CURIOSITY KILLED THE PLAN
By Tiya Parmar
In a world as crazy and competitive as ours, people are under tremendous pressure to define their career paths as soon as possible, because while passion and creativity can be the driving forces, skill and preparation make the structure sturdy. They help in passing all the exams and tests thrown our way, in completing our degrees from the best possible colleges and just being more confident, overall.
So read on to hear (and possibly learn) from Nichola, a law student at ILS. She is an avid reader, cook, and a pretty ordinary extraordinaire (in her words, not mine). In this interview she shares with us her journey and motivations and hopefully some helpful tips about preparing for a career in law.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE LAW?
Law is one of those subjects that has a relevance to almost each and every field and yet we are so in the dark about it. There are so many laws that govern and affect our daily interactions and activities, from using the internet to driving, so I was very curious about it. I also did a lot of state level debates during my graduation and there was this one event that was organised by law college. The topics would emphasize the legal aspects, a bit. Also, the students who participated in this debate were law students, mostly. Their perspective and take on the topics was interesting and it really piqued my interest.
WHAT KIND OF LAWYER DO YOU ASPIRE TO BE?
I have been involved with NGOs for a year, so I am leaning towards human rights activism. But then again at the end of my course I might end up choosing something else. It’s because each semester we learn something new and that is when you realise that maybe I'm good at this and maybe I'm not. However, I’m sure that I will do something in criminal law.
HOW DOES A DEGREE IN LAW WORK?
After 12th, there is an integrated five year course- B.A LLB or B.B.A LLB. The first two years is the normal B.A or B.B.A program and then from the third year the legal studies begin. Another way to go about it, is to complete your graduation and then do the LLB course. Then it is a three year course, after graduation, instead of a five year course. That is what I did. I did my bachelors in literature, thinking I will become a journalist or something, but then I wanted to do law, so I applied at ILS (Indian Law Society).
WHAT IS ILS LIKE?
Very different from what I was used to. Prior to this I was at Wadia’s for five years and I was used to how it worked, but the atmosphere here is so starkly different. People come from various backgrounds, as they've all done their graduation in different subjects.There are just so many people who are driven and passionate about so many different things. One of my friends has done research work in pharmacy and another classmate has been to IIM Lucknow, established a company and is now doing law. I know people from my class who have worked in the IT field. It sounds very cliche but the saying ‘age is just a number’ is so very true. Some people I know have 15-25 years of experience in a field and then they are like ‘NO. Now I want to do law’. ILS also provides a lot of exposure and is very vibrant. There is always some or the other event going on.
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS GOING INTO ILS AND HOW WAS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE REALITY?
There is so much stereotyping about the Indian education system, that I honestly expected the worst. That’s why I was amazed to find that the toilets were clean! Because that is a huge problem faced in so many institutes. Other than that, there are truly so many amenities available, especially the library. It is so beautiful! Starting at ILS, I was curious and had many questions and doubts regarding certain applications and topics that I wanted to read further on, and there was so much material available at the library. That truly helped me to learn and ask more in-depth questions. Even during the lockdown we were able to access a lot of material online for classes and stuff.
OTHER THAN ILS WHAT OTHER UNIVERSITIES SHOULD ONE LOOK AT FOR A DEGREE IN LEGAL STUDIES?
Straight after 12th, you should look for NLU’s. There are ranking lists online for NLU’s, it obviously keeps changing a lot but there are some you can never go wrong with, like the one in Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, Nalsar. These are outside maharashtra. Within Maharashtra, probably GLC ( Government Law College), DES college, Symbiosis and obviously, ILS. There are a lot more options for good colleges after 12th.
WHAT IS THE ADMISSION PROCESS FOR ILS?
You need to give a CET exam, which is for the state. For the five year course you can give either CET or CLAT. CLAT scores are accepted all over the country. At ILS, they have started accepting CLAT only recently.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU PREPARE FOR CET?
I had political science as a subject, so I was pretty acquainted with some of the legal and constitutional topics already. Then I just started reading and going through the general knowledge topics and the news around 5 months before the exam. My main preparations started 2 months before the exam, but at that time I was studying pretty intensely, like around 5 hours a day. So,I would advise people to not leave things for the last moment. But even with the people I met, the maximum prep time was 7-8 months. One thing that phased me during the end of my preparations was that I hadn’t solved many sample papers, because here’s the thing when you read a paragraph about a topic, it is really hard to determine what is the information that truly matters. However, when it comes to you in the form of an MCQ the information is very precise and concise. So it is pretty important to solve mock
WHAT RESOURCES DID YOU USE TO PREPARE FOR CET?
There is a lot of material online, videos on youtube, online classes,etc. There are websites for competitive exams that provide sample papers and previous years’ question papers. Also topics like GK, logical reasoning, english are common to almost all exams and so there is a lot of free material available on these topics online.
WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING PART OF THE EXAM FOR YOU?
Time management. Especially with the logic related questions. They look seemingly harmless and innocent, and you want to answer them, you know you can answer them, but sometimes they demand time you do not have. Learning how to let go of such questions is very important. They will just eat up your time and then the pressure of performing in a time limit, which is already there, also increases.
IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR STREAM THAT STUDENTS SHOULD TAKE IN 11TH AND 12TH IF THEY WANT TO PURSUE LAW?
No, not really. Law is a subject that is related to almost all other fields. So you can take law coming from any background. But, if you are taking law after 12th you may want to take maths as a subject, or atleast brush up on your 9th-10th maths, as the CLAT exam has a maths section.
ANY OTHER TIPS FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT TO PURSUE LAW?
If you're passionate about it then go for it. It is a very dynamic and diverse field. The areas it covers is pretty much unlimited and you are likely to encounter it somewhere or the other in your daily life.
COMMENT DOWN BELOW WHICH FIELD ARE YOU INTERESTED IN.