Exact Duration of the Internship
7th December, 2015- 29th, January 2016 (7 weeks)
Economic Laws Practice is one of India’s most renowned firms for its Taxation and International Trade Law Practice.
The firm has an excellent Capital Markets Practice as well and counts SEBI amongst one of its clients.
Additionally, it is one of the few firms where Associates from the Litigation Team actively appear in Court.
This being said, I was primarily interested in their excellent Private Equity and M&A Team which is into niche advisory.
This, in Law firm terminology means that you will not be making million page due diligence reports here but rather advising, drafting agreements, writing opinions, collaborating on publications etc. Basically, things that matter, and require an intelligence quotient higher than that of a 5th Grader.
The firm has offices at Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore and Chennai. However Bombay is the best in terms of quality of work and exposure.
I applied in the month of August for an internship in the month of December. The online application form can be found here.
Also, just to be sure that they have taken cognizance of your application, send a reminder to the HR Manager Sneha Athnikar at email@example.com
ELP has an active Internship Committee (which doubles up as its football team) who will get back to you in a couple of months and fix an interview.
Generally, a two member team takes your interview, the composition of which is based on the preferences that you have given e.g. Private Equity / Capital Markets / M&A.
My interview lasted for a total of four and a half minutes, and the only question I was asked was where I see myself after 5 years. From what I gathered, it all depends on your CV. In case they want , they can get technical and grill you on your specialization.
Receiving a confirmation can take anywhere between 2-4 weeks.
Considering it is Bombay, I am writing this section in detail and putting it before everything else. Unless you are one of those lucky blokes whose parents had foreseen a legal career and taken a place, you need to find a place way in advance.
Do not settle for relative’s places / friend’s flats / dirt cheap options in the suburb. Stay near your office. You can sleep for an hour more in the morning, leave office comfortably an hour late, knowing you don’t need to travel to the South Pole by a local train in the morning.
If that doesn’t sell the idea; you won’t need to pay 500 bucks in cab fare after every late night at the office.
Try these places for accommodation at reasonable prices (250 – 500 bucks/ night excluding food):
Sewa Niketan, Byculla
Good old Sewa Niketan is the first choice (sadly it’s only for guys, and no guests allowed in the rooms).
Try booking at least two months in advance. December is UPSC season so maybe 3 months.
You can either send them a letter with a Demand Draft or ask anyone in Bombay to pay in advance and book a bed.
It’s pretty clean with clean bathrooms and hot water, has a cafeteria, has no charging points in rooms, and its location is brilliant. You can read the Lawctopus review here.
Mohammed Ali Road, the non-vegetarians Mecca is right next. Nariman point and Fort are one bus ride away (approx. 25 minutes).
Phone: 022 – 23092934
Three sharing room at Sewa including guy with hairy legs.
P.S.You have to checkout once in 15 days. Go to Welcome Lodge (details below).
P.P.S. Do not use the train to commute. The buses in Bombay are empty for some reason (maybe everyone forgot about them).
They cost the same, and are infinitely more comfortable, and drop you right next to your office. And yes, download mIndicator even before you set foot in Bombay.
YWCA, Colaba (For Girls)
Its at 5 minutes walking distance from Nariman Point and the Taj. Gives you lodging for 600 bucks a Excellent buffet breakfast and dinner is another 3k.
Chances of getting a room are pretty high if you know someone in the Church who can refer you. Otherwise the waitlist can be painful.
Ph – 022 – 6624 7222
Welcome Lodge, Lamington Road (For Guys):
Welcome is another cheap haunt in Lamington Road. It has air-conditioned bunk bed dorms for 350 bucks a night. And it’s three railway stations to Churchgate.
The area might look a bit shady, but it’s quite safe. Go to Ayodhya Restaurant or Kamath for a cheap vegetarian thali meal at night, post work. This option is for the 15th day post Sewa Niketan.
Ph – 022 – 2386 9368 / +91 – 98204 73058
Lastly, if you are an idiot who cannot handle his money (like me), pay for all accommodation expenses in advance. Homelessness in Bombay is a very bad idea.
The First Encounter
The ELP offices are located in three floors of Dalamal Towers in the Nariman Point office district. I cannot call it love at first sight.
My previous internship was with a certain firm in Lower Parel. And they are pretty well known for their snazzy office with multi-million dollar paintings. And Dalamal Towers didn’t really have the address value of Express Towers or One Indiabulls.
One visit to ELP’s private terrace garden later, I was a complete Dalamal convert.
My first day was the usual, filling HR forms, getting quarantined alien looks from co-interns. At ELP, interns and the accounts team share a different office together: My home for two months, Room No. 107 Dalamal Towers.
