Grayscale – a virtual network of law students helping legal professional
Majority of law students are not tech wizards who can tinker with gadgets and software programs, or seek a career in that space. But for Rohan Mukherjee, a fourth year student at NLU, Odisha, everything was a challenge and he decided to prove things to himself and the world by starting up Grayscale Associates.
Grayscale started with two simple presumptions – one that legal professionals don"t have the comfort of interns at their offices all through the year, which the startup could fill, and the other being the fact that at this stage in a student"s career, there is a higher need to have more "contacts" than certificates and stipend. The concept as Rohan explains is purely based on a real-world scenario, where people need to "earn" their contacts.
Grayscale doesn’t charge any monetary fee for their services and Rohan says they are in the process of being incorporated as a non-profit company. Rohan explains that the way he looks at it, is just like a non-profit, but says he doesnt mean it is non-"gainful". They associate with other organizations (NGOs like Help Children of India, online journals, law websites etc.) and have various partnerships where they write research papers / articles and in turn the organizations they do it for promote their services. Also these arrangements are also not monetary in nature.
Currently they have over 40 students working with them from various law colleges from across the country and each associate of Grayscale works in his/her individual capacity remotely from their campuses. They are always connected via group mails and social networking sites which makes for an efficient and productive output.
Their major clients are lawyers who from time to time require help – which could be in the form of help research on some subject -- which Grayscale members would do it for free. “It takes time, to gain their confidence and we want to keep on building on it,” says Rohan. In return of the services provided by a team member the lawyer acknowledges the same via recommendations and sometimes by providing internship. They are presently giving suggestions and inputs to the members of the drafting committee of Cinematographic Act , 2010. He also shares that they have started Gray.Line, a forum where people can ask their legal queries like on how to file affidavit, what do people gain via PIL etc. They are reaching out people via social networking websites and other media partner websites. Grayscale has a pan-India team of law students and provides help in doing research work on PILs, laws and various state and central acts for practising legal professionals.
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Rohan and the Team Grayscale[/caption]Besides Rohan, there are other key people in the team who shoulder important responsibilities. The key team members are Adhiraj Gupta, the COO; Shivam Hargunani who has the post of Diversity Consultant, and who’s responsibility includes to work on getting quality partners for the venture. Nivedita Saxena is the Public Relations In-Charge who does her share of roping in clients and associates and Swati Sharma heads the HR function.
Since there is no revenue from Grayscale, this is not a career option but a pre-career option for Rohan. He feels the vagueness of it all keeps him going at this point. He says he will do a status check after 2 years, depending on where Grayscale stands at that point – to maybe pass the reins on to someone else.
Upon being asked how entrepreneurship is being perceived as a profession by lawyers, Rohan replies it in a succinctly - good business. It starts from the conception of an idea to the dissolution of a company which is always a good business for lawyers.