There are three areas in which knowing the right people can do wonders for you – the Mafia, politics and the legal field.
Writing an article on the importance of contacts in the legal profession is stale. It is similar to writing about the importance of oxygen in the atmosphere. The trouble here is that as students, more so, as individuals being first generation lawyers, it is easy to point at someone else’s success and dump the entire credit of his progress on the people he knows, seniors he greased up with and the names he dropped. Evidently, it is awfully easy to do that. At the same time, it becomes easy while drafting a portfolio, a standard practice is to top it off with two to three ‘references’.
On a personal level, a year back, perhaps I had to concentrate on directing the cream of my achievements in my CV, and put in efforts with my vocabulary to draft a substantially ornamental body of the mail that manages to reflect my professional capacity as well. Too much work indeed! And of course, this is the only way in which we can make a ‘first impression’ these days, and if fortunate, a temporary relationship is forged out of good faith, or in many cases, out of indifference.
A month or two of an internship.
Today, keeping all humility intact, I admit that my CV hasn’t improved (in terms of grades) but I am able to sit across the table with a Managing Partner of a law firm and construct an impression that betrays my undergraduate self. Today, when I’m on a call with a client, relatives and colleagues who overhear me speaking suggest that I should take up marketing – and if I’m sure if I wish to pursue law. The same relatives who were skeptical of the idea of an introvert who never bothered to come out of his room to say a simple “Hello” , suggest me about pursuing a career in law.
But what if that wasn’t the case? What if we had the opportunity to introduce ourselves via our professional capacity, our mettle, and our sheer ability to deliver from the go? Wouldn’t that somehow make it easier – for both the potential employer and the student? We have managed to do that to some extent, and cracked that formula at Grayscale Legal – but let this not be an endorsement for the same.
In this profession, it is as important to know your substance, in terms of the knowledge of the law, as it is to market yourself. That doesn’t just happen with creating a LinkedIn profile – neither does it magically bear fruit over night. It takes time, lots of time to essentially learn to treat yourself like a product – and to keep in mind that every professional step you take towards any goal you have set for yourself should be an investment in this product.
I wish I could write about some universal formula that spreads across people and borders – but unfortunately, the fact is that you have to play to your strengths. And of course, work hard for it. My mentor and senior, Sanjay Upadhyay (Managing Partner of Enviro Legal Defence Firm) puts it succinctly, “You have to be a solution provider for your clients, for people.” The legal profession and the practice of law is a noble pursuit. And with the ability to provide solutions to your clients, comes the opportunity to build a reputation for yourself. This goodwill in turn materializes into profits and opens doors to further opportunities to do good work, further opportunities to serve. Your professional ethos and morals are at your disposal, and keeping that aside, rather, keeping that intact, anyone can catch a golden egg laying goose.
At this point, I have no idea as to how to end this off, or what this is leading to, or even if it turned out to be what For the Sake of Argument and Sourya were asking for. Let’s just bring you in on one of our little fantasies that Swati (HR In-Charge of Grayscale Legal) and I share. Today we are a network of law students, five years down the line we’ll be a network of professionals – and if all goes well, we could at any point of time, pool in our individual resources and contacts and create a firm ourselves, subjected to opportunity costs of course. But this idea, this little fleeting fantasy, that we are not bound by any decision that we make today, or better, not bound by decisions that others make for us, is liberating.
There are multiple opportunities, many potential clients; hundreds of doors opening and closing at the same time and little twists and nooks that constantly change your career path. All you have to do is take a step back, know your hand, and play the right cards.
About The Author:-
Rohan Mukherjee is the Founder and CEO of Grayscale Legal. A Kairos Fellowship holder and workaholic, Rohan plays drums when not busy blogging, running his company or adding new achievements to his ever growing cv.