The Anatomy of Legal Recruitment in India: Tracing the Tracks of Globalization

 

Jonathan Gingerich, Vikramaditya Khanna and Aditya Singh, “The Anatomy of Legal Recruitment in India: Tracing the Tracks of Globalization,” in The Indian Legal Profession in the Age of Globalization: The Rise of the Corporate Legal Sector and its Impact on Lawyers and Society, edited by David B. Wilkins, Vikramaditya S. Khanna, and David M. Trubek (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017), chapter 17.

ABSTRACT: Globalization is changing the Indian legal profession through, among other things, its effects on the corporate legal sector and legal education. Although these changes have generated considerable discussion, relatively little is known about one of the critical channels through which they are occurring – the legal recruitment process in India. Understanding recruitment is important not only because it influences the membership of the profession, but also because it serves as a bridge between the profession and legal education. In this paper we explore this topic through a detailed description and analysis of recruitment in the corporate legal sector in India as well as through a series of detailed interviews of those involved in it.
We find that recruitment processes at the elite law schools in India have changed substantially over the last 20 years. Prior to liberalization in 1991 most recruitment was rather ad hoc and geared to obtaining positions in litigation. After 1991 the recruitment process began to change to accommodate increasing demand from the corporate legal sector, which grew rapidly as the Indian economy increasingly interacted with global forces. This led to the current model where recruitment is largely organized through reliance on student run recruitment coordination committees (RCCs), which play important intermediation and facilitation roles for students and corporate legal employers. We explore the formation, structure, norms and functioning of RCCs in greater depth along with the question of why this recruitment structure may have developed in the 1990s in India.
However, recruitment processes in India have continued to adapt so that now there appears to be an emerging and somewhat more mixed recruitment model where corporate legal sector employers rely on student-facilitated processes, but also appear to be making greater use of internships, professional recruitment services, and in-service training. This, we argue, is associated with changes wrought by India’s increasing interaction with globalization over the last few years. Our analysis thus provides insights into India’s recruitment processes, how they have changed over time, the role of globalization in them, and the impact of (and on) the corporate legal sector and legal education in India. [SSRN] [published version]

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