what they do on the job, which does not consider the academic grades at all. Accordingly, rate the relevance of grades yourself.

Legal profession requires academic risk taking, creativity and value conservation as well as addition.  One who succeeds in all these aspects is one who ends his career on a high.  That’s what the objective should be, commencing howsoever but definitely ending on a high.

And the good news getting even better; have seen the pattern of recruitments changing over past few years, where shortlisting of candidates is done basis several neutral parameters and grades do not constitute a significant part thereof.”

2)Students are often confused about what a good CV looks like which can attract the attention of employers. Many students even pay some organisations to make a good CV for them. You must have changed and updated your CV/Resume many times in your career and you must have even seen many CV/Resumes of students as well. What according to you is an ideal CV? And what is the difference between a rejected CV and an accepted CV? In simple words, what according to you does an employer try to look for in a CV? 

Adarsh Somani – ” My personal liking is something which is minimal and clear.  Always do include a personalized vision  statement in your CV, some recruitments happen only on basis of whether your goals are aligned to that of the potential employer.”

3)Today most of the law students are shifting towards corporate sector because of the big salary they would get initially. There is a notion among the law students that if you join a law firm or a company you will earn money faster than if you choose to work under a senior advocate in a court. What are your thoughts on the same? And what would you tell all those students?

Adarsh Somani -” This would be a question of what your career goals are?  Everyone in long run make the money they deserve to make so such short-sightedness is best avoided.  Every place, every person teaches you something, what would you relish in long run is something you should be clear about.”

4)In Law school there is a perception that the more the number of internships the better. Is it true? And many students feel that most of their friends get internships because of contacts and not merit due to which the students who truly deserve miss out. What would you say to them?

Adarsh Somani -” Having contacts and network is also a merit point (in some sense), so you focus on your strengths & merit points.  Emphasize on how can you increase your merit points, an illustrative way could be being a social media influencer regarding laws & legal profession, etc.”

5)During 12th standard, students come under this enormous pressure to crack entrance tests to get into top-tier law schools of the country but as we all know that due to limited seats everyone cannot get into it. What would you say to students who couldn’t make their way to the top law schools?

Adarsh Somani -” Am reacting through just one question, does everyone from top law school comes out with equal capabilities and achieve same highs? 

As a child, I remember that we were told that you focus on learning the skill and not location of your classroom or who your teacher is?  No one can teach you what you do not want to learn and no one can deny you what you want to learn.”

6)When you enter into law school there is a perception that you need to do moots and win moot competitions so that you can be a good lawyer in the future. Is it true? What would you tell the students regarding this, especially to students who haven’t or don’t want to participate in moots?

Adarsh Somani -” We may be talking about court craft here I assume.  The essential point being that each practice shall tune you up as a professional.  Use the opportunities to learn first-hand, by observation and basis the feedback you get. Winning is no more than cherry on the cake and it’s the cake that could be sold not the cherry on it.”

7)Nowadays there are enormous online courses present on the internet which are being sold. It is high time that Law schools should start analysing their syllabus/course structure so that students who are already paying law school fees, don’t need to additionally buy these online courses. What do you think? What would be your suggestions to Law schools?

Adarsh Somani – “The curriculum designed by law schools is typically to give students an exposure and flavour  of a variety of law, legal issues and litigation styles.  Law is all things art and hence, no curriculum would be perfect.  As students we should anxiously off take all that is being taught.

The online modules, paid or otherwise, seek to impart knowledge on a specific subject.  You should at best see this as another variety that one can learn rather than making case of FOMO.”

8)What do you think is the key difference between a student who is selected by a top-tier law firm/lawyer and a student who is rejected? What would be your advice to the students who are getting rejected again and again, with respect to what their focus should be on?

Adarsh Somani -” The student rejected has a goal to look up to, (s)he has the motivation & reason to work harder & smarter, (s)he will get the practical opportunities much faster, (s)he should, therefore, be thankful for the rejection as it landed her/ him an ocean to deal with & become wiser unlike those, who got selected are likely to deal with a small pool in a stereotype manner.

The suggestion for students, who get rejected by so called top-firms is to ensure that take up a job with anyone who has the willingness to help them learn.  It is an age old saying that not everyone gets the best product in the market and not everyone, who gets the best product may be happy with it. So do not envy your peers getting a fancy job, as even they may not know what are they even subscribing to!”

9)Students nowadays are very confused regarding the area of law they should choose. Even if they know their area of interest, they are getting confused on which one to choose because nowadays there is immense competition in the market and due to the rise of technology it creates uncertainty about the future of certain jobs. What would you say to the students?

Adarsh Somani- “ No one, absolutely no one starts and ends his legal career doing the same paraphernalia. A start choice should be made on two clear parameters – area of interest and the resolve  that you’ll give more than your 100% to the chosen one.

People evolve as professionals over the span of their careers, learn new skills, transform & adapt to changing environments and eventually deal on basis of how strong their roots and capabilities to decode the law the are.  Reflect on the matter that a comma appears the same to one and all and yet not everyone interprets it at par.  Given this, do not fret over what you start with, you will have to evolve on the go. “

10)What according to you is the most important life/career lesson you learned which every law student should know?

Adarsh Somani – “ I have two key lessons to quote instead.  Failures, aren’t bad thing, its timing is.  When you fail young, you have more time for correction and that too with life lessons learnt.  Failing at later stage of your career could be high stake, high profile and difficult to deal with (especially, if you have not know for long of what it means to fail).  The lesson in reckoning being start experimenting when still young and see yourself evolving in a big way.  Remember time gone, will never come back.

The other lesson that has remained with me is that, you can’t travel in two boats together.  Define your priorities, and let everything else take backseat. Have never seen an honest effort failing, if you get what it means and also, have never seen the jack of multiple of trades mastering anything. Set your vision and focus on it like Arjuna did on the fish-eye.”

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