Internship Experience @ JSA, Gurgaon: Balanced Environment, Stipend of Rs. 1500/Week

Intern Details

Anonymous

Law firm details: name, city, office address & firm profile

J. Sagar Associates, Gurgaon

Located at: Sandstone Crest, Opposite Park Plaza Hotel, Sushant Lok, Phase 1, Gurgaon – 122009.

JSA is among the big six law firm of India with two offices in the National Capital Region – one in New Delhi and the other in Gurgaon. It has offices in four other cities as well.

While the New Delhi office is understood to broadly be a litigation practice, the Gurgaon office is primarily a corporate practice. Abundant information about the firm is available on website of the firm HERE.

Application procedure & internship contact details

I sent my internship application to [email protected]

Mrs. Anjum Shakeel from the HR department of JSA manages the internships at New Delhi and Gurgaon offices. She sits in the Gurgaon office.

The JSA website also has a separate section that details the application process and lets you apply using an online form as well.

Be careful while choosing which office you are applying to because, as I said above, New Delhi office mostly does only litigation work and the Gurgaon office primarily deals with corporate work.

Based on my understanding sending your application through your university’s placement committee does not have any important benefit. To the best of my knowledge, all personal applications generally get a reply from the firm and placement committee applications are not treated preferentially.

However, it is imperative that you apply many months prior to the internship period. This is partly because they give careful consideration to personal applications and therefore internship slots get filled up earlier at JSA than at other law firms.

JSA must be given credit for their efficient internship selection process. I got my internship offer in a week’s time from my internship application. Indeed, they are very accommodative as well.

I had first applied to the New Delhi office without knowing that that office is primarily litigation based. Mrs. Anjum later happily changed my office to Gurgaon when I requested to be moved to the Gurgaon office because I was not looking to intern under a litigation team.

Duration of internship

I interned at JSA Gurgaon for a period of three weeks.

Usually they give internship offers for a period of four weeks and so was I. However, I got my internship reduced to a period of three weeks due to personal reasons.

The HR at JSA is very helpful and accommodative and my request was approved in no time and without questions.

Office timings & days of work per week

The official office timings were 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. I usually would reach the office by 9:30 AM and so would other interns and all lawyers at the office. JSA Gurgaon timings are much more relaxed as compared to other big six law firms.

During my entire internship, I never stayed back beyond 9:30 PM. That was mostly because all the associates at the firm are very relaxed about how much interns work and usually ask them to leave by 9 PM unless some time pressed task needs to be completed.

It’s a five day work week at JSA Gurgaon – Saturdays and Sundays are off. I was never asked to work on weekends during my internship, although one weekend I had to work for about two hours from home.

To my best recollection, even other interns were never asked by their associates to come to work on weekends.

First impression & first day formalities

The JSA Gurgaon office is very well made and is a tall building of seven floors and a basement. When I entered the office I was handed over a stationery kit by the receptionist and asked to proceed to the basement and wait for Mrs. Anjum Shakeel.

Very soon she came to the waiting area of the basement and gave to me a brief profile of the firm and made me sign a confidentiality agreement. After then she assigned me to a Mergers and Acquisitions team per my request and asked me to proceed to the room where the interns sit and wait for being called by my associates.

And fairly soon I got a call from associates of my team who then showed me around the office for a while and then gave me my first task.

My first impression therefore was very balanced. This being my third law firm internship, I was not awestruck by what I saw because I was already expecting it.

But for first time interns the first impression of JSA Gurgaon will be of being perplexed by the eccentricity of the office and the professionalism with which everyone at the office conducts themselves.

Main tasks

Throughout my internship I was assigned diverse tasks, one of the most important among them was drafting board resolutions. I was also involved in carrying out due-diligence for a proposed acquisition of a company and was asked to draft parts of the due-diligence report.

I was also involved in the process of incorporating a new company and was asked to prepare a regulatory brief on the subject along with helping in preparing various documents in relation to this incorporation.

Other than that my associates would regularly ask me to carry out general corporate law research and occasionally ask me to proof-read and cross reference various agreements.

