Internship Experience @ Mento Associates, Bangalore : Court Visits, Drafting Work, Rated 10/10

For instance, if a couple’s heading for divorce but one of them WANTS to make it work, would you or would you not recommend that they go in for Mediation?

Name of the organisation. City

I interned at Mento Associates, Bangalore from May- June.

This was my first internship (I’ll admit, having just completed second year, I was jittery since everyone else had already done 2, 3, 4 internships! What is with this world, or maybe it’s just me!)

How big was the office? Team strength?

Now, Mento Associates is this firm located in Jayangar 9th Block, Bangalore but don’t be deceived. It is downright brilliant.

Mr. Mento is the Senior Counsel with three other associates under him and the ever dependable Pradeep.

One of the associates happened to be a fresher out of ULC, so I settled in right away!

Application procedure. Internship contact details

I sent in my CV and a covering letter. About a week after, details were exchanged. Now, this firm asks for a confirmation call a week
before the date your internship commences. It’s pertinent that you oblige.

You can check out their website on www.mentoassociates.com, contact the firm on 08026640172 or just drop them an email on [email protected]

Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings

The internship was for a duration of about four weeks. Duration was May 6 – June 4.

I attended for six days a week from 9.30AM- 6PM. They’re sticklers for time, so irrespective of where you live during the internship, ensure to report to work latest by 9.45AM , or prepare to be sweetly reprimanded (Sir lets you down real easy, there’s no yelling and screaming, not to worry).

Nobody cares if you’re late but it honestly doesn’t set a good impression on Mr. Mento (and you really do want to impress him). Beware! If it’s a court day or there’s important work, be prepared to work your socks off past 6.

Now, while that may all sound very scary and oh, dear! Why would anybody be such a workaholic ! They understand the concept of a
personal life. All I had to do was drop in an email, sms or call them up and request for the day off.

I learnt, the hard way, to finally pick up my phone and tell Mr. Mento I’d be uber late. Informing him saved me, on several counts. No matter the reason, if requested, I was granted a half day off.

They did not mind one bit. In fact, they never even assigned me any work beyond 2 PM the one time I requested to be let off early.

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?

I live in Hebbal thereabouts and the traffic is absolutely crazy in Bangalore especially on Palace Road and Nrupatunga Road. I didn’t mind one bit (plus living away from home just didn’t sit with my family or me), although I cannot boast to have been accustomed to it (what happened to Bangalore!) Jayangar is, how shall I say this, just about 6 kms from Bannerghatta (which for most of us is outskirts).

Ensure you have a vehicle to chauffeur you but be warned it’s expensive by auto. The best alternative are the Buses- especially the BIAS ones, especially if you live far away. The buses are extremely punctual- on the dot MOST times or off by just about 3 mins! No jokes!

The firm’s walkable from eateries like UpSouth, and Bangalore Central’s just a few steps away. There are a bunch of other places, especially SLV , where you get your vada’s, lemon rice and what not! They’re very famous for their generous servings and sumptuous food.

The more usual haunts are MG Road, which is anywhere between 15 mins to 45 mins away depending on traffic. Avoiding peak hours was a challenge- finally accomplished!

First impression. First day, formalities etc.

I walked into this wooden floored, intimidating looking office. I nearly left because I was so very nervous- what was it going to be like? Who will I interact with? What will they make me do! Man, I do NOT want to sit and research all day! What if he yells at me? – You know, the usual trail of questions that’ll encompass your mind and drain you of energy.

So, I sat down in those chairs which looked like the ones in the lounge in the Bangalore Airport and prepared to make an utter fool of myself. The person (whom I later learned to be the superman who got everything done) at the table ushered me in, the associate ushered me further in and all went smoothly. Mr. Mento was welcoming and warm, as were the other associates.

It was so very homely! They understood that I’d just finished my second year and this was my first internship. He gave me this fat file (Yay! My first assignment! ) and told me to read through it- I was gleeful on discovering it to be family law related (just the cup of tea I had ordered, or in this case, requested!)!

Main tasks

This firm indulged me in Property Opinions. My first exposure to them made me want to crawl up in a corner and stay there till it all the bad demons went away.

Then, by my third opinion, I began to enjoy them (minus the Kannada documents since my Kannada is less than average). Usually when I hit a wall, I just had to swivel my chair, tap an associate on the shoulder and make the “I’m in so much trouble, save me!” face. It worked, too.

