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Internship Experience @ Darius J Khambata, Senior Counsel, Bombay High Court

By: The Admin | May 7, 2015

Name of the organisation

Chambers of Mr. Darius J Khambata – Senior Counsel, Bombay High Court

Application process with contact Details

One has to send in his/her CV along with a cover letter to djkhambata[at]rediffmail[dot]com.

The Office Assistant passes on the CVs / Cover Letters along with a copy of the prospect’s email to Mr. Khambata, for his feedback. Mr. Khambata pens down his comment on each application and his assistant communicates the same to the intern.

Darius is very selective with respect to taking on interns. There is a genuine space constraint at the Chambers and therefore there are instances when even seemingly deserving candidates do not make the cut.

Some of the Law Schools have an institutional arrangement through their placement cells and so applicants outside of such a system should consider applying only if they are particular about working under him, backed up by strong reasons.

The internship requests are responded to within a week and even the unsuccessful ones are given a response. If on the odd occasion one fails to hear back, they can dial-in the Chambers and remind the assistant about their application.

There is no ideal timeline but applications should be sent at least 3-4 months prior to the period of internship.

Duration, Timings

Typical duration of the internship is for 3-4 weeks. From Monday-Friday, one heads to the chambers by 10:00 AM. The court timings are 11:00 AM to 5 PM. Conferences are scheduled from 5PM onwards and they typically go on until 9PM. Saturday is reserved for conferences and the day ends by 4PM while Sunday is a non-working day.

First impression, First day formalities, Infrastructure

The Chamber is in the 3rd Floor of Mulla House, near the Flora Fountain and opposite to the Bombay High Court. The office staff or associates greet you first up and you are shown around the Chambers. The conference room is rather a large one that also functions as a library. Some additional set of books is stocked in Darius’s room that is adjacent to the conference room.

The first thing I was told by Darius is to address him by his first name and that he likes the atmosphere to be relatively informal. This is the norm overseas where I have had much of my experience and so I found this rather natural. But I suspect it may be less so for others who are entrenched in the Indian system of hierarchy.

Due to a space constraint, interns do not have a dedicated desk nor are they provided with any computers. Interns are free to use the desks of the associates who aren’t present or as an alternative, use the conference room.

There is a small kitchenette suitable for whipping up an instant coffee or to get some water. It also has a microwave for those who have their lunch packed. I routinely ended up at the Starbucks near the Chamber and never used these facilities except for the water.

Unlike the courts like the Delhi HC or SC, the Bombay HC does not require any ID or entry pass. Interns are expected to accompany Darius to any scheduled hearing right from the first day. Sometimes the hearing is at the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), which is near Nariman Point, in which case one is expected to get there directly at the scheduled time (SAT begins at 10:30AM).

Main Tasks

Interns are relied upon for sound research. Darius usually gives the intern a proposition or a line of argument that he wishes to pursue in court and requests for relevant research including case laws.

Then the interns are encouraged to read the briefs on cases that are likely to be heard in a given week and are encouraged to learn the key facts and issues involved. This also helps the intern follow the discussion during conferences, which further enhances one’s ability to contribute to a matter with some relevant research.

Darius deals routinely with corporate matters ranging from Shareholders’ disputes, company law matters, complex arbitrations etc. He also deals with matters involving property succession and other real estate litigation. Interns who are not aware of corporate laws and who do not have strong commercial awareness will struggle to make sense of much of what goes on in the conferences.

Work environment, People

The Office staffs are very helpful with everything, ranging from print requests to information on scheduled conferences.

There are eight associates at the Chamber. They are all quite warm, welcoming and friendly but are generally busy with there own matters. I worked extensively with Darius and did not have the need to seek additional work from the Associates. However if an intern is looking for additional work, the associates will be more than happy to oblige.

Two of the oldest associates have been with Darius for about seven years while the youngest is about a bit more than a year old at the Chambers.

The latter is a very cheerful chap and is likely to be present in most of the conferences that interns attend. I enjoyed interacting with all the associates and all the discussions in the office.

Best Things

I also got to sit on a strategy discussion with regards to negotiation on a joint venture agreement for a proprietor of a well-known Parsi construction group.

Darius is very indulgent with questions and is a patient mentor. He is everything that I had heard prior to joining his chambers. He has a sharp legal mind, very commercially savvy and is armed with case laws pretty much on any matter.

He is also very ethically minded. Unlike some of the other chambers, here interns get to work one-on-one with Darius. He is very approachable and is very kind and generous when it comes to any advice sought.

I cannot do justice to the wonderful experience I had working with Darius through a short column here but I can most certainly thank him for the opportunity.

Darius gave me great nuggets of information related to the profession, stories from his past as a junior, his time as an Advocate General and we had some great discussions on important issues facing the country. I was treated like a junior the whole time and I am extremely grateful for this experience.

Lastly, I was a bit overwhelmed, when he told me that I have the qualities required to be “appointed to the bench”. He has also made note of the same in his reference letter, which is something I will never forget for the rest of my life.

Bad Things

I don’t have anything on this front except perhaps that I agree with some of the others that facilities such as a coffee machine, connectivity to printers etc., should be available as a default

Any Other Thing

Darius is one of the best Seniors to learn from. Anyone especially interested in commercial matters need not look any further.

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The Admin

I am the Admin of Lawctopus. I am for law students, of law students and by law students. I am Torts and Contracts and moots and internships. I am your boyfriend! And your girlfriend too! Mentor. Friend. Junior. Senior. I am the footnote in your research paper. Foreword in your life. The jugaad for your internship. The side gig which earns you bucks. I am Maggi. Pocket money too.

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