Devrath Singh is from the batch of 2008-2013. He was placed with ICICI from Campus Placements. He then went on to ace CLAT (LLM) entrance and finally made it to the Madhya Pradesh Judiciary.
Devrath Singh: I come from a family of doctors so my natural choice was to become a doctor. I didn’t have any plans of becoming a lawyer though I used to like to read about criminal case investigation in the news and detective novels. When I was in class 12th, one day I was just going through CLAT question papers sent by my aunt. I found the questions easy and interesting. So, I decided to go for Law as an alternative option in case I fail to clear the medical entrance exams. After my 12th I gave all the medical entrance exams and had also filled up the examination form for CLAT. But eventually I could not give the CLAT exam as it was coinciding with one of the medical entrance exams. AIL entrance exam was supposed to take place in the month of April and I was not very much prepared for the exam. But by God’s grace the AIL-exam got postponed for the next month. A few days before the exam one of my uncles who used to see horoscopes as a hobby told my parents that as per my horoscope I was destined to become a barrister and not a doctor. I felt that this was a sign from God and I believed that I would certainly be able to clear the law exam. With just 4 days preparation for the exam and high fever I gave the exam and cleared the exam securing 10th rank. After about one month at AIL I came to know that I had cleared the Madhya Pradesh Pre-Medical entrance exam also. But by that time I had started liking law and didn’t want to change my field. So I decided to continue with law and didn’t go for medicine.
BP: How were your 5 years at AIL?
DS: My five years at AIL have been the most memorable time of my life. My stay at AIL was very pleasant. Teachers and administrative staff were very supportive and encouraging. Never for a moment did I feel I was away from home. Most of my time was spent participating in moot Court competitions. Mooting taught me the practical application of law and also helped me grow as a person. The syllabus was not very hectic and I could easily find time to participate in most of the co-curricular activities. There are colleges where there are restrictions with regard to choice of moot however there was no restriction on the choice of moot or the number of times one could participate in a moot at AIL. It was because of this reason that I could go for so many moot court competitions and learn so much. When I used to get too bored studying then I used play table tennis with my friends or chess and sometimes even volleyball.
The best thing at AIL was that there is plenty of time to do everything and so many opportunities to learn. I tried to avail of every opportunity which would help me grow. Whatever resources were there at my disposal I tried to make the best use of them. I could not give the CLAT exam but never for a single moment did I regret the fact that I could not study in a national law college.
BP: At AIL, one could almost always find you in the library. What it just the love of books, or something else?
DS: What do you mean by something else? It was just the love of books and a thirst to learn because of which I could always be found in the library. The library was a temple of learning for me. I used to feel at peace and found it easy to concentrate in the library. There used to be too much noise in the hostel so that is why I used to come to the library. Moreover, I did all the research work for the moots in the library. So that is why I used to be found in the Library. There was no other reason.
BP: What all co-curricular activities did you participate in while at AIL?
DS: Though I mainly participated in the Moot Court Competitions (I did 7, two international and 4 national and 1 trial advocacy) I also took part in most of the co-curricular activities like debate competitions, group discussions, turn coat competitions and quiz competition. I even participated in a singing competition. I did a play and a group dance for the fresher’s welcome party. I also took part in a play organised by my seniors for poor children to explain the importance of education to them. Though I wanted to go for a sports fest but then because of the moot court competitions I had to drop my plans.
BP: You were placed at ICICI through the college. What was the interview like? Any advice to students seeking similar placements?
DS: The interview was very cordial though I was a little bit nervous. The interviewers started with simple questions like tell me about yourself. After that, they asked me my areas of interest and I told them that I like Criminal Law. So then they asked me if you like criminal law then how would that be useful in a bank. I answered saying that I can deal with Section 138 Negotiable Instrument act( cheque dishonour cases and would not mind doing work with respect to other areas of law. Then they asked me what is the procedure of filing a complaint under section 138. I told them the procedure. Then they asked me what is Article 136 of the Indian Constitution? Is it appellate jurisdiction or supervisory jurisdiction of the supreme court. I answered appellate. Then they asked me under which section criminal complaint is filed. I didn’t remember the section (It is section 200 CRPC). Then they said but criminal law is your forte then how is it that u don’t know the section? I told them though I don’t remember the section but I can look up the bare act and can answer. They also asked questions about my hobbies and whether I plan to go for higher studies. They also asked me whether I have written any research papers and what methodology was adopted by me while writing the research paper.Then a question regarding my internships was also asked.On the whole, the interview experience was pleasant.
