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Khaitan to ‘digitally onboard’ all 49 freshers as promised • 27 from NUJS, JGLS, GNLU, NLIU, NLU-J

What law firm digital onboarding might have looked like, circa 1992
What law firm digital onboarding might have looked like, circa 1992

Khaitan & Co has announced that all 49 law school graduates whom it had made campus offers to over the past years, would join the firm on 12 October 2020.

As is wont in the times of Covid-19, they will not be going to any physical office but instead will go for a “digital onboarding and induction” process.

“We have honoured every single offer made on campus,” explained Khaitan director HR Amar Sinhji.

“They have already been familiarised with all firm systems and processes,” he explained about the process. “Further to this, their virtual induction process will take them through all systems and functions in detail.”

Each joiner would be provided a fully configured laptop, since the firm did not “encourage the use of personal devices”, said Sinhji.

In terms of the technical challenges to inducing lawyers without significant practical lawyering experience to the firm, Sinhji explained: “Some of the challenges were how do we ensure that the onboarding experience is as engaging as it would have been if they had joined us physically.”

“How do we ensure that each one of them is provided a firm laptop and that they quickly come to speed with all systems and processes?” he asked. “So, we have a custom designed app that handles the entire onboarding experience and also ensures continuous engagement (without physically meeting anyone).”

It’s not all work and no play though, apparently. Sinhji said: “The onboarding experience will also bring in an element of fun and excitement. After all this is the beginning of their career, their first job and it should be an experience that stays with them for a long time and also makes them feel and realise that they are joining a storied tier one firm.”

“Administrative requirements” would be handled by a “state of the art human resources information system”, he noted, which meant the freshers could “work from anywhere in India”, with the firm also “ready to provide / guide them with local support to ensure adequate bandwidth in terms of connectivity / WiFi”.

The start date is delayed by around three months, however: in 2019, freshers had joined around July. The firm had first announced this to freshers in May, nearer to the start of the pandemic.

This year’s joining date will be slightly delayed and salaries would only begin to be paid from their official joining date on 12 October.

Several other firms had pushed fresher joining dates until 2020.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) and L&L Partners had delayed joining dates until 2021, for instance, though CAM said it would also try getting freshers onto its virtual learning platform before then.

Khaitan new joiner breakdown

Khaitan & Co will see a total of 49 freshers start next week, of whom 33 (67%) came via pre-placement offers (PPOs), which are usually handed out after a candidate does an internship, with the rest having joined directly via on campus interviews (Khaitan generally aimed for a 70:30 split between the two, Sinhji explained).

The gender split in the intake is pretty even, with 25 female and 24 male budding lawyers joining the firm.

The breakdown between graduating LLB colleges is as below, with the largest number of candidates coming from NUJS Kolkata and JGLS Sonepat (6 each), followed by GNLU Gandhinagar, NLIU Bhopal and NLU Jodhpur (with five each).

University Number of joiners
NUJS Kolkata 6
JGLS Sonepat 6
GNLU Gandhinagar 5
NLIU Bhopal 5
NLU Jodhpur 5
Nalsar Hyderabad 3
NLU Delhi 3
Symbiosis Pune 3
NLSIU Bengaluru 2
Amity Delhi 1
KC Law Mumbai 1
Manipal University Jaipur 1
NLU Assam 1
NLU Odisha 1
NMIMS Mumbai 1
Nuals Kochi 1
Pravin Gandhi, Mumbai 1
RMLNLU Lucknow 1
Christ University 1
Symbiosis Noida 1

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