By Tanuj Kalia
A law student from some unknown law school in Pune sent an email to me. I went through the CV and found: he had low grades in class 10 and 12; he was reading in a law school which I and you have not heard of; he was in his fourth year and had done one internship at an unknown High Court lawyer’s office where he had ‘studied case files’ and ‘observed case proceedings’.
(These are the sort of things you do in internships in Indian courts; where juniors are treated like pests and interns like the plague carrying ones).
He stated his internship preference as: NGO or Law Firm. His areas of interest were: Corporate law and social work. He needs an internship like winter needs woolen clothes.
This is how I went about it:
I called him up and asked him what career would he like to pursue? Does he see himself at an NGO or at a law firm? Law Firm. The first query was settled.
You can have different interests; but as a fourth year student one needs to pin point what will his career choice be; at least the first career choice! And at such a late stage in law school; your internship choices should be in sync with your career choice.
But no good law firm will take him in as an intern. He has a year and a half to make his profile suited for a job at a law firm. Even he realised this.
This is what you should do, I said: “During the 10-12 week summer holidays you have to do an internship under a good HC lawyer in Mumbai and do a second internship at an LPO. Be a proactive intern; work hard, stay late and be chic with your dress. Learn; interact and pray“.
The HC internship might also possibly earn you a good contact who can further recommend you for a some decent law firm internship. But remember: recommendations comes with commendable work.
The LPO internship will help him look at this sector as an option and also fine-tune his legal research and writing skills. If he works hard, stays late and is chic with his dress, he might even get a job there. But thats what he doesn’t want. He wants to work for a law firm and for that there are a few more steps to be taken.
You might ask: How does he get the internship with a good HC lawyer in Bombay and with an LPO?
Here is the answer: The good thing is he has been a proactive law student; he has done good in some small moots and debates and he’ll be doing some of the IP courses I suggested too.
He will then research on some good lawyers in Bombay; take a Thursday and a Friday off his law college schedule; go to the offices of those lawyers with his CV and ask the lawyer to interview him for the internship.
That is the key: It will be him–brain, body and blood– in the lawyer’s office–cement, chairs and clerks–and he’ll be putting his CV–page, prayer and ink– on the lawyer’s desk. He’ll talk to the lawyer about why he wants the internship. He’ll treat it like an interview.
It won’t be email@example.com [Law Student] with a .pdf file [CV] to some firstname.lastname@example.org [Law Firm].
He’ll take the internship as seriously as other people take their jobs and I am sure he’ll do well. He is genuinely concerned about his career and ready to slog and be proactive about it. And Intern Smith loves such people. Best of luck to him.