Vaibhav Aggarwal is an alumnus of National Law University, Delhi; having graduated from Mayo College, Ajmer. He is scheduled to start working in the Delhi office of Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas from July, 2017 in the litigation department. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
- What were your reasons for choosing law? Were you ever confused whether to do law or not? If yes, what cleared this confusion?
Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure about what I wanted to do, and therefore set about deciding, using the elimination method. Eventually, law and chartered accountancy seemed like the appropriate choices by the time I was passing out of school.
My decision for law, at a very amateur level, started because of my participation in various debates during school. People started suggesting law as being a good option, and thus I tried to explore when the time came for it. I did love to argue and reason things out, besides having a strong urge to fight for what I felt was right, and thus it seemed like a good option. As time progressed, and also upon entering into law school, those reasons got further refined, as I got a much clearer understanding of what the profession meant, and stood for, but that’s how my initial choice was made.
I was confused between chartered accountancy and law at one point, but as I tried to get a better understanding of what the two involved, respectively, law seemed like a more exciting proposition to me, personally.
Also, in my first semester of law school, I was slightly confused again, because it turns out to be a lot different, than what one expects from the amateur understanding of the profession one started with. However, that confusion also got cleared with time, as I underwent various internships, and came across courses which seemed more interesting to me than the ones we’d started with, among other factors.
- You went to NLU-D, which often gives a tough competition to top law schools under CLAT and often creates a big dilemma for students to choose between AILET and CLAT. What do you think is the deciding factor? What makes NLU-D so different from other law schools?
I don’t think there is any one single factor which can be considered as the deciding one. I think there are multiple factors, and people who have the choice between two see whatever seems preferable to them.
Only where probably the top three or four law schools under CLAT are involved, could one be faced with the dilemma. For the ones below that, I’d probably recommend NLU-D without giving it a thought. But for the ones for which the dilemma lies, location factor, placement statistics, faculty, etc., play a key role in deciding, and one has to see what matters to them more.
NLU-D provides a key advantage because of its location being in the national capital – it can be beneficial in terms of the kind of guests invited for talks, seminars, etc.; for those who choose to do during-semester internships, it adds another key advantage. Besides the location too, the University has built up its name in a relatively short period of time. The infrastructure, even though could improve in many aspects, is probably still among the best. It has one of the most expansive law libraries in the country; placements, while not the best, have reached an acceptably good level in a short period of time. The University provides funding for moots, and some other competitions, which some of the top CLAT colleges also do not provide. These could be some of the factors.
However, for some of the other NLUs under CLAT, some of them have a very established and helpful alumni network; better placements, among other things. Some of the aspects regarding funding of moots, etc., might be there in some of the other colleges too.
The kind of faculty could also have a major role in the decision making for some. While NLU-D is renowned for having brilliant faculty, I think the problem like most other law schools is that while some of the teachers are really good, overall there’s still a substantial improvement needed.
In the end it boils down more to what aspects the particular candidate prefers. However, I’ve seen a lot of people base their decision on mainly the kind of placements, which I feel is a wrong approach, because those statistics could change by the time one reaches that stage, and also one may not even eventually choose to sit for placements. There’s a lot more to do in law school, and one should consider it holistically before making their decision.
- Looking back at your journey through law school, and now that you are going to be working with SAM. What is something that you think people miss out and realize it in their fifth year that they should have been doing since first year of college?
As helpful as I would want to be, there’s nothing specific which I feel people realized in their final year, which they should be doing since the first year of college.
However, something which I realized when I started doing my core law internships, which I did not quite apply earlier, was that the subjects we study are important beyond the mere passing of exams itself. It sounds quite banal, but my attitude changed slightly after that first internship.
Also, I’ve seen a lot of people force themselves into activities just to build up their CVs. I feel this is a very wrong practice, and while one should try and explore everything which seems appealing to them, there is no one right way to getting that perfect dream job, and one should pursue what seems suitable to them. Many people, till even the end of their law school, do not quite follow this.
- Many students from top law schools prefer to go towards Corporate Law. Why litigation for you?
When I started with law, what initially attracted me towards it was the thought of being able to argue in court, and like I already mentioned, while that understanding has gotten refined and matured over a period of time, that fascination still lingers. Also, the thought of having to deal with a live dispute, with real problems, attracts me more than what corporate law deals with. It is not to say that some of the elements I mention, are not present in corporate law, but those are the things that make me incline towards litigation.
- Any other advice to students confused about law? And also those who are confused between Corporate Law or Lititgation?
For those confused about law, I feel their reason for choosing it should not be merely that it’s a “good profession”. For a lot many people, after doctor, engineer, and chartered accountant, this has become like a default option to resort to, if one wants to have a “successful life”. However, at least if one is in one of the good law colleges, and even after college, it’ll be a real struggle if one joined it without a liking for it, because it can get quite demanding at times, and it’s not as simple as breezing through it. While the five-year courses might be considered better currently, there is no harm in getting done with a basic graduation, and then going in for law for the three-year course, if the confusion is quite strong.
As regards those confused between corporate law and litigation, probably try a lot of internships in both areas, and don’t just go by one particular experience in either, because a particular internship could have turned out to be bad, and that isn’t necessarily a reflection of the subject matter. Also, nowadays, many of the premier firms have a rotation policy, which allows one to work across different departments, and then eventually decide. That may also be a good way of figuring out, since you get a hang of various kinds of departments and the work involved with them.
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