Internship Experience @ Spectrum Legal, Bangalore: Improve your Research Skills, Learn to File RTI

I’m originally a resident of Chennai. Having done one NGO internship and one with a law firm in Chennai, I felt like I was ready to push a little further and gain experience in a new city.

So Bangalore was my closest shot. My friends and I had begun applying quite early, but most firms that we applied to were quite unresponsive or evasive in their responses, and a few others were reluctant to take in second year students.

It was at this point that a friend of mine who’s currently working with CrestLaw Partners, Bangalore suggested applying to Spectrum Legal, which is a relatively new firm (about 8 months old now).

She felt that since I was looking for a new kind of experience, I would enjoy working in a new firm where there would be a lot of scope to learn.

Further, one of the partners here is an alumni of NLU-J and so was one of the associates, so that worked out as an added bonus in increasing the comfort factor for me.

Name

Anonymous

Duration of Internship

November 16, 2015 – December 15, 2015

The Application Process

I had visited their website and was genuinely impressed by the sophisticated nature of their web page. It was fairly easy to find the e-mail ID for correspondence.

I’d mailed my CV, passport photo and recommendation letters from previous internships to [email protected]

They require only your CV at the time of application. So don’t hesitate if you don’t have the rest of the things I sent ready. You will be required to submit one passport size photograph along with your internship form upon joining the internship.

They responded very promptly and I was asked to contact Mr. Poorna Chandra Pattar for any further clarifications. Upon contacting Poorna sir, I was given the opportunity to confirm the dates of my internship and address any queries I had at that point.

Application Tips

There’s nothing in specific that I can say that might help you. They expect you to have a keen interest to learn and work. This, I know because they went over new internship applications in my presence one day. Neat formatting helps.

Do not go overboard bragging about insignificant non-achievements. It’s perfectly okay to have a simplistic CV that shows that you’re good at what you do and hope to get better. I’d sent in a small statement of purpose, of sorts, in my mail.

I suppose that helps too. If you don’t get a response from the site E-mail ID, you might give [email protected] a shot, as Poornachandra sir is the one who handles internships for the firm.

Finding a place to stay

Although I had quite a few relatives in Bangalore (as do most of you), I opted to stay at a PG. Trust me, living on my own in a new city truly completed my experience and I strongly recommend it to anyone who’s testing the waters in a new city.

The office was on Promenade Road in Fraser Town. So I’d set about googling PGs in the locality. Incidentally, I stumbled upon the contact number of Nirmal (9611077799), who owns an entire line of Paying Guest homes spread out all over Bangalore.

When I told him the address of the Spectrum Office, he suggested the closest PG to me. I was made to pay Rs. 7000 as security deposit, which was promptly returned to me when I vacated, and a rent of Rs. 7000 for my month long stay.

The accommodation was fairly good. I’d opted for a double sharing PG and ended up staying with a third year student from NALSAR. So the question of lack of company was wiped out right there. We had a TV and a fridge, along with an attached bathroom in our room, and one iron cupboard each.

Bedsheets, pillows, buckets and mugs were to be brought by us. There was an attached kitchen facility, where one could cook. Maids would regularly provide house keeping. There were common washing machines on the terrace and a canteen where packed food was also available.

Aside from these, there were a number of eateries, supermarkets, cafes, bakeries and food joints in the vicinity. The PG was a 3 minute walk from the Spectrum office. I was quite content with how everything had panned out.

The Work Environment

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It’s a petit but well equipped office which one is bound to love from day one. The firm deals in Corporate work, Real Estate, Start up legal consultancy, IP, Employment disputes, Family disputes, Banking disputes and a fair bit of litigation work.

I’d initially signed up for a litigation internship, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I actually enjoyed getting a feel of almost all of these fields. The four partners, Chintan Chinnappa, Vaishnavi Bhaskaran, Mahesh Arkalgud and Poornachandra Pattar were all accessible at all times and were unbelievably approachable, as was the associate, Chandrika Bhadu.

For those of you who’re wondering, yes, this is THE Chintan Chinnappa, lead guitarist of the death/thrash metal band Inner Sanctum. Vaishnavi ma’am and Chandrika ma’am are both alumni of NLU-J and made the fitting in that much easier for me. Vaishnavi ma’am dealt with the corporate and IP front, whereas the three male partners who were all Bangalore University graduates, dealt with litigation in their respective areas of specialisation.

It was more of a casual and comfortable environment, as opposed to the formal and icy one you would expect at a firm. For the entirety of the one month that I’d spent at the firm, I truly did feel like I was a part of Spectrum and was quite reluctant to leave.

