Place of internship: Vaish Associates, Advocates; New Delhi (Mohan Dev Building Office, Connaught Place)
How big was the office? The office size is neither extremely huge nor very compact. It is decent enough. Going by the name and fame of the firm, one should not expect it to be furnished with wooden floor or wooden walls.
They believe in the idea of Simple Living & High Thinking, making their deeds count more than their words.
The interns at Vaish Associates were provided sufficient space to work and all worked together in a separate L-shaped library cum. study area. It was equipped with a few desktops and of course, you had the option to work on your laptop as well, wi-fi/wired LAN connectivity being provided by them.
The interns area was not really adjacent to where the associates sat, so you could avail your own opportunity and privacy to crack some jokes, talk about each other colleges’ and chit chat to relax and take small short breaks.
There were like some 20 people working, out of which 2 were partners, 1 Principal Associate, 3-4 Senior Associates and some 8-10 Associates.
Application process: I had applied through one of my contacts. The majority of them interning were 4th year students. But they do prefer taking 2nd and 3rd year and even LL.M. students as well even through normal application process.
There is no seniority based discrimination as such but a lot may/may not depend on which college you belong to at the time of applying. Interning in your 1st year over there just makes no sense altogether.
Duration/timings: I interned for an exact period of 4 weeks. They would even take interns for 3 weeks but again it depends, there is no assurance on that part.
Moreover, there would be very little to gain if you intern for just three weeks. You would make neither substantial contribution to the organization and you would hardly gain anything.
The working days are from Monday to Saturday except that 2nd and 4th Saturdays along with all Sundays are off.
You would never be required to work on those two Saturdays and the Sundays unless there is an extremely grave emergency and you yourself are so willing to forego this one day off.
Sometimes, it depends on the concerned Associate as well.
The official timings are from 9:45 to 19:00 Hours. You are expected to be there latest by 10:15 which otherwise would create a bad impression, they do keep a note of your punctuality.
Normally, the working hours would extend by an hour or so but in one out of twenty times, you might have to stay beyond 20:30 Hours as well.
Accommodation: I had a relative in Delhi, so accommodation was not a problem. The office was 10 minutes-walking-distance away from the Rajeev Chowk (Connaught Place) Metro Station, which is perhaps the only Metro Station where trains from all the five lines cross each other.
So, even if you are staying in the farthest of areas, you just need to search for the nearest metro station and then reaching to the final destination would not be a problem at all.
First impression about the internship? The first day is basically spent in completing introduction forms, confidentiality contracts, getting laptop settings synchronized with the available wi-fi connection, talking to co-interns and making yourself accustomed to the place, environment.
Above all, on the first or the second day as per availability, you compulsorily have an interaction with the Principal Associate who would allot you a project/presentation/research paper to be made/submitted at the end of your internship on some current burning issue, something on which even the associates are working day in and day out.
This indeed serves a dual purpose, the more is the amount of effort you put in the project, the more the firm gains from you and lastly, it hones your own personal skill as well.
You work and make submission on a critical issue which either you never worked on because you thought you were not qualified/confident/able enough for that, which indeed leads to a superb feeling of self accomplishment and achievement once you are through with all this.
Main tasks: There are three offices of Vaish in Delhi. This one has major focus on the practice related to Corporate law including Mergers, Acquisitions and Takeovers and IPR and not Taxation, something for which the firm is very well known.
The main tasks in this office are basically working on such propositions/research questions allotted to you by the Associates on which either the question of law is either disputed or undefined or is utterly confusing and unclear.
You then have to look into all such statutes/cases/articles (Indian and sometimes foreign) where the thing in question finds mention.
Most of these research areas/questions would be related to the Companies Act, the FERA & the FEMA, SEBI Takeover Guidelines, the RBI Master Circulars, the Copyright Act, Patents Act, Competition Act, and sometimes the Civil Laws like CPC etc, Delhi Stamp Act etc.
You might as well have to do a simple case law based research as well which is a very basic part of every small and big internship, whereby the Associate would ask you find an apex Court authority either in favour/against of a very small/easy proposition. But then he would still require a case law on it to suffice his purpose. That is where the real researcher out of you should come out.
Many people do well in making a research note on the former as they support it with very well written scholarly articles but suddenly stumble when they are asked to do a case law based research.
Every person over there has his/her own style of working and requirements to be fulfilled and you would have to adapt yourself accordingly for that, which indeed would not be a daunting task at all.
Your response to all those queries/questions shall be in the form of small write ups of 3-5 pages including everything like the current position of law, what the commentaries say about it, what the courts have said and lastly your own viewpoint, suggestions and conclusion.
Work environment: Perhaps, the work environment and the people at Vaish Associates was the biggest USP of the internship. The friendly way in which the interns were dealt with is just so commendable. The atmosphere was extremely healthy, congenial and conducive which created zeal to work in every intern.
There was no categorization of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ associates. Everyone was equally approachable and one was free to revert through mail/intercom/personally in case of any query/confusion. There were no hierarchical formalities. There was not any kind of fooling around or people remaining absent for days and days together.
The timings were really suitable as well. There was no physical drainout of energy due to work. In fact, the Metro journey was more exhausting than the office work.
Lastly, the good work done is duly applauded and appreciated on spot. The work done in a wrong/inefficient manner is constructively (sometimes heavily) criticized with the expected changes/outcomes being notified immediately.
You are always treated as a PARTNER IN EQUALITY and not someone who is small/big or above or below few people.
Bad things: There is lack of internet based research databases like J-Stor, Westlaw, Heinonline etc. There is only Manupatra for you.
Food, other things: The 10 minutes journey from Rajeev Chowk to the office is so full of places like McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Dominos, CCD etc etc. But come what may, one should not miss an opportunity to treat himself/herself at Sarvana Bhawan which serves amazingly delicious South Indian Food. Out of all the names mentioned, it is the closest to office.
You would at least have to wait for minimum of 20 minutes or so before you get a vacant table, but then the food and service makes you forget all the tiredness finally.
The area in and around CP reminds you of the ancient and awesome British architecture, and vaguely the streets of Piccadily Circus in London as well.
Stipend/ month: Rs. 2500 per month, in case you have taken many leaves, they might deduct something on a discretionary basis.
Any other thing which you would like to tell the readers?
The project/presentation allotted on the very first day forms an integral part of your internship experience at Vais. You are expected to work on it on a side lined manner basis either on the weekends at home or whatever time you are left with after reaching home.
You should not miss any opportunity of doing work for associates in lieu of completing your project because those are just short term assignments and the really learning comes from there only.
On the other hand, the project/presentation/paper should be impressive and should speak for itself, because the certificate would specially find a mention of the same in bold letters, also your attendance record at the extreme bottom in very small letters.
Do not try to act smart or flamboyant with anyone as it would definitely work against you. One should maintain utmost amount of decency and sincerity, etiquettes, and specially clean language.
Your personality and body language is important and you should give out positive vibes that you are extremely willing to work instead of remaining laidback and lazy.
What were the biggest lessons?
The internship was my first law firm internship and was a very good opportunity to get an insight as to what the culture of Corporate Law Firms is all about. It is indeed no rocket science.
The only difference is that, in college we work for the sake of gaining marks. But here it is an entirely different professional world, there is pressure both of work and of deadlines, as well as competition from other same tier law firms as well.
You would never really feel it as you are just an intern but you do get words of genuine appreciation and a feel of accomplishment when you substantially help in reducing it and contribute to the growth of the firm as a whole.
In all, a great learning and memorable experience altogether. Perfect place and juncture to start your timely affair with law firms.
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