So you have secured an entry into a law school! Congratulations!
You have begun a fascinating new journey and as a companion along the way, I want to present you with this little book.
The ever widening chasm between the haves and the have-nots is visible in every area of life and in every part of the world. This chasm is also visible amongst the students from the few elite law schools and the majority of law students hailing from the traditional law schools in India. Barring the top national law schools in India, most law school students do not necessarily have the guidance that they need on their law school journey.
There is a lot of information available in the market on different aspects of law school but not in a systematic way. Also, most of the information out there on different aspects of law school is not presented in a way that may address the issues that students face. Here are some of the pertinent issues and questions that the available information must answer. Let us start with internships. Where should one apply for internships –?to a top-notch law firm in the second year or stick to the tradition of NGO first, then a District Court internship, then High Court and so on and so forth?
Similarly for moots? — Is it okay to target a top-tier moot right in the first year or is it better to develop some skill sets, win a small moot and only then go for the biggies such as Jessup, Manfred Lachs and Henry Dunant, to name a few?
To fill up these knowledge gaps in the information available on all aspects of law school, each one of us needs to be proactive?– ?to do our bit and share information and insights that may help others in their own journeys.
This book is neither a comprehensive account nor a final word on the law school life. It is written with knowledge gained in hindsight from my own law school journey of eight years, in the hope that it may shed light on the path for those who set out for law school. I wrote this book because I wanted to share what I have learned, to help the coming generations of law students to see farther and achieve more than I did at the end of law school.
While each student has a unique journey depending on his/her own values, preferences and expectations, seeing these questions through the prism of an insider’s experience is beneficial to debate the pros and cons of his/her own approach.
In the end, it is not about making the right choice, but it is about making an informed one. And that’s where this book hopes to come in handy.
In addition, this book intends not just to give information on planning different aspects of law school life, but also to provide the necessary inspiration required to sail through it. In reading this book, you may find yourself better equipped, not only to graduate through your law school but to do so with elan and panache. If this book helps you fulfill your destiny in any way by being your companion through your law-school journey, then my purpose of writing this book is served.
We need to push our individual and collective yardstick as a law community in India. If the people of this country are to restore their faith in the Indian legal system, each one of us need to strive for excellence. At the most fundamental level, we need to produce lawyers who have gone through world-class legal training, who are able to look at the legal system and expedite its reformation process. India’s legal system has to correspond to its people’s global ambitions. For doing this, we need a more community-based approach to understand and solve the problems of our legal system. Our duty is just not to ensure that our children are enrolled in law school. But it is to ensure whether our children make the most of their time at law school and emerge as a strong and well-trained law community of law students. While institutional reforms and overhaul of the legal education in India is the need of the hour, each one of us need to contribute towards this process of reformation. One way of doing this is to share our experiences so that future generations of law students can build upon it. This remains the main motivation to have penned down this book.
More than anything, this book intends to be a living document, one that several people can build upon in generations to come. This book is based on my experiences, limited as they are, but there are several people out there who have lived a wonderful law school life and have made the most of it. This book invites them to share their perspectives, to share what they have learned, so that together we can inspire law students to settle for nothing but their own best versions.
Read this book as you like, either from the beginning to the end or going straight to the chapters that matter to you the most. But, returning to some of the pages and tips over a period of time may be insightful in ways that it wasn’t before. Sometimes when you have read a chapter, and are returning to it later, you may just skim through the rectangular boxed text, which highlights the most relevant points from the text. Also, the key messages, which are placed in inward pointed box, could be written on paper and pasted on your wall. These will help you find your way, when you find yourself lost. Keeping your eyes fixed on the goal is the key and these messages will act as your guidepost along the way.
You may pick up this book at any stage of your law school journey?– when you are contemplating joining a law school, or on your first day of law school journey, or when you are already mid-way through law school, or if you have recently graduated. I hope that irrespective of the stage of your law school journey, you will find something herein that resonates with you. And if it does, do write to me.
Thanks to my own journey from a small town in Madhya Pradesh (Harda) to a Bachelor’s degree in law from Hidayatullah National Law University (HNLU, Raipur) with eight gold medals, to two different Masters in law from the University of Oxford (UK) and Harvard Law School (US), I firmly believe that each one of us can make our dreams come true. If we have the will to dream, the determination to give it all we have, and the faith to carry on till we get “there”, success is ours! When I started my law school journey, I had no one I could turn to for guidance. I hope that this book changes this fact for you. May you start where I stopped and make India and the world proud.
— Avani Bansal
31 October 2019
A first of its kind which will help you to decide if you wish to study law and become aware of your own motivation. Don’t skip the annexures, they will guide you for a long time to come. Written in a racy readable style reflecting the personality of the multi-tasking author
—Indira Jaising, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court
An instructive guide on the prospective experiences that one is likely to encounter while studying law and the choices that graduates must negotiate with soon after. Engaging, accessible and filled with anecdotes from her own experiences, this compendium offers well-meaning and tested advice for anyone contemplating a career in law. Immensely useful.
—Shashi Tharoor, MP
A must-read for every law student on day one at a law school. Every law aspirant needs to read this to understand life at a law school. This book will guide them appropriately to attain excellence at a law school for a rewarding career in law. Sincere appreciations to the author who had been a role model at the law school. I take immense pride in being her teacher.
—Prof. Sanjeevi Shanthakumar, Vice-Chancellor, Gujarat National Law University
My first anguish after reading the manuscript was that Avani should have been my senior at law school, which could have fast-tracked my career graph! It is a lucid, non-legalese, smart book that clears the clutter and will launch the law school aspirant’s ambitions as a practitioner, educationist, activist, jurist and policy wonk. It does come not just from a smart author but importantly from someone with experiential learning and proving to be a successful lawyer, motivational speaker and public policy enthusiast. Simply a “must” as a personal copy for not only those who are pursuing law but also for all law school aspirants.
—Prof. V. C. Vivekanandan, Vice-Chancellor, Hidayatullah National Law University
For someone who is looking for an effective mentor, I would say this book is the perfect one. It has been very meticulously written, takes a broad view of things, and yet goes down into the specifics for the more essential topics. Overall it makes for easy reading, and I would recommend every law student looking to make the most of their law school experience to get hold of a copy.
—Manish Tiwari, Advocate, MP, Former Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting
A first-hand practical guide for systematically shaping the five long years at the law school. It answers the common doubts and questions law students have over the course of their education. It’s like having an amazing advisor beside you, helping you in making intelligent decisions along the way. Right from mooting to networking, this book covers everything that a law student needs. A must-read for those aspiring to be in law schools or beyond!!
—Prof. G.S. Bajpai, Registrar, National Law University, Delhi