Mr. Siddhesh Jain, Lala Lajpatrai College of Law, Second year of Three year law.
Duration of internship
2nd June 2015 – 29th January 2016
One Call can change your world.
The confirmation call came just after my Semester II exams had ended during mid May.
I had been selected for an Internship with Gaonkar & Company Advocates & Solicitors, one of the well known firm in Real Estate matters this I feel looking at the number of the existing clients and new clients I saw coming in, and since this was going to be my first legal internship I was very excited.
Prior to which I had to talk through one round of telephonic Interview with Mrs. Swati Kapadia who’s the joint owner of the firm along with Mr. Prakash Gaonkar, wherein she took my basic information and gave a glimpse of what interning meant under the firm.
Then I was called for a face to face interview after which I got selected. Since the firm was located in Mumbai itself I had little hesitation in joining here; cause when you are a local (Townie) you enjoy a lot.
Must mention since the firm was in Fort the foodie in me was already excited cause fort has the best eateries around. My expectations of looking forward to few months of hardcore legal work, fun and upgrading knowledge were achieved with the help of the firm, it surpassed all the expectations.
How to get in the firm.
I had read about the firm on lawctopus and emailed them, and then followed up with a call regarding the internship. After which it took a month’s time to confirm the same. Anyone interested in applying can send a mail to [email protected].
Mrs. Swati Kapadia reviews each and every mail personally and responds to the candidates as per the firm requirements. You will have to do follow up calls with them, call her after 1 clock at this numbers 22655143, 22656087. They will prefer you if you are from Bombay.
Normally one does not expect Law firms to respond to all the emails they receive as they already have mentioned on their sites only selected ones shall get a reply.
Then there are people who get Internship based on their contacts, lucky people, right, well it’s a part and parcel of a law student’s life that’s what I realized the hard way.
However, I was surprised to see here they do not take much of a reference based candidates. They have tried to give a chance to almost all those who apply seeking internship as and when a vacancy is there.
The 2 rounds of interviews.
For an internship at Gaonkar & Company Advocates & Solicitors, you will have to go through two interviews i.e. One Telephonic and One Face to Face.
The first interview is a short and simple one based on basic questions like where are you currently studying, how did you come to know about the firm and basic interests in law.
Once you clear the Telephonic round you will be asked to come down to the office for the second round. The second interview is the main test which will be jointly taken by Mr. Prakash Gaonkar & Mrs. Swati Kapadia where firstly you will need to walk them through your resume.
Then they will judge you by asking questions revolving around your strengths and weaknesses, your goals, you dream, why did you choose to study Law, what are your aims from the internship. How do you see yourself in few years as an In-House Counsel, as a Litigant Lawyer etc?
For instance in my situation, I had mentioned my field of interest as being Corporate law and I was asked about the Company Law 2013 luckily I had studied the act so I knew the answer. Since the firm is more into Real Estate matters I was asked questions relating to real estate laws which I barely knew.
Instead of mocking me, however, they explained me the Law patiently much to my surprise they were very kind. From that very moment I knew working here would be fun and rewarding.
The firm is located in Fort. The office address is Third floor Crescent Chambers, 56, Tamarind Lane, Fort, Mumbai – 400 001. Landmark to reach the office is Bombay House. High Court of Bombay is just five minutes away from the office.
How one can reach there.
I used to travel by Western Railway take train to Churchgate station. It’s approx 10 minutes walk from the station and approx 15-20 minutes from CST/Vity station.
One can travel by bus no 124, 14 just say fort stop. Tip make a pass for 3 months as they will want you to work for 3-6 months it saves your money daily tickets can be expensive.
The Day the Journey began.
I started on 2nd June 2015 and immediately on my entry I could feel friendliness in the air which eased my nerves since it was my first legal internship.
The office is made up of three galas but it’s one office only. The office is divided into three parts i.e. one part reception and clients, interns workplace, bosses cabin.
