Akriti Shikha- Associate at HSA Advocates ANSWERS 5 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS OF LAW STUDENTS

ABOUT AKRITI SHIKHA

Akriti Shikha is a law graduate from Symbiosis Law School, Pune and has been extensively working in the field of Dispute Resolution. She has interned at various top tier law firms in India such as Khaitan & Co., Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, AZB & Partners, Nishith Desai Associates and many more. She began her career with L&L Partners, Mumbai, in 2018.  Her primary practice area is dispute resolution (litigation). She has represented the firm’s clients across fora, which involved appearing in and arguing matters before Courts and Tribunals, research, drafting and drawing up pleadings, submissions, notices, briefing and assisting Senior Counsels. She is currently an Associate at HSA Advocates, Mumbai.

5 MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 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?

Akriti Shikha-“ There is no doubt that law school grades are important and play a vital role when recruiters (especially law firms) consider while offering an individual a job after earning their law degree. I think the grades are an initial evidence to judge an individual as a potential candidate and are used to screen through candidates and decide which students to interview. However, not getting good grades does not mean that one will not succeed in their legal career. Internship/ work experience, soft skills, networking, interview session and other factors are just as critical as grades are to one’s career. For some students, good grades will assist them in their pursuits, whereas for others, networking/ other factors will be the skeleton key. However, a well-rounded CV will get their feet in the door, both in law firms as well as companies.”

2)Students are often confused about what a good CV looks like which can attract the attention of employers. 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? How do you think one should go about writing a CV when one is applying for a job?

Akriti Shikha-“ CV is a short account that you provide on who you are, what you did, and what you plan on doing for your career. Having a strong CV will get you noticed by the recruiters and help you to seek the interview you deserve. There is no such ideal CV that works for all, but an attempt should be made to answer, ‘Why should we hire you?’ and that you are perfect fit for the position. One should take utmost care while preparing the CV since that would create the first impression on the recruiters. Certain suggestions to create an interview-winning CV are:

  • The CV should be 2 pages long (maximum).
  • It should highlight your educational and additional qualifications, internships experience, academic achievements, moots participation, publications, and extra-curricular activities.
  • Avoid providing too much personal information.
  • Do not forget to run a spell check on your CV and make sure the formatting is uniform throughout. “

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?

Akriti Shikha-“ The question on whether to work with a law firm or in a company or under a senior advocate would depend on the individual’s area of interest and their career objectives. Each one has its own merits and requires a slightly different skillset. The notion of having a big pay-check may seem alluring to many initially, however, what is important is that the work must give you a sense of professional and personal fulfilment. One eventually realises that challenging work, work culture, collaborative environment, some creative perks etc. are relevant considerations for you to stick around.

For a lawyer who just started his career in litigation, carving out space for him as a litigating lawyer can be tough due to the fact that for beginners, the earning is extremely low. But for ones who are truly passionate about it, you never know, you may become a great future counsel in the country! For the ones who seek to work in a law firm or a company, the pay packages are comparatively enormous, but the question remains on whether you would like to work in the office which may demand fourteen-to-sixteen-hour workdays, six to seven days a week, in the long run. In the end, the aim should be to get the success that you truly deserve, and each person has to discern what is their definition of success, and then understand the skills you need to achieve it. Some people define it in terms of money and the car that you drive, while others define it in terms of the respect you get from the bar and the bench, and there are numerous other criteria you could posit. “

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?

Akriti Shikha-“ I think that the ‘depth matters more than the width’. The quality of the legal internships benefits the students in multifarious ways and would be more meaningful than the number of internships undertaken by them. It is the lessons you learn during the internship that makes the difference.

Building contacts and networking is definitely a great way to land internships. To know who truly ‘deserves’ is a debatable question and whether you get the internship on merit or through reference, either ways, you need to simply work hard during the internship period, depending on which you may be offered a pre-placement offer. “

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

Akriti Shikha -“ There is not just one important life/career lesson, but a few:

  • Figure out what you want to do in your career and, if possible, plan your every move around it.
  • Work hard but play hard too.
  • Choose your career wisely. If you love what you do, you will do it well and effectively.
  • You always pass failure on your way to success.
  • Keep reading and stay updated with the current news and events. You never know when it might come to your aid, after all, a lawyer is required to think on his feet.”

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