16th February, 2019: Alumni Connect 2.0 Organized by Informal Discussion Group, NLUO
The second edition of Alumni Connect was held on 16th February 2019 by the Informal Discussion Group of National Law University, Odisha. This event was presided by four alumni of the college, each now from different spheres of the law life – Mr. M.P. Srivignesh, an advocate at the Supreme Court of India; Praveen Shankar, a Metropolitan Magistrate at Jaipur; Ms. Karuvaki Mohanty, Program Analyst at iProbono India; Mr. Neeraj Lalwani, Senior Associate at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, New Delhi.
The event commenced by introductions of each of the four persons introducing themselves and telling about their respective fields. The event was divided into two sessions, initially for the 1st and 2nd years’ students, and secondly for the rest of the batches.
Mr. Praveen started off first by inquiring how many students are interested in the judicial services, and are aspiring officers, as he starts off the event on an informal note, perceiving the idea of an informal discussion well. He advises students of some tips and tricks on how to crack the examinations. Valuable advice such as that of prioritising interning with judges, and to target the states of which strategies might be similar. He further emphasised study of previous years’question papers and to stick to the same sources. By the fourth year of one’s law degree, one should study from notes. However, “padhnautna hi haijitna required hai”, and not to try to study from a perspective of mastery. Lastly, as is with any other field, focus is of utmost importance.
Ms. Karuvakitook the stage from there, and stated that there is no clear formula to the field of public policy. The interviewers in such organisations do not ask specific things, but basic knowledge, as they know that a graduate doesn’t know the work that is involved. One has to have basic knowledge of the Constitution and the essential acts. The interviewers judge you more on the ancillary questions, relating to work conditions, work ethic and similar, than the technical ones and want to see whether an employee stick to them or not.
Mr. Srivignesh, continues the trend, asking how many people would be interested in litigation, as he answers the most important question – no you don’t need a background to pursue litigation, but rather you need dedication and hard work. You do need contacts, but not the ones which your parent or your uncle gives you, but rather the ones which you make yourself. Additionally, moot courts are necessary for litigation – the way you research, the way you present yourself, and your confidence increases manifold. Similarly with internships, one may intern with any forum in the 3rd year, and focus on few trial courts towards the 4th year. Mr. Srivignesh emphasises on doing everything in law school to go for litigation. Everything will give you opportunities to learn. Lastly, he pleads the students to go and meet their alumni, wherever they are, imbibing a harmonious culture among the students.
Last but definitely not least, Mr. Neeraj talks about what a law firm job entails. First and foremost, basics are important, as is with all other professions. Brush up on your basics. The work culture and manner in which work is done might be old fashioned however in a law firm. He says that your CV should reflect your own thought, that if you want to work in a firm, show it. It’s like a sales pitch, not too much or it will annoy the customer, if too little then it won’t grab one’s attention. Whatever you’re practicing, you’re not expected to know it in and out, but at least know the basics.
The floor was further opened for discussion and questions.
A question was raised as to a day in the life of the guests. Mr. Praveen stated that there is going to be a lot of work, and that government jobs no longer have the lazy lifestyle anymore, that he handles 4-5 argument files, 2-3 orders and 1 judgement a day. You’re provided with amenities, security and respect, that very few jobs entail.
Another question was raised to Mr. Srivignes has to the what the pros and cons of a law firm versus a litigating lawyer are. He stated that it depends on what you need, that for some people money is important immediately, for others it may be work and they may be able to survive without money for a few years.
Lastly, the question was popped to Mr. Neeraj, what is the most rewarding aspect of your job? He stated that as with any other job, it depends on one’s requirements, and every firm offers something you need.
The event ended with a token of gratitude to the guests. All in all, the event was enriching and it was a pleasure for everyone to hear from one of their own.