Initial legal work.
On my very first day, I was introduced to all staff members. The office had two staff one Advocate at that time. I was given a brief to arrange and was given a letter to draft. After my third attempt, I was able to get the letter right. When I though the day would end with minimal work, little did I knew there was a surprise ending to my day one.
Around 6 in the eve, I was asked if I wanted to attend a Legal Counsel meeting in regards to one of the matter the firm was handling. They asked me if I was not getting late to leave for home, I mean who asks their interns whether they want to go home or join them.
This was the trend throughout; both the bosses and Advocate Mr. Amit Kate were open if you wish to opt out for a meeting. Since the courts were not opened I was given clients file to read. I used to have tons of questions and my bosses and Advocate Mr. Amit were happy to give me all the answers.
The office timings are 11 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. though I was never scolded for being late.
Only in the start, I had to work few days until 9.30 p.m. in the night and that also the boss had requested me to stay back, after making sure I had no other commitments i.e. no dinner plans etc. I could sleep till late 10 clocks in the morning while most of my friends had to report in for work at that time in their offices.
If I had some work and would be late all I had to do was informed. Even requests for holidays were granted without any fuss. Saturdays are half days until a client work is urgent. Normally Monday to Friday you can leave after 6 p.m. if the work is done. The bosses do not mind if one leave after 6 which is really nice.
High Court of Bombay or as I say Hogwarts visit.
As soon as the vacation period got over I got the chance to attend the proceedings in High Court of Bombay. Tips always wear, “White Shirt and Black Pants and black shoes and add a black blazer or a suit on” and you will get treatment like an Advocate.
This becomes helpful when you are sent to do the departmental work or want to enter through the Advocates line or sit in the first row along with the Advocates. Visits to the High Court of Bombay is a must for every law student coming as an intern out here.
Thanks to my current internship I had the opportunity to see Litigation and Criminal Matter Proceedings.
After our matters used to get over they used to discuss with me what happened in the Hon’ble Court. They were very open to ideas and suggestions that could be applied in the matter though I was a bit hesitant at first considering I barely had any idea about Law.
Thanks to my court visits I was able to able to learn a lot about the way proceedings are conducted. The things one is supposed to keep in mind when it’s a litigation matter. What words to input and which to avoid.
The only thing which can be irritating is the stamp paper line and departmental work but it’s an experience one must take as you never know when it could come to use.
Take care of your file and papers.
One of the most important lessons for a law intern is to know where his papers are and where to put the papers once done. Here if you are asked to prepare a brief it means arrange its date wise, always clear out whether 2016 papers come on top or the bottom.
The matters you are currently working on always keep them in your drawer cause trust me you will create a lot of trouble if you do not take care of your papers, you will get unnecessary shouting from everyone.
After messing up initially, I kept my papers in the drawer and rest returned it before leaving for the day, keep this habit only.
Whenever you are asked to come inside take a diary note small details cause it helps, you never know when that detail may be asked. Even for counsel meetings, carry and make your notes it will help you a lot. And when going top court for noting take a blank paper, pen always.
When in doubt always ask.
Help will always be given at the firm to those who ask for it. Always clear your doubts as many times you want to believe me if you do not ask they feel you will be able to handle it. You will only waste time and finding loads of piled up work.
For printing and page adjustment always approach Mr. Sakaram also I called him Wikipedia, he knows where the documents are stored on the Computer documents.
Bosses and Mr. Amit Kate for legal questions. Mr. Raghu for finding files. Mr. Bhau Pujari also can be asked for help and it’s worth having chats with him.
Enhance your Drafting Skills.
Since the work here is more of drafting given a period of time you will be able to draft like a pro in the long run.
The things I have been able to draft now include Affidavits, Vakalatnama, Notice of Motion, Development Agreement, Conveyance Deed, Legal Letters, Power of Attorney, Memorandum of Understanding, Partnership Deed, Indemnity Deed, Affidavit Cum Declaration, Title Certificate, Gift Deed, Caveat.
