Internship @ Parekh & Co., New Delhi: Classic Litigation Firm | Mandatory Meetings | No Stipend

Name of the organization. City

Parekh and Co., 30 School Lane, Bengali Market, New Delhi – 01.

Duration of the internship. No. of days/week. Timings

5th – 31st July, 2014. Timings: 9:30 AM – 7:00 PM, 7 days a week (Albeit they call you on Sundays only if there is an urgent assignment).

How big was the office? Team strength?

The office is housed in a three-storey building, comprising of around 25-30 advocates including the Partners.

Application procedure. Internship contact details

I had applied through the Internship and Placement Committee of our University. However, one can also send a mail to [email protected] (Mr. Sumit Goel is the person in-charge for internships).

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?

Accommodation in Delhi is a subjective commodity – depending upon the resources at hand a person has, the facilities available vary vastly. As for me, I stayed in a “modest” (Yes, this is sarcastic; I got an immensely sour deal.) PG in Laxmi Nagar.

Nonetheless one can easily find PGs at reasonable rents in this area since there are a lot of coaching centres in Laxmi Nagar, thus the population of this area comprises majorly of students.

First impression. First day, formalities etc.

The firm prima facie came across as a classic litigation firm. There was a lot of work for everyone, but to the contrary the associates turned out to be extremely amiable and helpful.

On the first day we were required to fill in all our details in a register at the reception, and asked to go through files which we could read and ask the associate in-charge (i.e. Mr. Sumit Goel) if he needed any help.

The interns were seated on the first floor of the building. The floor was in fact meant for client conferences and doubled as a lunch room for the associates; as such we had to often make room for these activities.

Main tasks

As said earlier, Parekh and Co being a typical lit firm had a lot of work related to all fields of law. The interns were entrusted with rudimentary research work, proof reading of legal documents, making a list of dates and accompanying the associates (if required) to court proceedings (Supreme Court, Delhi High Court and the National Green Tribunal being the primary ones).

Also, there was this tradition of a meeting which was convened twice (sometimes thrice) in a day by Mr. Sameer Parekh (the Managing Partner). The agenda primarily used to be a summary discussion of entailing work each day (in the mornings) and in the evening another discussion of the day’s work followed.

It was mandatory for interns to attend these meetings (since they had no system of keeping record of our ir/regularity in attendance; these meetings seemed to be a way to ensure our presence).

I was assigned myriad of work, from as exotic as intellectual property to as banal and mundane as civil procedure. During my stay, I also worked on special laws such as the National Highways Act and the Land Acquisition Act. These were two statutes I had not yet encountered at my previous internships; making the work thus all the more challenging and interesting.

If an associate was impressed by your quality of work, he/she could specifically ask for you every time they had some research assignment (not to blow my own trumpet – but this happened with me; luckily!). I was primarily involved in some major cases concerning criminal law and arbitration law with a couple of associates.

Apart from in-office work, there were various conferences with senior advocates at Mr. Pravin H. Parekh’s office-cum-residence at Neeti Bagh; and this is what Sundays were for.

Although these were optional to attend for interns; they were an excellent chance to meet and interact (being an intern, this part occasionally turned out to be an eyewash) with luminaries such as Mr. Shyam Diwan, Mr. Rohinton Nariman (as he then was; for a very brief period), Mr. Arvind Datar and none other than the illustrious Mr. Parekh himself!

Work environment, people

The associates at Parekh and Co. were helpful and easily approachable, and were genuinely nice to us. It was a very calm place to finally settle down to work in, even though the workload with each associate is pretty hectic.

A couple of associates, who were fresh out of law school, had joined that month and due to renovation they had to sit among the interns; so I (rather, all the interns) had a very healthy interaction with them. So much so, sometimes they even joined us in chilling out!

Mr. Sameer Parekh as the “boss” never acted like an authoritarian; and the same could be said for every other senior associate. Mr. Parekh was a cheerful person with a good sense of humour and an even better grasp over the law – two qualities which, I believe, are sine qua non for a successful lawyer.

Every associate was treated as part of a large family, inasmuch any associate’s birthday was celebrated by the entire staff (cakes and everything) and the interns were also invited to such revelries.

Best things? (Nothing is all bad)

The work environment is simply outstanding, and so is the work ethic. There was always something new to do, even if that meant going to watch Supreme Court proceedings for various matters. This looked like a firm which had what it takes to nurture and nourish a fresh graduate to excellence.

Bad things? (Nothing is all good)

Space crunch due to the exorbitant number of interns and associates sitting in one place; and the fact that Saturdays used to be very monotonous as there was little or no work for the interns (and the associates), yet one had to sit all through the office hours in the spirit of regularity (if one cares to maintain such a spirit, that is).

What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues

Fortunately I had a group of pretty congenial people as co-interns and therefore time went by in a jiff when we were together. We used to walk up to either Bengali Market or Connaught Place (both situated at walking distances from the office) for lunch.

Bengali Market is famous for its mouth-watering chat, so we often strolled off in the evenings to have some. Saturdays were dedicated to Dominos’ and/or McDonalds’ deliveries, as a result there used to be an influx of pizzas, burgers and what-not.

Stipend/month

None.

Anything else you’d like to tell; Biggest lessons

All work and no play maketh a lawyer’s life lacklustre; given the workload and pressure this profession enjoins it is beneficial to have a relaxed workplace atmosphere.

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Comments Till Now

  1. I interned there last year, I must say that the associates are a friendly bunch, so is the case with senior lawyers as well, albeit when I interned they hardly had time for us as there were too many of us. What is problematic about Parekh & Co. is their unwillingness to pay even a dime to their intern, this is despite the fact that you may and most probably will be asked to work on a Sunday (lunch is provided but thats it). The firm cannot deny that a large part of its work is essentially being done by interns for free and this non nonsensical argument that interns learn under them by working doesn’t really hold water as rarely the work is such that they need to consult the senior extensively, more often than not minimal instructions are more than sufficient. With a firm such as Parekh & Co. which is thriving this attitude with regard to seeing intern as nothing more than as a source of free labor raises a question in with regard to ethics of these lawyers. They file PILs for the poor, become amicus in big cases, if all this is done with bona fide intent then what is the harm in extending some amount of generosity to the interns especially when you have the audacity to ask them to work 7 days a work. I am pretty sure a small remuneration wont bankrupt them but will definitely help interns who have to stretch their budget to the last just in securing a decent accommodation, food and travelling to and fro from the office.

    What is more problematic is that some of my fellow law students would only look at this comment with disgust as they think getting an internship is a privilege and asking for stipend is contemptuous. Well I don’t think so an internship is a mutual relation, we learn they get work done, they pay first year associates who barely know anything more than us, pay us less but do pay us.

    And please dont see the money as my last straw, I ask for it because I think I deserve it as a matter of right not as some charity.

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