Internship Experience @ Advocate Rituraj Murlidhar Meena, Gujarat High Court: Introduction to Drafting, Learning is Ensured

Name of the Intern

Saumia Thomas, 2nd year BA LLb, Baroda School of Legal Studies, Maharaja Sayajirao University

Interned with:

Advocate Rituraj M Meena, Chamber 215, Gujarat High Court

Associates: Adv. Niyati Jhuthani, Adv. Dhruvik Patel & Adv. Dimple Thaker

Duration of Internship

October 5, 2015 – November 5, 2015

Where can you find him?

Location of Office: 106-107, Malhar Flats, Beside Sola Railway Crossing, Sola, Ahmedabad

The office is sufficiently spacious with each advocate having his own comfy cabin.

There is a separate reception area, space for file storage and a pantry.

Arrangements are made for the interns to have a comfortable work space in either of the cabins.

Working Hours

Monday to Friday – The interns had to reach Gujarat High Court at 11 am and be present there till the concerned matters wound up which usually lasted till 4:30 pm, after which we used to reach office.

The interns usually worked till 8:00 or 8:30 pm. I, along with a few other interns, usually stayed late if there was any pending work, though there was no compulsion.

The advocates generally used to close down at 9:40 pm.

Saturday: Since it’s a Court holiday, we had to reach office by 12 noon. Generally the office closes by 6 pm on Saturdays.

You can wake up late and leave office early enough to catch some of the attractions before they close down in Ahmedabad.

Caution: You may be asked to work on a Sunday for a few hours!!

Commute & Accommodation

Ahmedabad has a very efficient Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS), hence commuting is not a herculean task. Catch a Sola route BRTS bus from the BRTS station nearest to your place and it will drop you right in front of the Gujarat High Court.

Both the High Court and the advocate’s office are within walking distance of each other but in the scorching heat of Ahmedabad one prefers to travel by shared autos which don’t charge much. Thankfully there is a BRTS station near to the office.

Finding accommodation nearby was quite a hassle at the start. I had joined this internship with 2 of my friends. Luckily, when we went to finalize the internship we found that a regular co-intern was looking for roommates for a flat she was about to rent and we readily accepted her offer to be her flatmates.

I would recommend renting a place nearby the High Court either in Sola, Gotha or Thaltej areas since any farther and the irregular bus timings might mess up your schedule for the day. Interacting with the other interns at Court is quite helpful in this matter. Also office members are ready to help you out.

Internship Contact Details

I got this internship through personal contact. One can mail Adv. Rituraj Meena at [email protected] or [email protected]

First Meeting

When I went to finalize the internship, I could not meet Mr. Meena since he was out of town. Instead I met Adv. Ms. Niyati Juthani, Mr. Meena’s junior who interacted freely with us and introduced other associates and the regular interns to us.

She enquired about my past internships to get an idea of the exposure and the skills I might have acquired.

She is very passionate and gratified with her work. She advised me to bring along a laptop which turned out to be quite essential. When she told me to expect a variety of tasks including drafting,

I breathed a huge sigh of relief since I was dreading it to be another one of those internships where one is left observing things or merely reading the case files or handed over clerical work or asked to study some acts and ultimately offered no practical skills.

Thankfully it was not so.

Mr. Meena seemed quite calm and patient on the phone and I had expected him to be quite aged since he is a panel advocate of many reputed companies.

I was pleasantly surprised to meet an enthusiastic lawyer in his late 30’s with a chilled attitude.

WORK: What is to be expected 

We, interns, received different set of work from each advocates and got a chance to deal with matters of different nature. There was no suffocating work load.

Work was handed out with sufficient time to be completed.

At the onset we were asked to prepare some briefs for Mr. Meena for the upcoming matters in courts so that he could have a quick glance at the important aspects of the cases.

We were also briefed about the basic court procedures and the courts were assigned among the interns the previous day so as to inform Mr. Meena or the concerned advocate as and when our matters came up for hearing.

We were required to be present in Court during the mentioning which took place sharp at 11 am when the Court convened and at 2:30 after the lunch break if our matters were still pending.

We also learned the basic tasks such as pulling up the daily board involving cases of Mr. Meena from the Gujarat High Court’s website and getting well versed with the display board of the Courts.

Getting acquainted with the entire marvelous structure and outlay of the High Court took a few days.

Even then we had quite a few confusing moments.

The High Court staff canteen holds a simple, satisfying menu for lunch. We tried almost all the dishes on the menu.

We became well acquainted with the staff and were brave enough to tell them to fill the much needed evening coffee cup to the brim.

I was asked to draft many petitions especially First Appeals of Land Acquisition Reference Cases, and needless to say got well-versed with the different contentions used in such First Appeals and the idea behind them.

Niyati Ma’am gave us a quick brief of the various miscellaneous civil and criminal and other applications filed in the High Court and their purposes when she realized we didn’t have a clue of all the acronyms used for the applications.

I also got familiar with drafting miscellaneous civil applications for restoration and early hearing.

Mr. Meena also conducts a seminar once every month in some institutes regarding various legal provisions.

During our internship, the seminar was held by the Institute of Company Secretaries Of India during which Mr. Meena highlighted the important practical aspects of criminal and arbitration law i.e. the features and the procedures under CRPC, Arbitration Act and the writs.

It is an excellent opportunity for those who are seeking an introduction to drafting and also perfect to hone up drafting skills of various civil and criminal matters.

They try and give you work you are comfortable with or the work you need more exposure to. You can easily discuss and get the choice of matters you want to work with including drafting legal opinions and researching.

A main know-how, one needs to acquire there is to operate the complex office printer, without which you will always be calling Adv. Dhruvik for assistance.

Free and open communication is promoted so that they can get an idea of how beneficial would be the tasks assigned to you.

Learning is ensured here. One thing that comes across is that Mr. Rituraj Meena is genuinely interested and involved in educating his interns about law and imparting his knowledge.

He is quite opinionated in some matters and communicates freely without any inhibitions. He is accepting of all things except repeated signs of tardiness.

All associates there are quite helpful and friendly who are eager to teach.

The lunch break talks in the chambers and elsewhere gives you a peek about the judges’ approach towards cases and also about the general opinion of the advocates about the most respected and admired judges and their quirks.

These are also the moments where the conversation ranges from the news, current matters, comical impressions of certain people to movies.

If you are a keen observer you just might pick up some of the undercurrents and the relation peculiarities amongst the people working there including the regular interns.

It provides some amusement alongside work and gives you a peek into office relations. I had a great group of co-interns with me which certainly made office and Court more bearable and fun.

Things that could have been better

If you live too far from Sola area, the bus schedule can at times mess up your schedule which happened to me quite a few times.

There is a lack of a good office pantry.

Getting a cup of tea at 6 pm made in the office kitchen would have been great.

But alas mostly one had to walk to the tea stall which is actually just a dozen steps away from the office, so not that much of a hindrance.

Oh, also you don’t get paid. Stipend as always would have been appreciated. All in all I can’t complain much. It was a great work environment which gave me a fair insight into legal tasks. If one genuinely wants to learn things, this is certainly a good choice.

Trivia

Adv. Niyati Jhutani is a complete foodie with a vivid love for books and an excellent conversationalist. So in case you have a hobby of reading you may ask her for books and be prepared to get a huge collection.

She will recommend the best places for eating delicacies which will indeed turn out to be a treat for your taste buds.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

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