I met the Internship Committee on the first day itself, and they assigned me my buddy. Your buddy will be your work place and culture guide for the next two months; without the necessity of working on a project together.
I would like to include a small advice for all prospective interns though: Do not sit on your backside.
Be proactive. Talk to people. Prepare a thirty second profile talk about yourself, and tell them what you want to work on.
Approach people, irrespective of their position. If you see they have time for a casual conversation, engage them into one. And then ask for work. Don’t start begging at first sight – you will end up with print jobs from three different teams.
View from ELP’s private terrace garden. First reaction: “I would pay to work over here”.
Work at ELP (PE Team) generally includes drafting, opinions, and advisory on SEBI, RBI and Corporate Matters; and in all cases you are given a lot of freedom, and in most cases it is your work that will be used and showcased.
One thing I loved about this firm that I have hardly seen in any other place I have worked at; the Associate Partners actually review the CV’s of the interns.
On day one, the AP called for me personally, which was quite a pleasant surprise and completely contrary to the usual begging bowl routine at Big Law.
After an enquiry into what kind of work I would like to do (yes, you can very well refuse work over here if you don’t like it), they asked me to prepare all the Do’s and Don’ts regarding the acquisition of a Listed Company. And needless to say, the entire activity till preparing the Final chart was a huge learning experience.
But wait for it; the best part is yet to come. After the submission, they called me back and asked me to find any carve outs in the law that allows parties to be let off from the application of such laws!
Sounds great? It’s felt even more Harvey Specter-esque in person.
In my two months I worked on an entire deal involving acquisitions; a welcome relief from doing scraps of research on random subject’s every day. I can bore you with details of every single day, but I would rather put all that I learnt, in seven points:
1. The Boss: Choose your boss very carefully in the first week. That is the make or break factor in your internship, till the point of you getting placed over there.
My boss was excellent and took personal interest in my work, so my internship was brilliant. If your boss is horrible, coming to office everyday will be a horror story.
2. The Team: The reason I mention this separately is because, it is rarely that your Boss, who will be a Partner (in all possibility),would have the time to check your work or teach you on a daily basis.
It is his / her team that teaches you the most. Look for a brilliant team. There is no sure way to find them other than by pure gut feeling or trial and error. Look for a team who would stand up for you and push you till the top.
3. The Work: Be very clear about what you want to do. If you are in your final year work exclusively for your team. Be there at their beck and call. Involve yourself and make yourself an indispensable part of the team.
Experiment with different types of Law, but in case you know you hate tax and you can’t understand it for the love of your dear life, tell that to your team in advance. Better than sitting and burning time, and killing deadlines.
And please submit exhaustive, well designed, well drafted work that they can actually send a client. In case they, or any other person has to work on it after you; you are technically of no use.
4. The Time: Law firms have destroyed the concept of time management that they dearly value by keeping their offices open 24*7; you always know you can slack during the day and pull an all-nighter and use that as an excuse to come late next day.
Beware; your Partner was once an intern and does understand that it takes less than 45 minutes to do a Google search. You will not be re-assigned work by your team if you start goofing up your deadlines.
And remember the Narayana Murthy rule, “If an employee can’t do the work assigned to him / her in eight hours, and has to pull all-nighters that generally means that they are chilling during work hours; Sack them immediately”.
Finish your work by 7 and get the hell out of office. Be happy; you haven’t cheated while at work. This is a much more valued trait than, “OH, I was here till 3 in the morning till the water in the bathroom ran out….”.
5. The Confidentiality: Any discussions with your team are confidential, and privileged information, whether work related or personal. Guard them over zealously.
Do not succumb even to Chinese torture during intern gossip sessions. You will become a stud; by retaining information with you, and not the other way round.
6. The Participation: Engage. Engage. Engage. More than the number of times your football coach asked you to engage with the ball. Make friends, talk to people, go for ball games with the guys after work, get a beer, it won’t be “OH my god they will judge me…”.
Participate in everything including silly hats contest and secret Santa. Just don’t be the over-zealous nerd or the “I get work from eight different teams”dork. Everyone hates them, including the employers.
7. The Question’s: Do not be shy, or over-smart. Don’t tell a person who has 15 years of experience in Capital Markets that you know Options like the back of your hand. It will take him/her 15 seconds to figure it out. Be the most humble person you have seen.
Ask a lot of questions even stupid ones. It will save you a lot of time later while you are working on the project, since you will have the necessary clarity in your head.
These set of values are very important while you work at ELP, but are recommended wherever you go. It will make life much easier.
Everyone from the over-zealous kid, to the guy from down south who has no idea about the North (Let alone the West), to the person who has been there long enough and knows all the tricks of the trade.