I think it would be a fair generalization that the work delegated to interns at JSA Gurgaon is balanced – often you get really interesting and challenging work and more often than not you also get monotonous work such has proof reading.

Although, a few times some of my co-interns had got clerical work such as typing – but that was rare.

Work environment, people and office infrastructure

The interns are asked to sit in the basement of the office. While most of the associates are seated on the second floor, some also sit from third to fifth floor outside their partner’s cabin.

Sixth floor of the office is where a dedicated Costa Coffee café is located along with the cafeteria of the office where everyone goes to eat lunch and snacks. All the interns are also given coupons worth Rupees Four Hundred per week redeemable at the Costa Coffee café at the sixth floor of the office.

During my orientation itself I was told that although I have been allotted to a specific team, I will have to work for any associate who needs assistance. Associates who need help of an intern call the telephone at intern workstation and ask for free interns – and we were expected to get work through this process.

And therefore much of the work I did came from associates that I did not know and had no equation with. In my experience if an associate doesn’t know an intern well enough they find it difficult to delegate important work to them – and therefore this system doesn’t work too well from an intern’s perspective.

The associates at the firm generally are very helpful and take the time to explain what is expected of you. And all of them were approachable as well. Although I hardly ever received feedback on my work or was told how I could improve the quality of my work.

There are close to ten computers at the intern workstation and although some of them are very old they are operable and do the job.

Best things

One of the best things about this internship was the quality of work I got to do. That is not to say that I did not get any tedious work at all – but very often I would get interesting and challenging work. Being involved in fundamental processes such as incorporation of a company was also very exciting.

Another important feature that deserves mention is the chilled-out atmosphere of the law firm. On my other internships I have generally faced strict deadlines and generally the attitude of the lawyers has been to classify all the work as urgent.

But associates here were more or less chilled-out and would let me know if the task being delegated is not urgent. The relaxed office timings for interns also left enough time in the evening to meet up with friends.

Bad things

The interns are seated in the basement and all the lawyers occupy first to fifth floor.

This meant that the interns were hardly supervised and had close to no interaction with associates or partners at the firm except the usual interaction to get work from them. A week into the internship this indeed became very frustrating.

bcThere was an overflow of interns during my last week of internships and there were more interns than computers at the workstation. Sharing computers made working quite difficult and at times irritating.

There would also be days when I would have no work at all and I would spend hours just reading the news or passing my time.

Stipend

JSA Gurgaon pays Rupees One Thousand Five Hundred per week as stipend to the interns. My stipend cheque was given to me on my last day of internship along with my internship certificate.

This is better than other firms’ practice of sending these two through post many weeks after the internship is over.

Biggest lessons

The biggest take-away from this internship for me was learning that maintaining a healthy work-life balance in a corporate law firm is indeed possible.

Tips to do well at this internship

The most important advice I can give to a prospective intern at JSA Gurgaon is to strategize from the first day to develop an equation with one particular associate (or perhaps two), ideally from the team you’ve been assigned to.

This will help you because you want to avoid being free and getting monotonous work by random associates who call up the intern workstation for free interns. If you develop a relationship with one particular associate, he or she will gradually delegate important and challenging work to you and keep you occupied throughout your internship.

This will also prove useful for internship feedback and evaluation of your performance.

At the end of the internship you are supposed to submit a worksheet detailing all the work you have done during the internship. It also has to be signed by all the lawyers whose work you have done.

Make sure you note down the work you do at the end of each day, otherwise filling this form on the last day can be a very difficult proposition and you would miss out on filling in work you have done.

Accommodation & commuting

The JSA Gurgaon office is located in Sushant Lok and is right across the street from Huda City Centre metro station on the yellow line. Therefore it is very easy to commute to the office.

During my internship I was staying at a relative’s place. However, most of my co-interns were staying at PGs in Gurgaon and their experience at the PGs was fairly good. I understand that PGs are very easily and abundantly available in Sushant Lok.

Parting remarks

This internship should be your first choice if you want weekends off and want to have time left in the evenings for family or friends while at the same time also want to get good exposure to a big law firm.

The work is good and diverse, but you would not be pushed to your limits. More often than not you will have to take initiative yourself to get work delegated to you.

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