Internship Experience @ Prasad Kulkarni & Associates, Pune: An eye-opener with lots of good work and mentorship

Name

Anonymous

Name of the firm

Prasad Kulkarni & Associates, Pune

Contact Details of the firm

Office No-9, 4th Floor, Rachana Trade Estate, Law College Road, Pune.

Website: Click HERE.

Duration & Timings of the internship

I interned here from July 2015 to August 2015.

The office timings were 10am to till all the work for the day was done (or till we gave up)!

Sometimes I was allowed to leave at 2 pm, while during very hectic days I stayed back till as late as 10 pm. 

How I bagged the internship

I sent a mail with a cover letter and my CV attached to [email protected]

I had applied in February 2015 for the May slot. I received a call from them in July 2015.

While applying for internships, I start by making a list of all the firms as wish to intern at. I start from Tier 1 firms and end the list with Independent Advocates.

Then I narrow down the list to 7-8 firms based on what I’m looking for and other preferences. So, when I applied to Prasad Kulkarni & Associates it was more a “buffer” application just in case I don’t get selected at the “big” ones.

As a second year law student, I had limited knowledge and was thus very charmed by the thought of working with the Big 5, blindly fascinated to put it less lightly. I overlooked the learning part of the internships for huge, shiny corporate offices and possible PPO’s.

This internship proved to be an eye-opener for me because I learned much more about the practical application of law and the reality of the legal system than at any other internship or even in college.

At the end of this internship I could think of tons of reasons as to why one should intern at smaller firms at the start of their course.

I will summarise them by giving three reasons:

  1. More work which leads to more learning
  2. More responsibility is given which leads to more passion towards the future profession
  3. More attention towards interns, i.e. they treat you almost at par with the associates
Interview and First day

I was interviewed by the Managing Partner, Mr Prasad Kulkarni. He initially asked me a few stereotypical questions like “why law?”, “what do you see yourself as in 10 years?”, “do college lectures interest you?” etc.

This didn’t go as well as I’d expected as my stereotypical answers didn’t interest him, he told me his own “answers” instead and they were surprisingly frank and straightforward. The second half of the interview felt like a normal conversation. Even the interview itself was a good learning experience for me.

I was then introduced to the associates, co-interns and other staff. They were all friendly and asked me about my college, etc. I was asked to join from the very next day. I was allowed to come after college (by 12:00/12:30).

For my first day, Prasad sir had given me some research on the day of the interview itself. It was related to the admissibility of electronic evidence and case laws related to it. I showed him my research and he gave some valuable insights on it. He gave me tips on how to look for case laws.

He also took the pains to explain the whole section to me and asked me about my interpretation of the same.

The conversation felt like a college lecture but was extremely interesting and gave me a thorough understanding of the topic.

One thing he told me that I will remember for the rest of my life, he said: “When you’re a law student think of yourself as a lawyer, it’ll give you confidence that you are no less than a person with an advocate’s band. But think of yourself as a law student once you become a lawyer that will keep your feet rooted to the earth for the rest of your life.”

After the associates left for Court, my co-interns and I were asked to draft an affidavit and a letter on behalf on a client. We were allowed to go home as soon as we mailed it and received a feedback from an associate. I left office as early as 5:00pm on my first day.

Work environment, responsibilities, and projects

I will divide this part into three “categories”:

  1. Office work
  2. Court work
  3. “Homework”

The preparation (Office work)

During the initial 2 weeks of my internship I barely went to the Court, I worked in the office on drafting and research. I even arranged books and case files during my free time. The work load at office was pretty low.

I learned how to draft simple affidavits, petitions and plaints. I was also asked to review some of the plaints drafted by the associates and give them my inputs. I even got to attend an arbitration and it was an experience that peaked my interest in this arena of law.

There were some days when I was alone at office as everyone was busy in either Bombay High Court or Pune’s District Court. During this time, I read entire case files of murder cases for days together because criminal law interested me the most.

It was very exciting to be able to read FIRs, witness statements and forensic reports. I’m still weirded out by the kick I used to get out this! I looked up a lot of case laws and wrote some articles as well.