My advice to all the students seeking similar placements is to start preparing in advance. If you intend to sit for a job placement then you must have a good CV. So from the first year itself you should start adding value to your CV. By adding value I mean write research papers get them published. Do internships and participate in moot court competitions. Besides this maintain a decent percentage and avoid getting re-appear, if you get one then get them cleared before your interview. Secondly, you must have a good communication skills. Most of the interviews take place in English so having a good command over English is important. There are many talented people who are not selected because of their inability to express themselves. Then concentrate on your personality. Having a positive personality and good manners cannot be acquired in a day. It takes time to acquire all these traits so try to inculcate all the traits which will enrich your personality. On the day of the interview be relaxed, confident and well dressed. When you enter the interview room ask for permission and have wish them with a smile. Highlight all your positive characteristics in the interview. Do not say anything negative or be rude because such people are not suitable to work in a team. 85% of the people get placements because of their attitude. So be humble and honest. Don’t try to fool them by telling lies, they(interviewer’s) are experienced people and will be able to see through you. Also being a team builder will brighten your chances of getting placed because most of the corporate work involves working in a team so the interviewer’s are looking for those qualities. Having good marks will not ensure you a job placement. You should be an all rounder. Therefore, you should have few research papers and moot courts on your CV. The interviewer’s are looking for a balanced person who has a good attitude and can work in a team. Have a good night’s sleep before the interview will help you remain focussed and alert during the interview. Lastly, face the interview with a ‘can do attitude’ and have faith in yourself. If you believe in your mind that you can clear the interview then you will be able to do it. Remember whatever the human mind can conceive and believe it can achieve that thing. Another piece of advice if you don’t get through the interview is that it is not the end of the road. Just take it in the right spirit. If possible ask the interview board for feedback and learn from your mistakes. Keep on trying till you succeed.Even after trying your level best and you fail then probably God has a better plan for you, so don’t be disheartened and keep on trying hard till you succeed.
BP: Given your academic record and the fact that you had aced CLAT (LLM), why did you not choose to go for further studies?
DS: I had given CLAT(LLM) as a backup option because despite my placement there was no contract signed between me and the Bank. I needed an option to fall back in case the bank did not keep its word and send us the appointment letters. Such an incident happened with one of my batchmates, the company assured them a job placement(after the interview) and eventually refused them the job stating that they will not recruit them this year. Moreover, I did not go for LLM and joined ICICI Bank because I wanted to gain job experience. Theoretical knowledge can never be a substitute for practical experience. However my advice to those people who intend to join the judiciary is that you should do LLM and keep on appearing for the judiciary exams. This way your year will also not be wasted.
BP: You have recently been selected in the M.P. Judiciary. Did you always want to do this?
DS: As I had earlier said I come from a family of doctors so I did not have anyone to guide me in the legal profession. Whatever I have learnt is from my own experience. Initially, I did law with the aim of appearing for the civil services exam. But then I realised that my interest lies in law and not in administrative services so then I concentrated on law. In my fourth year, I interned under Senior Advocate K.T.S Tulsi and got an opportunity to see the working of the Delhi Courts. It was then that I decided to go for the judiciary. But in my 5th year ICICI bank happened to come for placement. I sat for the interview only for the sake of experience and my own self-evaluation. I got selected and the pay package was quite handsome around 11 lakhs per year. Since declaration of judiciary exam notification is very uncertain and it may or may not be released in that year. Therefore, I decided to go for the Bank job to gain some job experience and simultaneously prepare for the exam. Since I was posted at the headquarters of the Bank work schedule was very busy.I hardly used to find time to study as by the time I used to be finished with my work it used to be quite late. I did not realise that in order to get selected you have to fully devote yourself for the preparation. Consequently, I could not clear the judicial service exam in my first attempt. Failure is a big teacher if you are willing to learn from it. I realised my mistake and decided to quit the bank. I knew Delhi judiciary notification was going to be out so I had to quit the bank. I worked in the bank for 8 months. Working in the bank was a wonderful experience and I learnt a number of useful things. But since the lifestyle and the kind of legal work which I had desired was not there therefore I thought it wise to quit the job. After leaving the bank I prepared for 3 months and appeared for the Delhi judiciary prelims which I cleared. However I could not clear the mains exam probably due lack of writing practice and proper guidance. Next I appeared for MP Judiciary and cleared the exam securing 19th rank in Madhya Pradesh. I had also appeared for Haryana Judiciary, I topped the prelims exam but could not appear for the mains exam because it was coinciding with my interview date for the Madhya Pradesh judiciary exam.
BP: Any advice to students aspiring to join the Judiciary?
DS: If you have made up your mind to go for judiciary then start preparing in advance. The earlier you start the better it is. For judiciary you must read the bare acts thoroughly especially for the prelims. In bare acts read the illustrations carefully. Most of the illustartions are asked as MCQ’s. Also you should know the latest amendment and important recent Supreme Court cases. In question papers where there is negative marking attempt carefully otherwise you will unnecessarily lose marks. For the mains you must have good conceptual understanding and you should must know all the important landmark cases. Solve previous years question papers as much as possible so that you get used to the pattern. If you have conceptual clarity and have studied properly in five years of law then you should be able to clear judiciary exam comfortably. Coaching undoubtedly will guide you and will help you to work on your mistakes. But ultimately it is your own effort which matters more than anything else. Also, be careful in selecting the coaching institutes. There are many bogus coaching institutes running which will waste your time and money so be careful in your selection. Those who don’t have good coaching institutes in their city need not worry. You can prepare for judiciary on your own. I also prepared on my own as I didn’t have good coaching institutes in Bhopal. Judiciary exams takes around a year therefore, it is very important that you maintain your physical and mental health. Lastly, approach the exam with a positive frame of mind with a ‘can do’ attitude. If you believe in yourself and work hard then no obstacle can stop you from clearing the judiciary. My best wishes to all the judiciary aspirants!
Devrath Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.