Internship Experience at Chambers of Mr. Pravin H. Parekh: A rollercoaster ride, arduous and unsustainable at times but still got a seemingly fresh Potpourri of Knowledge from the Zen Master himself!
15th December – 4th January, 2016
“The Internship was meant to be in the chambers of Pravin H. Parekh though with the holiday season around the corner in Supreme Court it was reduced to more of an office internship but as fate would have it this exactly marked the precise beginning of the all-important lessons of Advocacy and law I was about to receive in the next 20 golden days from the man himself”
Information from the closet
Pravin H. Parekh sir has in total two offices in New Delhi as well as a chamber in the Supreme Court.
There is a Law Firm as well, known as Parekh and Co. which is currently headed by PHP sir’s son. Application process for an Internship in this Law Firm is an altogether different game.
The addresses are as follows:
Supreme Court Chambers:
134, Lawyers Chamber, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi-110001
Neeti Bagh Office:
Parekh Villa, 2nd Floor, B-99, Neeti Bagh, New Delhi – 110049
Parekh and Co., 30 School Lane, Bengali Market, New Delhi – 110001
Pravin H. Parekh mainly operates from Neeti Bagh Office and His Lawyers Chamber in Supreme Court. During the SC holidays interns are housed in the office itself but during the regular days of Supreme Court, all interns are expected in the chambers only. The Neeti Bagh office is an office-cum-residence and is situated on the second floor.
The location of the office is Neeti Bagh which is a posh colony near the Green Park Metro Station and Gautama Nagar. Fr Agnel School is the closest landmark to the office. Neeti Bagh also houses many other celebrated residents such as Pinky Anand and K.K Venugopal. The Neeti Bagh office is a well-furnished one with all amenities though it is a bit cramped up with only three computer systems for the interns.
There are a small conference room and a library in the office itself. A big sized library is also present though it is situated in an underground floor. On the third floor, there is a dining area with an attached kitchen for all interns to hang out together during lunch and leisure breaks.
On the other hand, the Chamber in the Supreme Court is also well built but it is way too small, similar to most of the other Chambers in the court premises
Where it all started
My previous Internship Experiences at Trial Court, High Court aggravated my interest for In-Court advocacy and practical application of law. For the fact, Supreme Court is one of the best places to learn the same. With the Internship Committee of our institute in tatters and no college senior out there to aid us, the onus was completely on students to get themselves a quality internship with the Internship season in sight and my case was no different.
So with nothing in my hands what followed was a regular process of going through Lawctopus to grab that one elusive opportunity of a quality internship. As in the words of Alfred from the movie Batman who says “One cannot outsmart the Truth forever and it has its say in the end” I started emailing hundreds of organisations (Including Law Firms) with the apparent belief that I can grab a quality Internship without personal contacts.
At this point in time, it was all about the game of patience, nerves and fate that someone might look in their trash folder for a second or two. Finally, after a lot of hue and cry, I received a decent number of replies on my internship application though they were mostly negative in nature but still in a fairy-tale ending found myself a decent Internship with Pravin H. Parekh sir.
Pravin H. Parekh Sir is a well-known personality in India who specializes in Corporate, Constitutional and Arbitration issues. He is a former recipient of Padma Shri award and has been at the pinnacle of Supreme Court Bar Association more than six times.
Apart from this, he is an integral part of the Confederation of Indian Bar and is the current secretary-general of International Institute of Human Rights Society which was headed by none other than Justice S.H Kapadia before his untimely death recently.
But all these recognitions were not the reasons I went on with this internship but rather the knowledge I can gain from the experience of PHP sir (Yes all call him this way only).
As there is no procedure of Interview or Group discussion for selection in this particular internship what matters is one’s CV and Cover Letter which can be emailed to [email protected]. It is not tough to get an internship in this office though it can be tough at times to sustain.
To get a prompter response one can always shoot a call to the Neeti Bagh Office or send reminders to [email protected] for updates on the Internship application.
The Agmen of the Office
“A Great team will give you great results.”
PHP sir office has a good staff of around 10-12 people including associates, general and technical staff. All the people are hard-working, diligent and friendly in nature as well. Vishal Sir, Ritika Mam and Himanjali Mam are the associates in the firm.