After a few days, Prasad sir asked my co-intern and me to draft a criminal writ petition ON OUR OWN. Understandably we sucked at it and he made us redraft it at least 20 times till it was perfect (well, relatively).

And then he showed us a copy of the same petition that he’d drafted and ALREADY filed in the Court! This frustrated me deeply as we’d spent 48 hours drafting and redrafting the same thing.

I realised why he made us do that only when he asked us to draft a similar writ petition (civil, this time) and we were able to perfect it within an hour with negligible changes! It was a good day.

Tareek pe tareek (Court work)

This was the most interesting and unique part of the internship. There was not a single day when I didn’t learn something new at Court. I went to Court every day at 12:00 pm after my college and usually got back to office by 7 pm.

My first visit to the Court was a disappointment. All I could see was old buildings, people dressed in black and white screaming, worried faces of poor kin and the police dragging the accused to various court houses.

I come from a small town and this was rather scary to me.

In Marathi (my mother tongue) we have a saying that “Hushar maansane courtachi paayari kadhi chadhu naye”, which literally translates into “a smart man should never climb the stair of a Court”!

I stayed up all night contemplating my decision of choosing law as a career. The next day itself I realised I was being an idiot and I’ve never had cold feet about this again!

Anyway, coming back to the point, each day at Court my co-interns and I handled at least 2-3 cases along with the associates. Some of these days we were alone too. Once we learned how to cut through red tape, things got easier.

The first thing I learned was how to file an application for anticipatory bail. I was taught well and I still remember exactly how it is done. Later we filed a lot of other petitions, affidavits, WS etc.

The procedure at the Court was such that it would take up an entire day even for trifles. Sometimes we had to skip lunch so that we don’t miss out the bailiff’s call.

We had go through huge files if the associates wanted some information on the Court record of any particular case. This was very monotonous and tedious but we got better at it once we learned to organise things.

Thou shall not rest (Homework)

We used to have long, strenuous work hours during the weekdays but I think we did even more work on Sundays and other holidays. On Sundays, we used to systematise the coming week’s affairs and prepare drafts for documents if any.

I remember working almost round the clock even on a National Holiday but I have to admit at this point I didn’t do it because I had to, I worked because I liked it.

We even looked up case laws on Sundays and brainstormed with Prasad sir on what action should be taken with regard to particular cases.

Summary of what I learned
  1. Drafting of Bail Applications, writ petitions, plaints, WS, affidavits, contracts etc.
  2. Arbitration proceedings
  3. Filing and withdrawal of suits
  4. Procedure of Courts (cross examination, hearing, orders, adjournment, etc.)
  5. Research on Sections, case laws and other judicial precedents
  6. Working of a Lok Adalat
  7. Courtroom etiquettes
  8. Life lessons on how to speak up and not be a coward
The Good, the bad and the ugly

Well, other than everything else I have mentioned in the “good” part, we had a huge collection of books at the office.

We had an awesome balcony to chill.

The office is located at a “distance” of 5 minutes from my college and 10 minutes from my home (by bike), so it was very convenient for me.

We had an oven and a tea/coffee maker in the office so we could chill in the balcony with a steamy cup of cardamom tea.

There nothing bad about the internship except I would’ve liked it if Prasad sir accompanied us to Court more often so we could get to learn more by observing him.

Also, I barely had a social life since I was busy all the time and my friends thought I had deserted them!

There was nothing ugly about the internship, a stipend wouldn’t hurt but that’s a different story!

Accommodation

I stay with my parents so it wasn’t of much concern to me but the office is surrounded by areas like SB Road, Kothrud, Karve Nagar and Prabhat Road which are famous for providing excellent, safe and convenient accommodation to students.

There are many hostels and PG’s available for a quite reasonable prices in the vicinity.

Does it pay?  

In monetary terms, zilch. But it was more than worth my while in terms of experience.

Rating

In short, this immersion in the Court proceedings not only help me grow as a future lawyer but also empowered me as a person. It would give it a 9.5/10.

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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