Internship Experience @ Dhruve Liladhar & Co, Mumbai: Learn how a litigation firm works

Intern Details

Avani Kashyap, Government Law College, Mumbai

Duration of the Internship

7th September, 2015- 30th January, 2016 (inclusive of two months of study leave)

Name of the Organization

Dhruve Liladhar & Co.

Selection Process

I was informed of my selection via the Placement Cell of my college after a two stage process of CV submission and an interview with a Partner and a Senior Associate.

I found that the firm was flexible with the joining dates, as I had informed them in the interview (in February) itself that I would able to join only in September.

Though I had secured the internship via the Placement Cell of my college, students wishing to apply may send their resumes to [email protected].

Additionally, I can say that having past experience in litigation is not at all an eliminating criterion for this firm, as I was selected despite having no previous internships to adorn my resume.

Although, my fellow interview candidates were grilled on their past internship experiences (the standard practice). Additionally, the firm prefers long term interns.

The Firm

The office of Dhruve Liladhar & Co. is located at Nariman Point.  The office has an associate pool, seven cabins currently accommodating six partners, the biggest one obviously being occupied by the firm’s Managing Partner.

It also has  four conference rooms, a lounge , and a somewhat decent library where sometimes interns can sit if the associate pool gets filled up and a pantry-cum-lunch room.

The firm currently has three senior associates, ten junior associates, about twenty other staff members (stenos, court clerks, receptionists, etc.) and a dedicated accounts department.

Accommodation

For Girls, PGs are the best option here as hostels don’t generally accommodate students for one or two months. You could look for PGs in Charni Road- Mumbai Central Area. The ones in Churchgate are priced exorbitantly.

However, if you don’t have any such issue, you could get a well furnished PG in Churchgate which would be very near to this office and you would have negligible conveyance issues. For guys, there is a hostel in Byculla where a lot of outstation interning students stay.

As I was already staying in a hostel in South Mumbai, accommodation and conveyance to and from work was not an issue for me.

Getting There

The easiest and the most cost friendly ways to reach this place are:

If you are on the western line, you can take a train to Churchgate. From Churgate station there is a share cab stand in front of Eros Cinema which will drop you right in front of the office building. You can also take bus no.100 starting from Eros the last stop of which is also the office building.

The bus and sharing cab cost exactly the same, however, the bus takes longer to reach as it takes a different route.  You can take the bus while returning if you don’t wish to walk to the share cab as the cab stand at Nariman Point is a bit away from the office. Share cabs cost you a mere 8 bucks.

For those on the Harbour and Central Line, you can take a train to CST and then a share cab from outside the station.

Even if you do not want a share cab, a normal cab would cost you around 30-40 bucks.

Timings

The office timing is from 10:00am – 6:30pm.

The firm is lenient about timings as I was permitted to attend my lectures and reach office at about 11:30 am (for which I had taken prior permission, of course!).

However, one obviously needs to schedule their lecture attendance as per the urgency of work in the morning on a given day. You can leave at 6:30 pm sharp if you have no urgent work pending.

First Day

On the first day of the internship, no paper formalities were required. The interns were introduced to the Partners and the other co-interns then explained the functioning of the firm to you.

The people at the firm were quite friendly. I was also fortunate to have a supportive team of co-interns to work along with. Since I was totally new to the field of litigation and had not studied CPC as yet, I required help at every front, which I was provided with in abundance.

The firm is run by a Gujarati-family consisting of Chandubhai Mehta, Darshan Mehta and Bhavik Mehta. Even among the associates and interns, you will find Gujuratis in majority.

You will also get to hear a lot of Gujarati here, because of which a non-Gujarati like me initially faced a lot of communication issues. However, after a couple of days I was relieved to see that this would not in any way affect my work here.

Food

Since majority or I could say almost all people come from their respective homes, they get their lunch boxes with them. However, since I stay in a hostel, I used a tiffin service.

There are quite a few options available here which you can ask about at the reception. The office does not have its own canteen, however, there is a common one on the 9th floor of the building which is pretty decent.

Note: You are not allowed to have non-veg food here.

The MOST Important Thing: The WORK

This firm is primarily a litigation firm.

So your work can range initially from summarizing pleadings, paginating, arranging documents, to drafting pleadings and statutory notices. Or you can say my work did.

If the associate has faith in you, he/she assigns you with drafting the petitions and ancillary documents. There is also conveyance work involving the real estate sector. I also had a first hand experience on seeing how a will is drafted.

If you are lucky enough, which I was, you get to do research and assist the associates on drafting opinions which range on a variety of subjects.

The best thing about this firm is if you have worked on a particular case, they take you with them to each and every hearing, counsel briefing session and client meeting.

Seeing how a case actually proceeds is amazing (if it does). The cases of this firm are mostly dealt with in the Bombay High Court and City Civil Court. The counsel-client-firm meetings give you a real insight on how this sector works real time.

There are also a couple of partners who look into corporate work. However, corporate is corporate litigation which generally involves matters in SAT.

And some work also includes general queries on company law among other things. However, I was not much involved in this part of the firm’s practice and hence you might get a better review of this from a person who worked on this.

As is the standard practice, your assignments would depend on how you work and on a bit of luck. I, myself, was put on 2 high profile cases – one involving financial fraud and the other a very famous case involving a ban on one of the best jockeys of the country.

I was fortunate enough when the Managing Partner of the firm directly involved me in one of his cases. Being able to discuss the intricacies of a particular Act with the Managing Partner of a good firm would obviously make any intern happy.

Also, all associates are quite appreciative when the required work is done. Hence, one could see that after the initial few days, work would start pouring in from each quarter and would be received with gratitude and appreciation on its completion.

The Negative

NO Stipend. The firm doesn’t even pay long term interns which I feel is a bit too harsh. However, the firm has an articleship programme wherein the articles are paid (albeit a negligible amount).

Also, I was lucky to have an associate who liked my work and kept involving me in different types of cases. However, if you are not, you might get stuck doing mostly clerical work. Some of my co interns had to face this.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would say that one has a great learning experience on how a typical litigation firm works. If you keep the stipend aside, Dhruve Liladhar and Co. is certainly a good place to begin for student wishing to venture into Litigation.

I hope this internship experience has been informative and may help future candidates make informed choices.

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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