ANANT GUPTA-CEO & CO-FOUNDER, MEMO PUNDITS ANSWERS 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

ABOUT ANANT GUPTA

Anant graduated from National Law University Odisha in 2016. Throughout his 5 years of law school, Anant remained an active mooter with a considerable number of achievements to his name. His team was adjudged as the “Runners Up” at the NUJS Herbert Smith Corporate Law Moot.

He worked with the Banking Law team of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co. for 2 years and also gained business certifications from Harvard Business School. After which he realized that entrepreneurship is better-suited to his interests and skills. He took a leap of faith and founded 2 startups – Memo Pundits, the ed-tech startup, and Infinite Detours, a high-end trekking startup for travelers across the world.

Memo Pundits is India’s first Mooting School for law students, founded in 2014 by Anant Gupta and Rachnendra Tripathi. It is a unique platform which imparts knowledge in the field of mooting. What sets it apart is its teaching methodology, which is far from traditional Indian online courses. All online courses are based on the Harvard University’s “Active Learning” model, which makes sure that learning is always fun!

Having conducted over 70 webinars, Anant’s vision is to reach all in need of guidance. He is also the recipient of an Under 30 National Award for being an inspiring entrepreneur in the ed0tech industry.

TOP 5 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 grade/CGPA in a law student’s career? Up to what extent does a grade got 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?

Anant Gupta- ” In most scenarios, the importance of grades come from the fact that it is one of the quickest yet uncomplicated yardsticks to evaluate a candidate within minutes. However, grades are relevant the most while applying for the first job. The majority of good lawyers no longer know or care about their grades. Clients and employers judge lawyers mainly by the work they do and the outcomes they show.  It can be a plus going to IV leagues or a top NLU, or being a gold medallist in the batch, but it has no bearing on job or clients.

So, if someone applied for a scholarship to study at a prestigious foreign law school, grades could be significant, but only when applying for the first job; after that, it’s all about the lawyer’s efficiency. Employers usually assess applicants by assigning trial assignments, analysing connections and recommendations, and assessing the quality of work performed before making a hiring decision. This how they guess the potential of a typical candidate. So even if they do a mistake and hire someone who is undeserving, they get fire within a few months as it is fairly easy for them to spot the unskilled.

As a result, more often than not, people with low grades routinely outperform others simply on the basis of their abilities and track record. If a student has not earned a satisfactory score, they should commit more time and effort to learning practical skills through internships, preferably long-term ones. Many law firms take in law students with low grades, train them in skills, and polish them up so that they can get decent jobs. So correctly prioritize.”

2)Many students normally have a fear that since they are 1st generation law students their journey would be more difficult than a student whose parents are lawyers. What is your take on it and what would you say to them?

Anant Gupta- ” In law school, a misguided first-generation lawyer faces a slew of challenges. Most of them now lack sufficient knowledge of how law as a practice maintains financial stability and sufficient profits. In certain cases, references are more important than hard work, particularly when there is no proper guidance, as every senior is not always accurate with their advice and suggestions. Furthermore, most applications go unanswered because they were submitted directly to HR divisions at law firms without any references, due to a lack of understanding of how the legal profession functions. The costs of attending law school, which are a financial burden for many students and their parents, are at the top of the list. To summarize, the most significant challenges are economical, academic, and social.

There are a few tactics to choose from at this stage. To begin, one must accept the challenges and mentally prepare to close the “readiness gap.” Students should not be afraid to go out and clear their questions through on-campus advising committees that guide students through various challenges. Students should make an effort to make a positive impression and receive letters of recommendation from places they interned or worked for. Always strive to work hard and smart. Avoiding trouble areas have never benefited anybody, so everyone can take the time to work it out while retaining discipline and respect. Then, for those who are experiencing financial problems, keeping an eye out for scholarships on and off campus should be a top priority. That job can be handled through diligent internet searches and career counselors. Also, before applying for a student loan, one should do extensive research into the whole process, from seeking professional advice to evaluating one’s own circumstances to making repayment plans. A lot of students mistake loans as an investment rather than a debt.

But, in the middle of it all, students must maintain their spirits and not be defeated or scared by the obstacles. All should be proud of all of their hard work and preparation that went into producing the results and networks that they did. Of course, mental health should be prioritized, and it’s normal to feel stressed and human, but no one should question or discredit their achievements. A lot of people have made it, others will too.  “

3)Today most of the law students are shifting towards cooperate 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?

Anant Gupta- ” A law degree can lead to a variety of careers, including science, education, government jobs, banking, and finance, among others. The legal profession is divided into two major categories: corporate law and litigation. Making a decision between these two practice areas is crucial because it will have a significant effect on the future. Most people make this decision before enrolling in law school, but students should still keep the possibility of revaluation in mind.

