By Deesha Dalmia
“We don’t have any slots available for this year”, she said. This was my eighth phone call since morning to a Law Firm in the National Capital to seek an internship for the summer break. I study in one of the reputed Law universities in the country with an above average grade yet, I find getting an internship tougher than learning those 150+ cases for any of the law subjects every semester.
This isn’t the first time, sure I’ve faced rejections earlier but then I simply settled for whatever I got in the end to not waste time sitting at home during the holidays. There exists an easy solution to this problem; one that is adopted by the majority. This solution is “jugaad” or “source” or “jack”.
What this simply means is you know someone who works in that firm or that you know someone who knows someone who works in the particular firm. The chain could go on and on. But this is the route that students take mostly.
Able students, with good marks have also resorted to such solutions to avoid haggling with the HR of a firm or simply avoid begging for an internship and simply call up “daddy” who will arrange an internship “with a friend/colleague” who happens to be a lawyer.
This gives me the thought that there should be “quota/reservation” for internships as well then for the people who don’t have any sort of “source” to use.
Why not? Reservation has anyway become a solution to every education-related problem in my country today.
Another question pops up as to whether an internship is really necessary which some parents absolutely fail to understand. Yes, dear parent, it is necessary. This is because everyone wants even the new-comers to have some sort of an experience.
Now in the early times, that of Soli Sorabjee/Fali S Nariman and many noted others, the tradition was one shall first finish studying then work as a junior under a lawyer in any court and then fly out independently.
But in today’s time when students want to earn in five-digits right after college, internships are the only “experience” we have on our resume. Hence, sitting at home and whiling away our time during vacations is not something we can afford unless of course I have a “source” and hence my future is secure.
Coming back to the point, there is no clear route through which one ma get an internship because nepotism runs in the smallest to the largest firm/lawyer’s chamber. Now comes the challenging part, my story. Fortunately or unfortunately I belong to those students who actually have a “jugaad” or “source” I can easily exploit but there is one tiny problem, my conscience.
Call me an idealist but I don’t want to take this route. And boy I have faced criticism. Day in and day in I face criticism and comments like “Why do worry? Your father will easily get you a good internship with the best of firms”. This is what I don’t want. This may sound idealistic and unrealistic but this is how it is.
My friends take it for granted that I needn’t worry, but I worry. I worry a lot. Not only because I have to go through criticism such as this but also at home where my father is unhappy that I don’t seek his help. His intentions are right but I don’t feel right in doing so. I have studied in good schools and currently I’m in a good college, this is where I should start getting to my feet instead of relying on him again for internships.
My friends say I need to give up this thought-process as one day I will have to ask my father for help but I’m trying really hard, everyday to fight against it.
I have tried everything, applying six months in advance and continuous follow-ups and yet.
While I see others, people around me, who really don’t deserve it, intern at my dream firms just because of family’s “jaan-pehchaan”.
Out of the eight firms I called up today, four asked me to call up in a month or so, two did not receive, one said they have stopped taking interns at all and of course, the last one said they are “full for the entire year”. How do you get past that? I wonder how long will I survive without seeking help from my father.
They ask me what’s the big deal? Everyone does it. I’ll answer. I know how it feels to get something on your own, without help. This may be a small incident but it sure gave me a resolve for life.
I had to change schools after my class tenth exams as I wanted a stream which was not offered by my current school. For admission in the new school, I had to sit for a written exam, qualifying that for an interview.
And the moment I saw my name in the “list of selected candidates” on the school’s website, I screamed just one thing “I got this on my own”.
That is the first time I felt that I had got something in life because of my own efforts and not that of my parents or anyone else for that matter.
And that I grew a conscience about doing things/getting things on my own as far as it’s possible. It’s not like I’m paying my own fees, the point is that I want to achieve feats on my own ability. Sure, I’ll need support of my friends and family, but the struggle shall remain to keep the conscience alive as long as possible.
Editor’s note: It’s ok to feel what you are feeling: that you need to do things on your own.
However, in life, you do very little on your own. A lot of life happens in relationships.
You didn’t get anything on your own. Not this life. Not this body. Not this mind.
I don’t know why ‘making contacts’ seems like a bad word for so many students. It’s a perfectly ethical way to get internships and jobs.
Life, personal and professional, is less about your skills and hard work but more about the relationships. (This does NOT mean that skills and hard work are not important. They too are super important).
It’s surprising that ‘building contacts’ is a detestable, slimy phrase for so many law students.
Actually, here’s what it means:
1. Being vulnerable enough to be the first to say Hi.
2. Listening. Really listening.
3. Being compassionate. Putting yourself in the other’s shoes.
4. Making a contribution to the other because of the possibility you see in that other.
As a result, you make the pie bigger.
Building contacts=building relationships.
Thinking that success comes through the insane hours of a lone genius is a very limited view of life and success. Success comes when you deal with people. And dealing with people means building relationships.
PS: A lot of what I’ve written can be attributed to the Landmark Forum (I’ll highly recommend the Landmark Education to everyone).
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