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9 top firms hire more: 202 from campus for 2018 • Khaitan goes 80-20 • JSA opts out of campus ‘circus’ • NUJS keeps shtum again [CORRECTION]

The Day Zero milkround was bigger than ever this year
The Day Zero milkround was bigger than ever this year

Day Zero recruitments of the 2018-graduating batches by the law firms paying the highest starting salaries, have revealed that Day Zero demand has increased, with 9 firms hiring 202 students, mostly from top national law schools, to start working with them in 2018 (in 2016 and 2015, the total number had held steady at 191 and 190 respectively).

Correction: The originally published story had mistakenly reported incorrect figures of Shardul Amarchand’s Day Zero figures for 2018 as 38, not 26. This has now been corrected and the table has been updated.

While NLSIU Bangalore, Nalsar Hyderabad, NLU Delhi and GNLU Gandhinagar have disclosed their Day Zero recruitments this year, NUJS Kolkata’s recruitment committee declined to do so, and NLIU Bhopal would only do so later this month after several more offers were confirmed.

We have therefore reached out to firms again directly this year to get a full picture of firms’ demands and recruitment progress for next year.

Biggest recruiters

Out of the firms surveyed - selected according to those traditionally most often invited to recruit directly from campuses by top law schools on Day Zero because they pay the highest starting salaries - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas remained the largest recruiter this year.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas hired 65 students to start in 2018. This is four more than the firm had hired by Day Zero in 2016, and 19 more than in 2015 as at the same time.

Trilegal emerged as the second largest recruiter for 2018, making 39 offers (which is 9 more than last year, and 13 more than the year before that).

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas hired 26 (compared to 32 and 19 in the last two years as at Day Zero respectively), and Khaitan & Co 34 (compared to 29 in 2016 Days Zero, and 44 in 2015).

Luthra & Luthra hired 21 for 2018, AZB picked up 11 and smaller firms S&R Associates and Talwar Thakore Associates hired 4 and 2 respectively.

J Sagar Associates (JSA), however, for the first time since begininng campus recruitments in 2009, as we had reported in 2010 when the firm rejigged its internship programmes, has opted not to visit campuses this year, and has returned to its system of picking intakes from amongst its interns.

Is the campus recruitment circus losing its lustre?

"The campus recruitment process has turned into quite a circus these days,” commented JSA co-managing partner Dina Wadia.

“We took a call that we would recruit primarily through our internship program as that allows us to assess the students, their abilities and how they fit into our culture in a far more effective way,” she added. The complaint that campus recruitments - especially on Day Zero - are a circus, is not necessarily new. While some equilibrium has been achieved in bargaining positions between firms and students, there has often been jostling for position of order of interviews by top firms keen to snap up the toppers of each batch.

And several years ago ‘exploding’ offers, wihch automatically expired within hours of getting made, began making the rounds in a bid to prevent top interviewees from getting offers from more than one firm.

While JSA is the only firm that has opted to recruit exclusively from interns this year, it is not alone in the trend.

From firms that have provided breakdowns, it seems that pre-placement offers made to interns are beginning to gain in popularity again with some, while others continue to rely primarily on Day Zero to fill their 2018 intakes.

Khaitan & Co, for instance, has instituted a new policy of 80/20 for its student hires, allocating around 80 per cent of its requirements via PPOs, and only 20 per cent via direct campus interview hires, explained HR director Amar Sinhji.

This is borne out by the numbers this year: 28 were hired via PPO, and only 6 via campus (which indeed equals to 18% of totals).

Others, however, still rely heavily on campus interviews. Cyril Amarchand hired 52 via campus and only 13 via PPO so far (the reverse of Khaitan, with PPOs only making up 20% of totals so far).

AZB Mumbai too, so far, had hired 9 via campus and only 2 via PPOs.

At Trilegal, the numbers were nearly balanced - 16 PPO recruitments versus 23 campus hires.

All that said, however, PPO figures can reasonably be expected to continue increasing at most of these firms up until 2018, as good interns are identified and snapped up.

Recruitments by college

While Day Zero recruitments are by no means the end-all-and-be-all of a recruitment season, and offers from firms will continue flowing in until 2018 (though fewer from these top 9 firms), Days Zero are a good indication of the preference top law firms have to recruit students from certain colleges.

While no decisions from aspirants should be based on Day Zero figures alone, a high percentage of a batch’s placement by Day Zero suggests that it is easier getting a top law firm job from that law school.

With that proviso, NUJS Kolkata emerged with the largest total number of early offers at more than 41 (or 33% of a batch size of around 125, which is a comparatively larger batch size than most other national law schools other than GNLU).

NUJS is likely to have placed a greater number than that from recruiters outside the 9 law firms surveyed, such as corporates and other law firms, but the NUJS recruitment committee refused to confirm or deny our figures that we put to them.

