The origins of lawctopuscom
Apprentice Lawyer

The origins of lawctopuscom

Bar & Bench

Lawctopus.com is a website by law students, catering to law students in India and contains many interesting opportunities with consultancy services on internships.

The genesis

Thriving in adversity is what Tanuj Kalia, a 3rd year law student at NUJS Kolkata did. When chicken pox struck him restricting him to ‘bed rest’ he used the time to think, think and think till he had finalised what is now called ‘Lawctopus’, a website for law students in India.

“I have always been interested in writing and have done some freelance legal journalism. This coupled with my interest in human resource development and entrepreneurship made me believe that things I scribbled on the pages, as ideas for ‘a website for law students’ could be executed”, said Kalia, the founder of Lawctopus.

So what were the thoughts that went into the website? “Truckloads of things”, explains Kalia, “Like how many people should be involved, the money required for web designing, what all the website would contain etc. It doesn’t help when conflicting answers sound equally convincing”.

Execution

When he went around telling his friends to join as co-founders, not everyone agreed, “They have prior commitments. The schedule at NUJS can be rigorous”, he explains.

After some ‘yess turning into ‘nos and ‘nos into ‘yess Lawctopus did have four other co-founders: Prateek Bhandari, Debanshu Khettry, Naman Gupta and Dhruv Mairal.

“We had long discussions, loud even by a 20 year old’s standards. There were lots of disagreements, lots of ‘airy castles’ constructed, and of course, lots of constructive additions made”, explains Debanshu Khettry.

For website designing this team of law students from NUJS didn’t look for external help. Prateek Bhandari and Dhruv Marial, two law students with some knowledge of HTML and related things took upon themselves to make sure that Lawctopus could start-off. Boot-strapping, at its best!

“The website is skeletal for now, but workable. We’ll soon do a revamp of the website to restructure it, add more sections and make it more navigable”, says Mairal.

“So we might actually need professional help in the future”, addsBhandari.

Community and Collaboration

Lawctopus also has college managers from nearly all top law schools in the country. “The people are our friends at law schools who we thought could do the job of a marketeer, an entrepreneur and an activist for Lawctopus. Some of them have come through references, of course”, explains Bhandari.

“They have contributed a lot to the website; providing new content and making sure that the website is known to people in the college”, explains Naman Gupta.

The ‘My Internship’ section of Lawctopus, according to Debanshu Khettry has received large number of write-ups courtesy the efforts of the college managers.

Khettry said, “Our aim through the ‘My Internship’ section is to help law students make informed decisions about their internships. By sharing our internship experiences through Lawctopus, the students will essentially help each other on legal internships”.

Lawctopus also has Intern Smith, probably the first consultancy service for legal internships. “Legal Rebels”, an interview section with lawyers who have chosen to tread on a different career path too is an innovative concept.

Catalysts: positive and negative

Lawctopus has grown phenomenally. However problems do exist. “Ten days after the launch of the website, NUJS had its vacations. So we’ve been unable to work on the website structure, something which needs immediate attention”, said Bhandari.

“We have also not yet launched some of our initiatives like “CoProM: Collaborative Project Making” or “Cit-tory: Case Laws as Stories” because we can work only for some amount of time during our internship/vacations”, said Khettry.

“These problems were foreseeable: vacations, exams, moots, project submissions etc, Lawctopus has to thrive even when these are on and we are working for it”, adds Kalia. How the team will be able to sustain its enthusiasm and hard work remains to be seen. At the same time, judging by its initial success, Lawctopus seems well on its path of success.

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