They’d take time out to decipher the Kannada documents and even showed me how to identify the EC’s, RTC’s and one document from another. Yes, they are THAT helpful, even with their workload! There were deeds and agreements, notices and more notices. It was enthralling!

Apart from that, there was grueling research which made me realize Manu isn’t all it’s cut out to be but it definitely can save you on several counts. Any task assigned to me was crisp, short and precise.

There could be NO room for error, and in this firm, grammar counts. They are meticulous to say the least, and a mis-type of ‘purchasers’ instead of ‘purchaser’ will make you cringe for being so horribly careless.

I was given case after case- read the deed, draft the notice, point out ambiguities, what stance should we take? Which court do we approach? What does S. 151 of the CPC state?

Sometimes, I was asked to read through an entire act or certain sections of (Negotiable Instruments, Domestic Violence, parts of the CPC). What REALLY matters is that your personal opinion COUNTS.

For instance, if a couple’s heading for divorce but one of them WANTS to make it work, would you or would you not recommend that they go in for Mediation?

I was stunned by how important simple things affect your judgement of a party, especially matrimonial ones.

Usually, breaking my head over remembering important provisions (no, don’t worry, this isn’t an exam that you have to remember sections) was followed by relating the provisions to a case. Like, 498A I.P.C. would, obviously, apply for cases screaming cruelty.

Court visits were my favorite! I absolute love the High Court, it is simply beautiful. I was told how to look up the cause lists, plead before a Judge (not play on the mobile because the issue was yet to be called out).

In fact, they taught me even work that ideally a court-clerk would do. It was important to them that I knew how to get around, the firm simply does not believe in having someone run around for these jobs. To them, it is of utmost importance that the concerned associate be aware of everything related to the case.

Opening files was another important task- mess that up, and everyone will be hunting for the file in question and you honestly do not want that blame on your head.

Work environment, people

Needless to say, the work environment is warm and friendly. There is always an aura of formality running the place during work hours, as is essential, but when it’s break-time, laughter echoes in every corner of the firm. I reckon I was taken about seven impromptu treats just because an associate forgot his/her lunch or simple because we felt like it.

I was not an intern. To them, I was a colleague. This seriously helps boost confidence levels. They are approachable for everything and anything- even relationship advice (yes, yes, the associates and I clicked so well I got to hear about their kids and wives and mothers and doting fathers!)

More than anything, if I got confused or seem to lose/lack confidence in the task at hand, they did what they could to help. No, don’t get your hopes up. This didn’t mean they did my work for me. They never even hinted me. They just talked it out with, especially when I was confused till I sorted my head out enough to know exactly what to look for.

Every time I hit a massive brick wall, I’d ideally go to Mr. Mento and he’d tell me what to do. Yes, he talked it out with me too. It really helped.

It’s really simple. In college, you’re assigned a moot problem. You discuss it with your friends and eventually know the path you ought to be hunting in. They’re just like that here. They’re colleagues (bosses when required). Every assignment is different from the other in
several ways- so there’s no overlap and there’s a LOT of exposure.

Best and the bad things?

I must be honest, unfortunately, but there aren’t many places to chill at here. When you’re really late and have failed to inform Sir, you get a “Be here at 9.30 from tomorrow, alright?” For me, it was humiliating to be tardy. Being let down easy can really prick. Lesson learnt.

I was super lazy a bunch of days, absolutely refused to be meticulous. Every error was caught, talk about going tomato red in the face! Sir is this cool, calm, composed boss who has never lost his temper and seldom gets upset. When he was upset, though, all we really wanted to do was make sure that mistake was never repeated again.

It’s how you look at it. Strive to get the work done, don’t leave anything pending. You do NOT ever have to take work home, and you might get the odd email late at night but it isn’t required to be attended to at that hour- it’s just work for the next day.

On important days, there’s a priority list. You MUST get that work done WITHIN the stipulated time. I’ll leave the or else to your imagination. Most days, I didn’t have deadlines to meet. When I did, though, there were clear-cut instructions on how important it is to
finish the task within the allotted time (if only because 1. The client is painful; 2. Court date is nearing; 3. There’s a LOT more work to be done).

It was never stressful but a wonderful learning process. After hearing all the tasks and drafting and research most of my friends were subject to, this firm and all they assigned me assured me that not every internship is full of nitty gritty research/drafting.

Stipend/ month

None

 

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