Timings

The work timings were 11:00 a.m – 7:00 p.m., and weekends were off. We would be served lemon tea twice a day and break for lunch (together in the conference room) whenever most of us were around. We’d take a pseudo tea break at about 5 to grab a quick biscuit or so from the office food supplies.

I was given my own desk near the partners, so I didn’t feel like an alien intruder, and since I was the only intern at the time, I had ample interaction scope with all the partners.

The Office Experience

The hypothesis of my friend couldn’t have been more true. It truly is a one of a kind experience to work with a new firm.

First of all, since there were such few people at work, I got enough and more windows of opportunity to work on various assignments with each of the partners, who were all immensely experienced ex-Dua and ex-Poovayya associates and full of things to share and gyan to give away.

I learnt a lot even from mere discussions and conversations with them. Starting from improving my research skills, to filling out RTI applications and appeals, I was made to work on different kinds of issues and areas of law, most of which I’m actually yet to do formally in college.

My main research assignment was comparing the old Arbitration Act  to the 2015 amendment ordinance, which was a priceless learning experience, considering that almost the entire act was revised.

Although the number of court visits were few in number, I had no regrets, since I’d spent the entirety of my previous internship in the court, and I felt like they didn’t see the point in taking a non-Kannada speaker to court where most communications happened in rapid Kannada.

I always had enough on my plate while I was at work and would quickly be reassigned something when I was done with the previous assignment. Further, it’s a valuable experience to be able to actually communicate with the senior partners at a firm where you are interning in your second year.

The further up you go and the more reputed and bigger firms you go to, as you go up the ninternship ladder, it gets harder and harder to come face to face with your boss, let alone actually discuss your inputs and queries with them at length.

Further, it helps to see how your seniors deal with building a new firm, because you’re going to end up wanting to start your own practice at some point. You get to learn the nuances of establishing and retaining a client base, capturing clients, financial management too, if you’re lucky!

It’s like getting a chunk of the inside story, for all practical purposes and actually seeing what goes into the making of a successful law practice.

The Bangalore Stay

The weather during my stay was unpleasant, so I ended up staying indoors for the most part, but Bangalore is a city full of options for foodies, gamers, music fanatics and essentially anyone who’s passionate about anything.

Since both the PG and the office which fall in the Sindhi Colony side of Cox Town and borderline Fraser Town, they’re both just a stone’s throw from the heart of Bangalore i.e., Indira Nagar, MG Road, Brigade Road etc..

Normally, I’d catch bus no.127 which stops right outside the PG (Royal Mansion 4th Cross Wheelers Road) and outside the office, and get off at MG Road. If you want to get somewhere else, just ride the bus to the last stop Shivaji Nagar bus depot. You get buses to every corner of Bangalore from there.

As for bigger events, you can catch the NH-7 Weekender if you plan properly, for starters. I caught a couple of Liverpool match screenings with my friends. There are umpteen options for weekend getaways in and around Bangalore.

So if you do your bit of background research and prepare accordingly, there’s so much to do. I’d suggest trying to find common internships, so you could work with a friend. It always helps to have a familiar face around and you could do a lot more.

Stipend

Seeing as the firm just started off, it’s quite unreasonable to expect a stipend, so I wasn’t too hopeful to begin with. Fairly enough, I wasn’t given a stipend, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking up this opportunity especially if you’re in your early years of law school. It’s a small price to pay for a good one month of lawyer-ing.

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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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  1. E S Jagadeeshwar says:

    Dear Young Law Intern,

    Your experience is very nice. You were given an opportunity to do research on Arbitration and Conciliation Act. … “My main research assignment was comparing the old Arbitration Act to the 2015 amendment ordinance, which was a priceless learning experience, considering that almost the entire act was revised”.

    Due to pendency of large number of cases even the Courts are referring the cases before framing of issues to District Legal Services Authorities. Sec. 89 of C.P.C. will give clues on alternate dispute redressal systems.

    To sharpen your skill in-depth study of “Mediation Training Manual of India” released by the Supreme Court will be very useful. Academic learning is different from getting the cases to keep on your toes is different.

    Life is not so rosy for all Advocates specially at Trial Court level. Young law interns like you must be cautious while taking the right decision at the right time.

    The main problem for the young Law Interns like you is in case of outstation is .. proper nearest accommodation and availability of suitable food. Before applying for internships, interns like you have to collect proper info in advance or have to ask help from your Senior’s firm to locate suitable accommodation.

    Such collective cooperation will allow number of enthusiastic young law interns to join the offices of Senior Advocates or reputed Law Firms to sharpen their professional skills.

    I think you might have been read ” A Consultation Paper on proposed amendments to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996″ released by Union Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi.

    Basic Legal Research and relevant skills are must for every Law Student and Advocate.

    Wish you all success.

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