Internship Experience @ JSA, Mumbai: Great Work Culture, Work on Due Diligence Projects, Stipend @ Rs. 1500/Week

Name

Anonymous

Name of the Law Firm & Location

JSA, Mumbai.

Internship Period

14th December, 2015 – 8th January, 2016 [4 weeks]

Address. Getting there

JSA’s Mumbai office is a lavish 3 storey-ed beautiful Victorian-style building on Sprott Road, Ballard Estate. (Exact address: 18 Sprott Road, Vail’s House, Ballard Estate, Mumbai). Although the building has 4 floors, JSA’s offices cover the ground, first and third floor.

Closest train station – Churchgate/Marine Lines/CST (It’s actually much easier to get a cab from Marine Lines, provided you’re on the Western line.

If you’re coming via the Central line, get off at CST/VT). If you’re getting off at VT (Victoria Terminus/CST), it’s a 10 minute walk. From Marine Lines/Churchgate its advisable to take a cab.

Since most cabs refuse to take you from Churchgate, I’d  suggest getting off at Marine Lines and taking a cab. (I usually paid around 45 bucks)

If you’re Bombay, you know best how to get there. But if you aren’t, take the local. Unless of course, you’re staying at Colaba/Fort.

Important Landmarks – RBI Office, Customs Office

First Day. Them Feels

All interns are usually required to report by 10AM on their first day.

I was asked to carry the following –

(a) A Copy of your transcripts;

(b) A blank cheque [stipend :D]; and

(c) A Passport size photograph. You’ll be directed to the HR Manager’s Office – Mr. Zafrulla Shariff.

Ms. Niloufer Irani (who would have sent you the confirmation e-mail regarding your internship) will guide you through the registration process, filling up of relevant documents, etc.

She’ll take you through the important guidelines, and get you started. Remember that she is in charge of interns, so please be nice to her. She’s a doll, you’ll almost immediately love her.

For those who haven’t worked at JSA before, you’ll be made to fill a form wherein you can choose your areas of interest.

Accordingly, you’re made to sit on a specific floor. Based on availability and my choice of work, I got to sit at the ground floor. The ground floor is smaller than the first floor in terms of the number of Associates, but is the coolest.

Getting Started

Once Mr. Shariff and Ms. Niloufer Irani (HR Team) are done briefing interns, one is expected to get a laptop from the IT Department. Omar bhaiya is all-smiles and if you negotiate with them, you’ll get a super fancy laptop (I had a high-end Dell laptop).

For those of you who haven’t ever worked at a law firm earlier, JSA, like most others, disallows personal laptops – which means you’ll HAVE to work on their laptop. In case you require a pen drive or any other tech help, the IT Department will help you.

However, if your workstation has a computer, you obviously will not be given a laptop. The interns’ room on the first and third floor, work stations at the ground floor are all equipped with inter-coms, so if you need to contact anyone, check the extension number and call.

The HR Team will also assign a specific intern e-mail ID to each intern. This ID is used for all future correspondence at JSA. That apart, each intern is provided with a welcome kit comprising a folder, a note book and stationery.

Once you’ve received an e-mail address and have fired up your laptop, start asking for work!

Since you’ve already picked your team (For eg: M&A, Capital Markets, Project Finance, Arbitration) it would make sense to approach Associates working in that specific team.

Almost all associates are super nice and warm, so don’t worry. I know it’s a bit odd to go around asking for work, but one gets used to it after a day or two. In most cases, after two days, a specific Associate or group of Associates choose to work with specific interns.

Main Tasks/Work

I chose to work with the General Corporate and M&A Team, and so I spent most of my time researching on corporate laws. Luckily, I spent time doing 2 DDs (due diligence projects).

With the Project Finance team, I worked on a Wind power DD. After a day or two, certain associates choose to work with specific interns and so one normally assists on a larger project. I also compiled and reviewed a comprehensive labour law compliance checklist comprising over 15 statutes.

Work Environment

SUPER friendly. My internship at JSA was my very first law firm experience. Not having studied Corporate Law, I was nervous, scared and anxious. But the work environment at JSA is super chill.

All Associates are relaxed and very friendly. The pantry staff, clerks, secretaries are all-smiles and very helpful.

Interns were expected to come in by 9:30 (official time), although most interns, on an average, came in by 10 (although this depends on your work load). Interns are expected to sign in at the Intern’s Register, but no one ever checks this and can you play around with time.

Interns may leave any time after 6:30PM, but then again, this depends on one’s work load. I’ve had to stay back till 8:30 on almost all days. In the event an intern stays post 9:30PM, the firm pays for dinner and your cab fare &#X1f603

Every day, each intern is expected to fill out a daily worksheet (the format is provided) and email the same to the HR head. Although a lot of interns don’t take this seriously, I would strongly recommend doing the same diligently.

This helps a lot on your last day, when an intern is required to complete the Final Worksheet and get it signed by each Associate. Interns also have to fill out details so as to complete their Internship certificate. Other requirements include returning the laptop and getting IT clearance.

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

The Good – (1) Lunch Coupons! – In addition to a stipend of Rs.1500/week, each intern is given a set of Sodexo lunch coupons worth Rs.1100. These may be used at Dominos, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Theo’s and even at Nationals. Nationals is a small vegetarian restaurant adjacent to JSA. It’s a tiny, super cheap place for breakfast/lunch/snacks.

The veg thali and dosa are yum! (2) Open Pantry – Each floor at the JSA Office has a well-stocked pantry which has an unlimited supply of three-four types of biscuits, tea, coffee (5-7 flavors of green tea btw). An intern is allowed to gorge as much as he/she wants!

[Must try: Black tea with Monaco salty biscuits] (3) Britannia – The Office is 10 seconds away from Britannia, one of the oldest and best places for Parsi food at Ballard Estate/Fort.

It’s expensive, but the berry pulao is worth a try. (4) Chaat/Sev Puri/Bombay Sandwich – Less than 100 steps away is a small corner which serves chaat (sev pucri, bhel puri) and yum bombay sandwich. Coupled with tea, they make the best evening snack.

The Bad – (1) Try avoiding almost any internship during Christmas. I was interning between 14th December and 8th January, and while I kept busy most of the internship, most of the interns were bored due to lack of work during the Christmas week. Most offices are shut and a lot of Associates are on leave, so one’s day ends early.

The Ugly – Nothing.

Accommodation 

I stayed at an apartment in Parel, which I shared with 2 friends from college. I’d suggest finding an apartment if you want to avoid curfew issues.

Based on your budget, look for an apartment which you can share with friends/colleagues. Most other interns stay at PGs. Maine Lines and Colaba have plenty of PGs.

Last Day

I went in a bit early so as to make sure I completed all pending work. I decided to finish everything off by lunch, returned my laptop to the IT department and started drafting my Final Worksheet.

Once again, the format is ready and one has to make sure to fill it in correctly. This is where maintaining a record of  daily worksheets comes in handy.

Once this was done, I had to send a soft copy to the HR team, print a copy and get is signed by each Associate.

After photocopying a complete form, I photocopied the same (just to keep a copy with my self and had to hand one over to the HR team). In half an hour, I was given my Internship Certificate and was free to leave by 4 PM.

All in all, I loved my stint at JSA. As a first timer at a law firm, I can safely say that I’ve found my calling. It can and will be challenging, but JSA is very friendly.

And as far as Bombay is concerned, it was perfect. Bombay is an emotion. You’ll fall in love with it one way or another.

This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.

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