Litigation is a field where you can test your abilities in order to gain notoriety. It gives you a large sum of money, but only after a few years of proper establishment. It gives individuals the freedom to make their own decisions, such as who they work with, how much they charge, and what area they practice in. There’s something exciting about solving practical problems, and it also gives them a lot of admiration. Furthermore, since litigators operate all year, their compensation is unaffected by economic fluctuations. However, the profession’s biggest drawback is its sluggish speed. Litigators who are only starting out are underpaid, have a difficult time finding clients, work as hard as they can when looking for work, persuade clients, and deal with a lot of rudeness and irritating phone calls.

Now in case of working in a law firm, a lawyer directly enters into a clear, strong, and unified company culture who have a well-established business that gives a hefty sum of money straight from the beginning. Therefore, all the work in building a place for oneself is not required. In corporate there is also a stability and assurance of job, which is basically fixed if one keeps working well. Now, when a lawyer works in a law firm, he or she enters into a simple, solid, and cohesive company culture with a well-established business that pays a large amount of money right away. As a consequence, no effort in constructing a place for oneself is needed. There is also job security and stability in the business sector, which is practically guaranteed if one performs well. Their work is often influenced by the state of the economy, as job availability is decreased when the economy is poor. There is also less communication with colleagues due to all the formal work.

Hence, both have their own pros and cons to deal with. Furthermore, there are middle-ground options such as general commercial litigation, which includes almost any form of business dispute, including breach of contract, relationship conflicts, business torts, and so on. At the end of the day, it’s just about asking oneself the right questions and getting truthful answers about what they are capable of, they you want to do, and what is the core reason behind these choices as certain practice areas attract certain personalities. So, everyone needs to assess themselves, their interest, qualification, work-ethic, and mindset before setting a goal and start working on it.”

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?

Anant Gupta- ” A law school internship is key for several reasons keeping aside the general expectation and BCI’ regulations. It aids the process of building on one’s existing knowledge and converting it to practical skills through extensive training and practice by being put into real situations with real clients. It facilitates education while growing the chances of landing a good job later.

Students in their early semesters are encouraged to do simple internships , even if they can pull-off a big one through connections, as it would be redundant due to a lack of legal expertise. So students mostly go for  internship with a non-profit organization and an internship with a trial court. NGO internships highlight how law can make a difference in the lives of the poor, and they are often the only option available because large firms do not accept students in their first or second years. A trial court internship offers a more realistic image of legal practice and teaches the essential skills required to be a successful lawyer. Also, small firms do take in such students often which gives them their first corporate work experience. The focus should be on exploring various fields of law, careers, and work settings in short periods to get a taste.

After that comes the time to narrow down focus and make selective and strategic choices to suit one’s goal. But even if a student is confused at this point, no need to lose it. There are plenty people who have broken norms and gotten into big firms without a lot of internships or have joined their dream law firm only to quite in months. But that is not an excuse to slack off. After that, it’s time to narrow one’s focus and make strategic and selective decisions in order to achieve one’s target. However, even if a student is puzzled at this stage, there is no need to stress excessively. Many people have defied the odds and gotten into major law firms without doing several internships, and there are also individuals who have entered their dream law firm only to leave after a few months. So, the strategy goes like this; explore then invest (work, energy, and time). This does not equate to the highest number of internships, but rather to their quality. The argument is that making concerted effort over a five-year period, doing the work rather than overthinking, getting uncomfortable with oneself, and making wise decisions should be good enough.”

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?

Anant Gupta- ” My first response here will be that in the long-run, it really does not affect one’s career. There is no doubt that NLUs have become the most influential movement and a major step forward in the development of legal education in India, bringing supreme infrastructure, ambition, global outlook, outreach, glamour, and, of course, recruitment. These advantages cannot be denied. But most of it is true only for the top 5-6 NLUs. The secret is that any law student can adopt the NLU model by implementing those concepts to their own lives, and embark on a journey to becoming an exceptional lawyer. I have seen such results myself while training both NLU and non-NLU students through Memo Pundits.

There are a few thresholds that a law school should pass to realistically better their performance. If campus recruiting is taking place and people are being recruited, the issue will be solved to a large degree. Despite the fact that some major Indian law firms take pride in recruiting from top law schools and batch toppers, several other recruiters also welcome students who intern for a long time with them. An ambitious environment is non-negotiable. Law schools, where students are highly competitive and function in a close-knit fraternity on a small campus, lift their standards of themselves to the point where they go out of their way to accomplish the things they are intend on accomplishing, such as internships, jobs, moots, as well as other activities. People are often jolted out of their stupor while they are in a competitive environment.

Another substantial factor is the exposure provided; through extremely esteemed individuals teaching, taking webinars, and interacting with students in institutions. There is also the factor of institutional memory at work which stresses on recruitment driven campus culture focused on mentoring, internships, deliberate branding, strong student bodies, events and recruitment committees, strengthening the community bonds and, as a result, success.

So, if a law school is providing all these goodies, then there is no need to search for the NLU batch. And above all, anyone can rise from any place, it’s all a matter of work, luck, and networking!”

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