By Day Zero of this year, excluding foreign law firms and recruiters other than the 9 surveyed:

  • Nalsar Hyderabad had already placed 28 (or 39% of a total batch of around 72).
  • GNLU Gandhinagar had placed 30 (or around 20% of a batch of around 150 - if someone could confirm the exact batch size, we’ll be happy to update this).
  • NLSIU Bangalore 33 (around 36% out of 90 total students, or 69% of the 45 students who participated in the official recruitments, according to the RCC).
  • NLU Jodhpur had placed around 19 (18% out of a batch of 103, or 35% of the 54 participating students; alternatively, including other firms. Update: Alternatively, according to RCC figures, 26 total job offers as at 27 April).
  • NLU Delhi placed 20 by Day Zero (or 47% out of a batch of 42).
  • NLIU Bhopal placed 17 (out of a much smaller batch size than the other NLUs).
  • GLC Mumbai already placed 5.
  • JGLS Sonepat 4.
If any of these figures are incorrect, please reach out to me at and we’ll be happy to update.

NUJS votes against Day Zero transparency again

NLSIU Bangalore, Nalsar Hyderabad, NLU Delhi and GNLU Gandhinagar released their Day Zero figures this year. Update: NLU Jodhpur has also released its figures today.

NLIU Bhopal said it would do so shortly, but was awaiting the responses of several recruiters. We have not reached out to NLU Jodhpur, where the administration has generally issued a ban on disclosing Day Zero figures.

As last year, NUJS refused to release Day Zero recruitments, and declined to confirm, deny or correct the recruitment figures we put to them.

Instead, after several weeks of talks between us and the recruitment committee, the committee released an unprecedented and rather cryptic statement on its website, noting the following:

We are proud to announce that we had a stellar Day Zero this year. The firms have said that they are pleased with the quality of our candidates in comparison to other law schools. Firms have also expressed appreciation on the impressive depth prevalent in the NUJS Batch of 2018.

As a matter of policy, we are mandated to disclose recruitment figures only at the time of graduation. We would urge all readers to treat any report of such figures as unofficial and not endorsed by the university. Any other publication of figures paints an incomplete picture regarding recruitment at University.

Furthermore, recruitment carries on throughout the fifth year and at no point do we feel that Day Zero in itself constitutes the end of the recruitment process - rather it represents much more the beginning of it.

We repeatedly asked the recruitment committee for an actual reason for the policy, but did not receive a response, so the only thing we have to go on is the reason we reported last year based on our campus sources: that NUJS students are worried that recruiters would not visit the college after learning of very strong Day Zero figures.

With all due respect, Legally India’s official position to such secrecy is, to use a technical term, poppycock.

If the committee’s aim is that no “incomplete picture” is painted, then that would be best served by releasing or at least confirming figures that we have obtained from law firms.

And every other top law school has released figures, including GNLU this year, which has had a terrible track record in recruitment transparency and a larger batch size than NUJS but released Day Zero figures exclusively to Bar & Bench this year.

Of course, each college is free to make its own decision regarding recruitments and transparency, but we at Legally India feel that very little is served by the NUJS policy, which will only encourage other, younger colleges to be more opaque in their recruitments and other information.

Nuff said.

Here’s wishing all 2018 and other batches a very successful recruitment season.

2018 early recruitment figures as of 14-20 April 2017, via firms

Total firms by college College CAM Total Trilegal Total SAM Total Khaitan Total Luthra Total AZB Total S&R Total TTA JSA* Others (via campus sources / RCC) Foreign firms
40 NUJS Kolkata 16 (3 PPOs) 4 (1 PPOs) 5 8 (8 PPOs) 3 4 (1 PPOs)

28 Nalsar Hyderabad 8 (1 PPOs) 4 (2 PPOs) 3 5 (3 PPOs) 6 2 (0 PPOs)

1 vac scheme, 1 TC
30 GNLU Gandhinagar 17 (5 PPOs) 4 (1 PPOs) 2 5 (5 PPOs) 1

1 PPO

33 NLSIU Bangalore 4 (2 PPOs) 7 (4 PPOs) 9 4 (2 PPOs) 4 4 (0 PPOs) 1 PPO

Hindustan Unilever: 1 3 vac schemes
19 NLU Jodhpur 6 (1 PPOs) 2 (2 PPOs) 3 3 (3 PPOs) 7

ICICI: 1; Majmudar: 1; NDA: 1; SAM: +2; Luthra: +2

20 NLU Delhi 5 (0 PPOs) 5 (1 PPOs) 2 2 (1 PPOs) 2

2 PPOs 2

3 vac schemes
17 NLIU Bhopal 6 (1 PPOs) 6 (2 PPOs)

5 (4 PPOs)

ICICI: 2

5 GLC Mumbai

4 (0 PPOs)

1 (1 PPOs)

4 JGLS Sonepat 3 (0 PPOs) 1 (1 PPOs)

0 HNLU Raipur

-

1 Symbiosis Noida

1 (1 PPOs) -

1 Campus Law Centre, Delhi University

1 (1 PPOs)

2 ILS Pune

1

1 (1 PPOs)

1 Nirma University

1

1 NLU Odisha

1 (1 PPOs)

1 RGNUL Patiala

1

1 RMLNLU Lucknow

1

1 Symbiosis Pune

1

202

Total 65 39 26 34 21 11 4 2 N/A

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