Internship @ Dua Associates, Mumbai: Lots of Learning; No Stipend

I interned at Dua Associates, Mumbai this time in May. The only reason I applied here was I wanted to roam around Bombay with my friends (in fact, my friends even rejected the internships they got in Delhi to be in Bombay with me!).

So yeah, I was thinking the least about my internship when I first came here. Dua was going to be just another office for me, getting bored, MAYBE learn something and make new friends.

But it turned out to be so much more. I was assigned to the corporate department, directly under the partner, Mr Vinod Joseph. He is one of the best bosses you can ever hope to work under (and I’m not very generous with praises, mind you).

The first day he asked me about myself, why I’m named thus, what do I like about NUJS, about my hometown etc.

He asked me where I was staying and if I was comfortable (not that he would do anything if I was not, but still, the fact that someone in the posh hot-shot office cared mattered a lot to me on my first day there).

Work was way above average at Dua Mumbai, most of what they asked me to draft/summarize/write was actually used that very day to close the deal with one of the clients. I was even made to listen to one of the client-lawyer conversations on phone and jot down important points from the talk.

Another senior associate of Dua, Sugandha Kamal, asked me to download all April 2013 notifications from SEBI and RBI websites, and summarize them in the executive summary format.

Over period of 4 weeks, I learnt a lot. More than I ever expected to. I researched and collected data regarding all licenses required to open a food storage business in Mumbai, prepared a table for the same, and maintained a table of stamp duties for different types of sale deeds, assignment agreement, master rental agreements and their respective schedules across the country in different states.

(Do you know there’s a difference of Rs 300 between the stamp duty for the same document in Assam and Madhya Pradesh? Now I know where to sign a lease on movables!).

dua associates internship, mumbai law firm

I understood (or at least tried to) the workings of various agreements signed by different companies in different capacities (like ESOP agreements, service level agreements etc.). More than anything, I think I learnt how to read an agreement properly and whether it actually contains what it says. I realized that this comes in very useful, even while reading statues and articles, where one learns to separate unnecessary terms from the actual crux of the matter.

Work timings are unpredictable, some days I got work at 6.35 pm and was sitting in the office till 8! But I think that was because they knew I was living close by and can manage to work late. But the work starts late, around 11 – 11.30 am. Most of the associates started late, though Vinod always came in at 9.30 sharp.

Work environment was very formal, everyone had lunch at their desks itself. There was no separate lunch room (though there was a small room which the office boys use to have lunch, where we interns also had lunch some days). There is a Bank of India canteen right across which provided a proper filling thali for a mere 40 rupees!

But we were allowed to go out for lunch (if we asked VJ, and not SK). Offices are at Free Press House, there is a direct bus from Churchgate station (Western Line) to free press house (6 bucks ticket!), though I was staying with relatives some 10 minutes away so I usually walked down. From CST station (Central/Harbour Line) also am sure there are buses, though I always took a cab.

I was also taken out for lunch one day at Hotel Marine Plaza for a lunch buffet with my ‘team’ consisting of Vinod, Sugandha, a new associate and another intern (though don’t bank on this because I think it was more for the new associate to feel comfortable than for us interns!)

But because of GLC, Mumbai’s no-cap-on-attendance rule, you almost invariably find one long term intern at all the law firms in Mumbai. In fact, Vinod even asked me why I was not interning for 6 weeks instead of 4! So in Mumbai, the longer you work the better. Otherwise, work is fun (especially when you have a fun-loving co-intern with you!)

Sadly, you don’t get a stipend, just a certificate saying you seem ‘intelligent, hardworking and eager to learn’ same old stuff. But this internship taught me a lot and I’m glad I came here.

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