Law Mentoring: India’s first legal mentorship initiative

Disclaimer: Views and thoughts on the program are personal and have NOT been sponsored in any way.

If you have been following foreign law students on Instagram you will know how important a mentor is. I wanted to replicate the same but I had no one to guide me especially when it came to judiciary preparation. I thought I had to rely on coaching institutes for the same but I must confess I am not the biggest fan of traditional classroom teaching so I had been dilly-dallying on seeking help for my preparation. 

But when law mentoring came around, I saw the packages were quite affordable and immediately booked a slot. I requested them to keep the slot as I had exams and couldn’t avail a session at that moment. They were very kind and helpful in this regards and so I got an open slot to be used later.

A month later when I was free from my academics, I talked with the team and scheduled a slot for 3rd November 2020 wherein we discussed a study strategy, Pallab sir designed a study plan and schedule and gave me a task which I had to complete within 10 days. However, I wasn’t able to do so due to personal emergencies, and when I informed the same, I was so scared that he would be furious, but he was sweet and understanding and allowed me more time to prepare. On 24th November I had my last session where we reviewed my progress and he gave me excellent tips on all stages of the judiciary exams.

WHAT IS LAW MENTORING?

The following is an excerpt from their official website.

“Lawmentoring is India’s first and the only mentorship programme dedicated to law students across India. It started on 1st September 2020 by a team comprising of a faculty of law having cleared  Judicial Service with rank 5th in the very first attempt, and students of National Law University Odisha and NALSAR Hyderabad.”

THE PREP WORK

Before my first session, I had millions of doubts running through my heads regarding the judiciary exams, its preparation as well as its aftermath. I had talked previously to a lot of my seniors, judges, people who had cracked the exam, read innumerable interviews and watched hundreds of hours worth of interviews, tips, tricks you name it, on youtube but still I want some personalized answers so, to not forget them, I sat down and made a list of questions to ask Pallab sir. It ran into 4-5 pages along with the brain dump of questions, I analysed my study patterns and charted out what had worked for me and what didn’t, so that I could give my mentor a clearer idea of my current status as well as my learning style. 

This prep helped me immensely during the sessions as you will see below.

THE FIRST SESSION

The first session began right on time and first, we had the introductions, and he asked me about my current status, learning style, plans for future etc., He also asked me how I felt about my preparation at my current stage and based on my answer, he followed up with a situational question and asked me what sections would apply to the situation. He assessed my answer and from that, he gave me insights on my level.

This little exercise was an absolute eye-opener for me because I had told him I felt uncomfortable with law as if I didn’t know anything, to begin with, but when I was able to answer to question followed by his assessment that there was a gap in my actual abilities and my mental recognition of my abilities. This is something I have noted and kept in mind – whenever, I feel insecure, I test myself a little and find my anxiety to be baseless.

After the assessment, he asked me about my schedule and given my hectic schedule he gave me a target of 4 hours of study per day. Further, since I was a visual learner, he gave me specific study techniques to practice for my target that is – study 100 sections of the Indian Penal Code, and any number of sections in the Indian evidence Act.

He recommended to me books to prepare for the same, then he asked me if I had further doubts, so I gladly took out my list and asked him the questions which he patiently answered. I was pleased and satisfied with all the answers, and then we bid adieu for that session.

THE SECOND SESSION

The second session began with a thorough review of my prior study targets, the delay in between the sessions and my feedback on the study techniques. I told him about some tweaks I had to make – like for example, he had told me to stick paper with sections on my wall and look at them every day after I wake up and before I go to sleep to memorise them. However, my mother and sister told me if I so much as advanced towards the newly painted walls with a tape in my hand, I would be kicked out. So I didn’t risk my shelter and instead changed my strategy by memorizing the entire sections and instead of testing myself on Quizlet.

After this discussion, he gave a list of books and resources that would aid me for my preparations and where I could find them. This was one of the most beneficial parts of the program and before you ask me, no I won’t be sharing the list because it was compiled by Pallab sir and I have not yet tested out the resources properly before I can recommend them.

Then, we moved on to the choice of subjects for the judiciary, the pattern in which I should practice the papers. We dealt with the nitty-gritty of each subject section-wise while Sir simultaneously gave me answer writing tips for the Mains exam. Here, I must mention that they do have an answer reviewing the package, so do opt for that if you are preparing for the judiciary and can’t get your answers checked.

The mains exam discussion was followed by an in-depth walkthrough of the interview section of the exam. What I loved about this particular part of the session was how Sir was backing up each of the tips with examples and phrases that should be used in an interview.

And in the final part of the session, he told me about how to prepare for the interview other than the mannerisms part – what to be updated about and how to start being legally updated and concluded with him wishing me luck on my journey.

THINGS I LEARNT:

  • The program helped me refine my study methods and gave me ideas to optimize my studies for the preparation.
  • The list of materials was very important and useful. I don’t think I could have found such a compilation on my own.
  • The task of reading the bare act and making my notes helped me open up my mind. Previously I felt as if the language of the law was too difficult and to interpret it I always needed a juristic book but the task forced me to use my head to break down the sections and write it in my own words. This helped me clear a mental blockage that law is too difficult to understand.
  • I realized the demand on time and effort the preparation requires and the kind of commitment I must give it to crack the exam. This was empowering strangely since for the first time the exam seemed do-able. It would require sacrifice no doubt, but worth it.
  • The course layout where Pallab sir guided me as to what to start with was useful in the sense it gave direction to the rudderless ship of my preparation.
  • Sir also pointed out that I spent a lot of time on my social media which should be decreased since I already have very little time after my other commitments. Initially, I was honestly mildly offended so I decided to check my Instagram for my daily usage – and I spent 2-3 hours there on average. I took his advice and took a detox and I feel much more clear-headed. This shows that he is highly engaged with his mentees and I appreciate that deeply.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

  • I felt half of the advice was quite generic for me but that might also be because I have literally read every single interview on the internet on judiciary preparation and study techniques so I think it would be beneficial for you, my dear reader, if you are not a nerd like me.
  • Would I recommend this program? Yes but only if you are willing to put in the work required to do the prep work as well as the tasks. Make sure you go into the program with a good understanding of your needs and learning style.

By the way, Law mentoring has programs for mentoring students in law school, a career in law as well as LLM degree abroad so if that interest you, maybe check those out?

So, this is my in depth review of my mentorship session. Do let me know if you have any doubts and till the next post – HAPPY HUSTLIN’ HON

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