All of them were absolute bundles of joy. We even managed to play Intern Secret Santa, where everyone, like the douche’s that we were, announced in advance what they wanted.
They were my pillars of strength for two months. My smoking buddies. This post is a tribute to them.
Unlike in other firms, work life balance is not an unheard of thing in ELP. People are still on their first marriages, they go home by 8, and don’t over drink on weekends.
What’s better: they have an active Cricket, Football and Marathon team.
Hell, they even had an office marathon coach. ELP also hosts its own cricket cup, the Masters Cup. The founding Partner Mr. Rohan Shah is a well renowned Ranji Player of the yesteryear’s, playing on behalf of Bombay.
It is expected that you play a sport while you are with the firm. However bad you might be. At my level of incompetence, one is asked to join the other team and sabotage their game. You generally go for a night game after work to the nearby Cooperage Ground or the PDP Grounds at Napean Sea Road.
Midnight football at Cooperage
Celebrations are quite frequent and for all possible reasons, including “We completed the Marathon”. This generally means food and beer on the house, and tipsy diligence reports. Kidding.
As mentioned earlier, ELP has one of the best terrace gardens which gives you a complete view of South Bombay, till the Taj (photo above).
South Bombay is expensive, and one wrong decision and one visit to Star Bucks or the nearby Ristorante Preggo for a casual lunch, can hurt you quite badly.
Be cheap. Go the Manora MLA Hostel right opposite and have a sumptuous chicken meal for less than a hundred and fifty bucks. On Saturdays go to Olympia at Colaba Causeway for lunch. Same prices; crazy food, and it is a five minute ride from the office.
On a busy day one of the million food ordering apps might be a good idea. Again, be cheap, look for discount coupons on the internet.
The office does have an evening snack every day, and since someone or the other was born on that day, you get cake to go along with it.
Working in Bombay is tough. So people actually look forward to their Fridays. If you are one of the good’ol, “We work hard, drink the hardest and can’t remember on Sunday where we were on Saturday” sort of people, go to any of the places on Colaba Causeway.
Go for a boat ride from the Gateway once. It’s magical.
“I said so”
In case you do not partake; go watch a movie at Sterling or Regal. It’s in South Bombay and still 110 rupees.
And go use a washroom at the Taj. No need to be ashamed. It is the ultimate touristy thing to do while in Bombay. Everyone our age does it, except the fancy blokes who can actually afford the place. Even the staff at the Taj know it.
Search for some authentic food places. Vegetarian food was a revelation for me. Try one of the million places at Fort.
On the days you are completely broke, go and sit on Marine Drive and think about the purpose of life. Helps.
The Extension & The Job
ELP requires interns to have completed a minimum of 8 weeks to be considered for a position. In case you are like me and in the final lap of Law School, this being your last internship, talk about an extension in advance with the AP and the HR.
Placements depend on vacancies, merit. As for the moolah, as per a recent survey the firm has a gross pay of 9.5 LPA (in Mumbai) at fresher level including bonuses.
The Exit – Presentation
The Interns have to present on a topic that they have worked on during their tenure at the firm. Take this seriously. Apart from your team, the internship committee sits for it, and this includes Equity Partners.
Your only way of letting them know who you are and how good you are, is through this 15 minute gig.
Lots of love and brilliant advice. They actually care about you, contrary to 90% of the other places. Again, user experience may vary depending upon who you work with.
Twelve thousand five hundred. Cold. Paid on the second last working day of every month. Blows you.
Like every other place created by god, ELP has some short comings. But so do we:
For one, and this is to all law firms in India and to the BCI:
Stop making interns your printing guys. If it is related to some project the intern is working on, good enough, but do not call an intern at 7 in the morning and make them print 5000 pages of random documents.
It’s actually a quite common practice in a lot of firms. An intern is there to learn, and about laws, not about a Canon MH 2701 printer and its double side printing capabilities. So stop inflicting such injuries on interns, or soon they would be an extinct species.
Imagine the horror of a baby intern when he learns that Corporate Law actually means “capturing stuff” (read typing stuff from a pdf document which cannot be converted into word) or pressing the print command one hundred and fifty times.
Stop inflicting injuries on your pet intern because somebody did the same to you.
Remember he / she is loyal, but deserves respect. Save the interns.
In short, work here if you want to chill on weekends, get decent wages, spend time with your loved ones, get better exposure to transactions, learn stuff first hand, play a lot of football, and if you don’t want to become a zombie robot.
It’s a fun place. Go work at ELP. Write a review. Thank me for good advice. And send me half your stipend.
* Disclaimer: All photographs in this article, unless otherwise mentioned, have been taken / designed by the author, and all information provided about the firm and any other Institution is available in public domain and does not constitute privileged information.*
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.
The entry won the 1st prize in the competition!