Internship Experience @ Mr. A L Somayaji [Advocate General and Senior Counsel], Chennai: Friendly Atmosphere, Conducive for Learning

Name of the Intern

Anonymous

Name of the Office, City

Mr. A.L. Somayaji (Advocate General and Senior Counsel), Chennai.

Duration of the Internship

Almost a month

The office and the Team

The office is basically a house located in Greenways road, which is walking distance from the Chief Justice’s residence. Has considerable space for parking cars and two wheelers. It is fully air conditioned.

As you enter the office the first room to the right side as you enter the main door is the office is sir’s office. As you move forward you will see some tables to the right side where sir’s juniors and the interns will be.

Walking through to the corridor to the right side will be the knowledge centre of the office, the library. Facing the door of the Library will be the office another Advocate Mr. Perumal.

Proceeding down the corridor will be a general office and then the conference room in the end of the corridor. The main room where the juniors and the advocates sat had attached restrooms. This is basically the office.

There were basically some 4 juniors for sir and two other sirs were his colleagues. Add to this another man to basically be in the office. This was the team with which AG (Advocate General) sir works.

The office generally functions everyday including court holidays and weekends. The only days I remember being holidays were the Chennai floods. Friday evenings after court the office generally does not function.

Application procedure and Internship contact

I applied by sending a mail to Sir directly, but later I was told that it was not the proper way to do it. All you have to do is send a mail to one of the Juniors with your CV and then go meet them in person.

Contact mail ID : [email protected] (Advocate Karthikei Balan)

Accommodation

I had stayed with my grandparents in a place pretty close the office. I commuted by foot or my grandfather used to drop and pick me from the office. On weekdays when the Court functions, I commute by public bus, of which there were many from the place I board.

These buses are direct, the journey will be maximum 40 mins long and will cost you 35 bucks max if you take the air conditioned bus. This bus ride will be all along the shore of the Marina beach so you will not feel the time pass by.

First Day, First Impression and Formalities

The first day of my Internship was in the Court. I did not know the place so my grandfather had to accompany me. We walked all the way to the office of the Advocate General and then waited for sir to come.

Meanwhile the staff and the stenographers who were present at the office talked to me and made me feel comfortable.

Then some of sir’s juniors came and the day went on. I was asked to read some cases and attend the proceedings in Court that day. In the end it was not as I imagined it to be. I felt comfortable in that atmosphere and the staff and the juniors were very friendly and helpful.

I thought I made a good impression on the first day. I really don’t know. I never got to speak to the juniors about that.

There was nothing so called formalities except that you will have to follow the intern’s uniform and respect everyone in the office. Office only days (meaning Saturdays and Sundays) you are allowed to go to office in decent colour dress.

Main tasks

I was basically assigned to research on case laws and witness proceedings in Courtrooms because I wasn’t taught much of law at that point in time. The juniors would give us some propositions to find case laws on.

Otherwise I was also asked to read up on some opinions and brief some juniors on it. I was occasionally asked to draft affidavits on some cases just so that I learn the art of drafting. This was basically the job of all the interns in that office.

Work Atmosphere and the People

The Advocate General himself is a man of knowledge yet humble in his steps, gentle in his language. Life lessons were to be learned by just looking at the way be behaves and carries himself.

His juniors were really friendly and were always looking for the opportunity to make you learn practical stuff about law. Some of them actually took time off their work to impart some knowledge for us interns.

Being a second year student in law it was hard to understand the intricate arguments and the legal jargons used by these advocates, senior counsels and the judges. The juniors were so kind enough to explain all of this to us interns.

After court almost all days one of the juniors will drop you in the office in their car. Conversations in this journey will range from law to movies to college life and experiences and life lessons.

The juniors will become one of your friends in this short span of time that they even get you a small snack on the way to the office from the High Court. This stop might be at the Marina beach or at the local snack bar.

The staff in the chambers and the office again were very friendly and caring. From taking a print out of a case law or a opinion to finding a statue they helped me.

I felt really comfortable interning under in this office because the atmosphere in the office was that friendly and conducive for learning.

Anything else to say

This internship experience was very educative, informational and useful for me. Imagine a first year student asked to draft affidavits and constructing arguments for the veterans in that same field. Knowledge was not simply spoon-fed to us interns here..

We were taught how to find an answer. As the saying goes “Give a man a fish and he will live for a day, teach a man how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”, that was how things worked around here in this office.

The thing about internship experiences of this kind is that for the time you intern, it will look and feel really hard and because there was another senior interning with me, It felt like I was leaning nothing from the internship at all.

But when I came back to the college for my classes I realized the worth of knowledge I had gained from this internship experience. I seemed to know a lot about practical application of law that my classmates did not. And this knowledge also included the things that I had not learnt already in class.

And the friends I made in internship, I have to say something about them. Easily 3-4 years my seniors from law schools around India. All of them were really friendly that even after coming back to the college, they help me with a lot small things.

I had the opportunity to witness very many interesting and important cases, the silky skills of experienced lawyers and the words of the wise judges who heard these cases. I learnt how generous and caring advocates can be in helping old and poor people.

One incident that I will not forget is when an old man came to the Chambers of the Advocate General. When one of Sir’s (Advocate General’s) juniors spoke to him, he told him about the problem he had with the pension and that he was receiving the same.

So this junior sir filed a case, argued the same and won it. All of this was done free of cost. So all along my internship I learnt life lessens like be helpful to someone who needs help. So internship was a very educative experience for me.

Takeaway from my internship

If there was one take away for me from this internship that would be to work hard. The office would function 7 days a week. Even on court holidays and 365 days a year.

The only time I heard that the office did not function was the time when all the advocates and were invited to the wedding of the son of one of Sir’s colleague who works in the same office. Otherwise the office functions for 365 days excepting Friday evenings after Court time.

Advocate General Sir who should be quite in his 70s was there in the office almost every day the office functioned. All the juniors were there in the office as well.

They would come to the office at around 8:30 – 9 am and then attend Court and the come back to the office around 6pm and they have been in the office as late as 11 pm in the night.

That is how hard they work. So there is no substitute for hard work. If you can put in those hours of work you will reap the fruit of success that was my takeaway.

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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