Internship @ Human Rights Law Network, Mumbai: The Best Thing is You Learn a Lot

Name. College. Year of Study

Lakshika Sachdev. D.E.S Navalmal Firodia Law College, Pune. Second Year.

Name of the organization. City

Human Rights Law Network (ICHRL), Mumbai.

Duration of Internship

10th May 2013- 22nd June 2013. 6 Weeks.

How big was the office? Team strength?

The office is quite small. Two sections were used by the lawyers and one was for the pantry and clerical work. The small room on top was occupied by the criminal lawyers.

A total of 9-10 lawyers worked with 2 other men for clerical work and 1 permanent volunteer and intern, each.

The most busy and crowded section is where IPT, child rights,WRI, etc. lawyers sit. People are friendly and lunch time is a time where everyone sits down together and everyone eats everyone “dabba”, like Kranti says. Also, interesting conversation happen over lunch time.

Usually you intern under/for a particular lawyer/ project but on some days you may be required to work for other lawyers as well. And, at times you may have to run to various courts for petty stuff like carrying files, giving the lawyers their coats when they forget it in office, etc. And, like every other intern, you need to type, print and Xerox stuff.

Application procedure. Internship contact details

The application procedure is very simple. You send in an email with your CV to [email protected] OR [email protected]. It’s difficult to expect a call soon from them but, you may/should call after about 3 days of applying for a follow up.

Your willingness and earnestness, apart from intelligence and resume can get you in.

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

Six days a week from 9.30 a.m. to 6.30 a.m. Saturdays are half days. If you’re out in a court or some other place for official place you may leave late or early as per the senior’s wish.

Accommodation: how, where, how was it?

I stayed at my own house (Navi Mumbai) which is about 40km from the office. I commuted by Mumbai locals and it took me about an hour and a half to reach office every day.

People from outside Mumbai may choose to stay in hostels and PGs available nearby though they are quite expensive.

First impression. First day, formalities etc.

I was quite nervous and excited on the first day. I reached before the lawyers (which happened on most days). There wasn’t much work on the first day but I visited the HC (to give print outs), and went to the Land Tribunals court to get a stay order on a case.

The advocate with me took me on a tour (literally) to the sessions and TADA court around till our case was called on.

I was asked to do infinitesimal research and the best part, I had to draft a divorce petition all by myself based on the pointers given to me and the sample draft.

But, climbing 4 floors up by stairs something that will put you off. The end to the day was quite warm. The head, Adv. Kranti won a landmark case and we were treated to ice cream sandwich by him.

Main tasks (in detail)

Interns working for IPT were into core research. Litigation interns were often sent to court to get adjournments at times. There was good amount of drafting, court visits and sometime, research.

Proof reading, looking for case laws was an important task of working on a case. At times, in the absence of lawyers, interns are expected to speak to clients and take down their issues.

Making calls to follow up on clients, organizational work for various events, etc.

The interns working for WJI wing are expected to work on cases based on family laws, Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, ToPA, etc.

IPT interns research on topics relating to the current subject of the IPT. Filing RTIs, receiving replies, etc is also a part of the internship.

Sometimes the work you do is reviewed in decent amount of time but at times the work submitted by you is reviewed REALLY late.

Work environment, people

Mornings are generally relaxed as lawyers usually don’t come in on time (most of them, most of the days). But when you’re asked to go to Court directly, you need to run around.

It’s usually a calm place where sometimes there’s lot of rush and sometimes too many people that you wouldn’t have the place to even sit. Once, there’s lot of work, you need to buck up. Its either very laid back and chilled or its hustle bustle.

The lunch hour is usually the time to socialize, though the friendly banter continues throughout the day. The environment is very healthy, partially because the head himself is pretty chilled out and partially because most of the members in the team are very young, upbeat and spirited.

The seniors are always willing to teach. Actually, it’s a place where they let you learn rather than spoon feeding you. Like they say, the best teaching is to not teach but let them learn.

Best things? (Nothing is all bad)

The best thing is you learn a lot (litigation interns). You get to learn a variety of things. All the people are very encouraging and easy going. Everyone has a cool head and there’s no horrible boss scenario.

You are usually not expected to stay back till late but you’re gonna feel like staying in office for longer hours a lot of times. Girls needn’t worry about their safety. It’s a safe place and everyone will be concerned about your safety.

Always. At times we went out for walks, shows, lunch, coffee, etc. during our breaks or post office hours to chill and bond. Lot of places around to hang out.

For coffee lovers, there’s starbucks at walking distance and girls, there’s a Louboutin store! You don’t need to run around for your certificate. A reminder one day before you leave is sufficient.

Bad things? (Nothing is all good)

Sometimes, like the end of the month, where the team is running around like headless chickens to meet deadlines, the work becomes impossible and hectic. Attention to many matters isn’t paid and adjournments are sought very often.

People usually come in late and you have to wait till the door is unlocked for you. You may be asked to print stuff for no reason, run down 4 floors to Xerox stuff and climb back. There was no stipend.

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

The building of the office is quite old but is next to the prestigious and classy BSE. There are lot of street food joints around with some amazing joints like Starbucks (the best part), Bade Miyyas, star café (economical), etc.

A lotta exotic sandwhiches were called in from Tea Pot. Other frequently called from places are Taste of Kerala (its on their speed dial) and Pratap (amazing Biryani).

We were allowed o plug in our headphones so music was our rescue. Most interns were from GLC, Mumbai and Jindal Global Law School.

Colleagues and co-interns were great and amicable people. Some were difficult to stand but some were really good.

Stipend/month.

No stipend. Commuting for permanent is covered and reimbursements given for official travel.

Anything else you’d like to tell

Come to this place only if you really want to learn and put in efforts. You will have times where you run out of work but at times you need to rush. HRLN offers good internships. People are laid back at times but are quite hard working.

I would rate the experience 7/10.

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