Taresh Bakshi on his journey to secure a training contract with Linklaters London

Mr Taresh Bakshi is a fifth year student, from Symbiosis Law School (SLS) Pune who has secured a training contract with Linklaters London. He is the first student from Symbiosis Law School, to secure a training contract post a vacation scheme. Linklaters is a magic circle law firm, and it gives such opportunity to very few people in the whole of India in a year.

In this interview, Taresh will enlighten us on his journey. The interview is being conducted by Nipun Bhatia, EBC/SCC Online Student Ambassador, who is a fourth year law student at SLS Pune.

 

  1. Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Hi, thanks for this opportunity. Great to talk to you today.

My name is Taresh Bakshi and I am a final year student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune. I hail from Himachal Pradesh (currently in Dharamshala). As a law student, I have been interested in mooting, debating, and quizzing but when law school gets rigorous, I love watching movies and TV shows, and solving crosswords (Go, Will Shortz). During the past year, I have tried to get back to reading (strictly non-legal), and with some free time at my hand, I am (trying to) learn to cook and learn a new language. I am scheduled to join the London office of Linklaters in September 2023 as a trainee solicitor.

 

  1. So, you must have started with an internship in the Linklaters LLP, what about them intrigued you to apply there? When did you decide to apply there?

Yes, I had a two-week clerkship (as it is formally called) with the London office of the firm. The scheme was virtual, as opposed to the usual physical scheme at the London office, due to the pandemic.

As I navigated law school, I found commercial law and transactional domain to be quite interesting and something I wanted to build a career in. I have also loved meeting and interacting with new people, and learning from their varied experiences. Hence, applying to a vacation scheme, which aligned with these interests (and, more so on a transnational level) was always a part of the plan.

Specifically coming to Linklaters, I had been following the firm for quite some time and from my initial understanding, I strongly resonated with their values. Adding to that, the firm’s expertise in dealing with wide ranging global matters as a magic circle firm and work with diverse set of people really prompted me to apply in a bid to experience the culture of the organisation first hand.

As for the dates of the application for the Indian clerkship programme, Linklaters has switched from rolling submissions to a specified date. So, make sure that you mark the deadline. It is also important to note that only penultimate year students can apply for the Indian clerkship programme for the particular year. It is advisable to keep a lookout on the official website to know eligibility or any impending deadlines especially during the vacation scheme cycle.

  1. Is there a specific process that is followed? Could you please explain to the readers about the same?

The preliminary application in itself is quite self-explanatory and requires details at your end. (There are no essay format questions for the Linklaters application now.) You also have to attempt two tests: (a) Watson Glaser test; and (b) the CAPP Online Assessment test. It is extremely important to note that all the three submissions are assessed holistically by the firm.

Upon submission, if you fit the bill, you receive an e-mail from the recruitment team inviting you to the assessment day (which was virtual last year, and consisted of the e-tray study exercises, an HR interview with a trainee recruitment representative at the London office, and a technical interview with a partner at the London office). This day though long and arduous, makes up for an amazing experience. After thorough assessment, the firm shortlists the participants for the Indian clerkship.

During the clerkship, you are exposed to the numerous practice areas of the firm, and get an opportunity to know more about the culture and people at the firm. You are also assigned a principal, a trainee recruitment contract and a trainee buddy who apart from assigning you work, also acts as a guide and mentor throughout your time at the scheme. Apart from the usual work, you are also assigned a project broken down into weekly assignment(s). It is based on these weekly assignment(s) (apart from general commercial awareness) that your final training contract interview takes place where you are assessed by a partner and a managing associate placed at the London office. Should everything go well, you are offered a training contract.

If you accept the training contract, you are rotated in four different seats during the first two years (six months each in a particular practice area), and then (hopefully) offered an associate position in a particular practice area (based on your performance in these four seats).

You would also have to pass the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) which is the centralised assessment to qualify as a solicitor in England and Wales.

  1. What was the most exciting part of the vacation scheme?

While the designated work and the project(s) were quite interesting, the most exciting part of the scheme definitely has to be the numerous personal interactions that I had with the members and leaders of the firm, including, the then, managing partners and recruiting partners. The overview sessions of core practice areas were undertaken by the partners themselves, which were quite engaging and also provided a realistic insight into the life at the firm.

An extremely close second would be the virtual social nights that were conducted by the trainee recruitment team. We/they were incredibly fun and also helped the cohort bond. The whole experience was quite exceptional despite the scheme being a virtual one.

  1. What were the roadblocks that you came across and how did you manage to combat those?

I know the word has been overused at this point, but the last year was truly “unprecedented” in so many more ways than one. For me, the biggest roadblock was dealing with uncertainties the unprecedented year posed and the various ways in which we had to swiftly adapt (ranging from virtual work calls in different time zones to preparing for something as unconventional as virtual job interviews) However, my family and friends were my support system throughout the scheme and helped me manage any anxiety/roadblocks. Self-belief and confidence in my work made me always put my best foot forward.

A special shoutout to my fellow cohort members of the vacation scheme who were incredibly cooperative and helpful throughout the scheme, and members of the previous cohort who were just a text away whenever I needed any guidance from them.

  1. While choosing law as a profession, what were your initial goals?

Honestly speaking, I would be lying if I say that I have had a long-term specific goal set in stone when I entered law school. Rather, I made it a point to have short-term goal(s) pertaining to specific assignments and focus pertinently on them. This short-term goal, was then to just complete any given work as diligently and sincerely as possible, and have some fun while learning along the way.

One overarching goal, however, has always been to give back to the community, and I hope to do more of that down the line.

  1. Not many people are familiar with the concept of “exhaustion of a search”. What are your views on it?

While there cannot be any simple answer to this question due to the nature of legal research itself which varies as per different types of propositions, there are some fundamentals that may be kept in mind.

This might seem obvious always make sure that you ground up your basics before moving ahead with any complicated research. Always ensure that research is contextualised by sieving the large volumes of research we inevitably gather to only those portions that would eventually be specifically applicable. Lastly, the presentation of the research must be in accordance with expected standards or guidelines, and should be curated in such a manner that it is easy for any layman to follow as well.

  1. Is there any piece of advice that you would like to give to your fellow-mates who might want to follow your steps?

 

I know it sounds clichéd but personally speaking, I have learnt much more from rejections and so-called “failures” than any “successes”. Never let any “failures” get in your head and snowball as self-doubt. The focus must be to learn from these failures and seek to become a better version of yourself everyday.

Another advice would be to always have a substantial amount of introspection before applying to any of the vacation schemes/other internships. Have an honest answer as to why you want to apply to a particular place and what drives you to become a part of a particular organisation (or even, practice area for that matter). You should also not jump into something merely because it seems very lucrative or a lot of your fellow peers/seniors have done it. As an extension to the previous point, also try not to compare your unique journey with anyone else’s. You are allowed to set your own pace and formulate your own goals. But once you have these goals in mind, ensure that you are working as honestly and conscientiously as you can to fulfil them.

 

Lastly, and most importantly, always be kind to yourself.

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