Talking about the associates one can easily say that they are quite strict when it comes to discipline, work ethics and time management especially Vishal Sir and Ritika Mam and this is expected of them as well to maintain the overall decorum in the firm.
Associates at some juncture, might try to impose their superiority upon an intern but then this is totally acceptable considering the fact that internships at corporate law firms, on the other hand, have a highly fierce environment.
One also has to take a note of the fact that in my case all associates were quite friendly, helpful and their experience in the field aided me immensely in my learning process. Vishal Sir even helped me in a moot court I was going to participate in so all in all the associates were good-natured.
You will also get to meet Vikas Bhaiyya who is the mainstay for all your caffeine needs. He will serve you great coffee anytime you demand and this is one of the Best things about this Internship essentially for those who are caffeineaholic just like me. The whole staff is quite accommodating and I always relished their company during the internship.
One thing which is to be noted and must be taken care of is that nobody in this office except to that of PHP will hardly take any time to teach you something new or exceptional. But there is a hack: Never act like a laid back lethargic individual waiting for someone to allot you work instead like a spirited person go out and ask for work.
Associates nonetheless are humans and in the most general discourse they will come out and help teach you only if you willfully show the potential to take off the workload of associates. Furthermore, if one knows a thing or two about “corporate ethics” it will be of great help during this internship.
Blunt as it may sound but in here the interns will mostly get clerical work because unlike a law firm most of the important tasks are the liability of associates alone who will share that work and teach you in a way only if you show the commitment and spirit to do work.
Overall this a let-down of this internship because at the end of the day Interns who opted for this internship to learn something out from it will remain disappointed as they would largely be making LOD’s, Summaries, Speeches and event itinerary which is at best can be considered clerical work only. In my humble opinion, I learnt much more during a trial court internship where the lawyer under whom I used to work invested his valuable time to teach me something, a thing highly lacking in this internship.
When you can’t get over Dilwalon Ki Delhi: The Imperial city of cities
It was my third time in Delhi but mind it guys this city never ceases to impress. Delhi is a place where no one can take his eyes off for even a single second or one will miss the breath-taking locations this city has to offer. From India gate to Jama Masjid and Rastrapathi Bhawan to Red Fort this city has so much on its cards that one cannot stop himself or herself from falling in love with this city and its people too.
During my internship period, I used to stay in a PG in Laxmi Nagar as it was quite cheaper compared to PG’s in Neeti Bagh and Gautam Nagar which are costly enough to lighten up anyone’s pockets though comparatively the environment and crowd are better in these locations.
All the co-interns were very genial and charming and I used to hang out with them a lot during our breaks near Green Park Metro Station. There are loads of food joints available near to Green Park Metro Station but “Madhuvan Fast Food” rules the lot.
Internships not only add to one’s work experience but also create memories, some of them everlasting and with this internship I will always have some happy memories to fondle with thanks to all my co-interns who are now my friends.
“At the very onset of my internship and in fact on the very first day of it where I was only starting to get in the groove, I was treated to a very peculiar tradition followed at PHP office where leaving tasks on the hinge is not an unnerving issue altogether but getting late to work will get you in trouble”
Every second counts here especially when PHP is in town who considers “time as the essence of the work” and will surely leave no stone unturned to get the work done when it matters the most.
The policy in this internship is that the interns have to work on weekends and that the timings of internship are to be strictly adhered to. During my days of internship, the timings were from sharp 9:30 AM till 7:30 PM which meant you have to arrive at the office strictly between 9:30 AM to 10:00 AM at maximum barring Sundays when one is expected in the office before 11:00 AM.
Even on misty and cold wintery mornings of New Delhi, these timings were followed. Regular Excuses will not work in front of PHP who if not satisfied by one’s conduct and repetitive undisciplined behaviour will surely give that person a hard time and can even terminate his/her internship. (This actually happened when one of the intern’s internship was terminated on the penultimate day of his internship period).
As an Intern, this was one of the let-downs of the internship as some of the interns used to commute from far-off places through crowded public transport in the peak winter season of Delhi which made our life unbearable. On the other side of the coin, I used to be the first guy in PHP office during the major part of my internship.
THE GOOD, BAD AND THE UGLY
“A dearth of feel-good factors apart from PHP himself in this Internship meant most of the students at the conclusive end felt worn-out and unenergetic.
On the first day, the interns have to fill his/her particulars in the Internship Register after which you are formally inducted in the internship.
From day one, everyone is treated to meet-ups with PHP sir who comes to office till 9:45 AM (Though in my case due to a schedule mix-up, I met him on the third day only) wherein length he discusses about the case-briefs one is working on and even allot new work to the interns for the rest of the day. These meetings alternatively also worked as mouth scathing for the Interns who were late for the day or remained absent on a working day previously.
Meet-Ups were an essential ingredient of the Internship at Chambers of PHP because it acts as the starting and end point of the all-important lessons of advocacy one is going to receive from PHP sir. PHP schedules meet-ups with interns two times a day; one at 10:00 AM and the other in the evening at around 6:00 PM, after which he declares the day-off (Only after he asks you to leave you are free to leave the office.)
I considered these meet-ups as the best part of the internship because PHP taught us about the basic aspect of law followed in the courts such as contract, transfer of property and even constitutional law. He also used to ask questions based on the brief we were working on so as to know that how much interest we are showing in the particular case-matter and how good we understood the brief given to us.
“Advocacy is an art of patience” in the words of PHP, who also says that the one who is inpatient can’t keep a hold over his aberrations which can be detrimental to the over-all wellbeing of the advocator and the individual he is advocating for”.
PHP was of the view that if a person is not hard-working, is bad with time-management and speaks without thinking then he is not meant for the profession at all because these are the essential traits one needs in his arsenal to do something productive in this profession.
As one of the greatest poet Robert frost summarizes in his epic poem “The Road Not Taken” that the path to achieving success is never easy to walk and does not look good either but it would certainly be better than the other one which seems to be facile because success is an element which is impossible to achieve without going through a systematized learning process and continuous hard-work.
Now let’s move on to the bad part about this internship which is nothing but the absence of a reasonable stipend being provided to interns in this internship. Considering the work Interns have to do throughout the week including the weekends, a stipend is surely a mandatory practice which is to be followed in here but unlikely this is not the case.
Though in spite of the absence of a stipend, the interns are treated with lunch on Sundays at the expense of Pravin H. Parekh sir but guys wait there is a catch, one cannot spend more than 500 Rupees per person.
There is even a file known as Khana-Khazana where one can find the contact details of major food joints serving online orders in Green Park Area. Nowadays considering the fast-paced and extortionate lifestyle in metro cities such as Delhi, a normative stipend would be surely a boon for interns.
Till here I have told you about a bittersweet experience at Chambers of PHP yet this is just a pale shadier in comparison to what constitutes the ugliest part of this internship. We all say that what we see is what we imbibe more and more in our daily routine wherein the role of Movies and TV series cannot be overlooked.
The cinematic representation of office environment in these movies and tv series often depicts the condition of corporate offices in the absence of executives and team leaders. Chambers of PHP is no exception to this phenomenon and you will experience the freedom of your life when PHP is not in his office essentially due to his busy routine involving speaking at conferences, seminars, functions and meet-ups.
During my winter internship, PHP was not in his office for most of the time due to his prior commitments in Gubjarat and Tamil-Nadu and this meant there were more than expected holidays along with workdays where we did nothing because no work was allotted to us by the associates as they themselves were relishing and cherishing their emancipation.
Most of the people would think that it’s better to enjoy such moments of complete freedom but the reality is that the Internships are meant to learn something rather than merriment in which we generally engage in for a major part of the year during our college studies.
In totality, this internship was an enriching affair for me but I would not say that it was a cracker of an experience. To be frank, if you are interested in interning here please make it a point to apply during the Non-Holiday season of Supreme Court.
Even with so much of snags I had a memorable experience (though momentary) of meeting top-notch legal stalwarts like Soli Sorabjee, Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Mistry during a party organized by CIB at India Habitat Centre which by chance was scheduled on the last day of my internship and hence was no less than a farewell for me.
There is a lot more to add but the words are limited and so do my memories, hence to end on a good note, I would like to say that sometimes we have to make choices which don’t appeal us in the first instance yet these choices can act as a decisive point in one’s lifetime.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.