Thanks to my court visits I was able to able to learn a lot about the way proceedings are conducted. The things one is supposed to kept in mind when it’s a litigation matter. What words to input and which to avoid.
Freedom to work as per one’s convenience.
During work hours, it almost felt like you are working with your family. Everyone loves you, cheers you up. They allow you take your own time.
Bonus Knowledge Sessions.
Whenever in evening time I saw Mr. Prakash Gaonkar was not having a client meeting I made a point to speak with him.
Sir has lots of experience and gives valuable advices to interns.
He gives lots of legal knowledge that would cost many bucks to gain.
The atmosphere was quite friendly. You could at times mistaken it for being at home. All staff used to have lunch together and share our stories about numerous things.
When in Fort life stops despite the chaos.
There is no better place in Mumbai to see its beauty, Fort area with its iconic structures like Bombay High Court, I actually mistook it for Hogwarts its beautiful and the more you see it from the inside more you drool over it. Then there is the oldest and ever clicking Bombay Stock Exchange situated on the Dalal Street.
The way from Churchgate station to office also makes you stop to see the what the vendors are selling cause they have a unique way of selling their goods, For street shopping fashion street is a just minutes away.
The iconic Marine drive to chill post work and especially in rainy seasons is really the best way to end the day. Then there is the Gate Way of India a boat ride and tons of pictures are a must.
Every Occasion is celebrated.
Here each and every festival was celebrated. Whenever it was someones birthday Cake and Juices were ordered for everyone by my bosses. Even on my last day was celebrated.
They have a nice collection of books one could use to learn about the laws, and they are kept in the reach of interns. Interns are encouraged to read them.
Emphasis on Reading.
Whenever a file was assigned to me a simple advice was told, “Do not rush in to do the work, read it understand it and then do the work.“
Here interns are expected to do a lot of drafting work hence it’s important to read carefully and then proceed. Whenever any section was there they made sure I researched and knew it, cause at times I used to be lazy and avoid it.
Tea will be served by Amit Joshi who also has worked in the office, he’s full on entertainment though sometimes his jokes might irritate you.
Do meet him and speak with him, he will have many good tips about general stuff. Tea, Coffee can be called anytime but make sure you remind him he’s very busy hence can get delayed.
Work is important but so is Food.
Fort has loads of good eateries out here though I have not been able to visit all but have tried the following: Jay Snacks his dosas are very crisp and yummy, Paratha Lovers can head to Paratha Mantra, There ayubs for Paneer lovers and juice wallas and sandwich stalls are all around.
So do remember if you interning in fort make sure you head out to eat at the amazing eateries and lastly even Theobroma has opened up here. Starbucks coffee head for it. Here I was given lots of freedom to go down and have a go at this eateries, and I am thankful to them for allowing me to.
If you want to use unlimited wifi at good speed head to Starbucks order something and use the wifi or head to Bombay Stock Exchange they have a free wifi hotspot. Do not do this during the work timings, only when you have less or no work then go for chill sessions.
The Knowledge I gained.
When I entered the firm I did not know much of the legal field. As the months passed by I kept on upgrading my knowledge till I finally learned drafting skills.
Drafting skill is all about the innovation and the more the freedom given the better you perform. I was given the freedom to work freely hence I learned a lot. Drafting the important documents can be very helpful and rewarding too.
Where you can stay
Seva Niketan which I have heard is a good place to stay was told to me by a friend who was a visiting intern. You can call and take further details from them. Contact No 22-23093057, 23093025.
Total of Rs. 8000/- it is performance based.
Last Stop end of the Journey.
My journey with them came to an end on 29th January 2016. With many happy memories, I look set to go. With the rich drafting skills I have inherited from them I hope to make the best use of them.
Tip for Interns.
Be humble in departmental works, if you know Marathi use it, or use Hindi and be very polite they will initially throw a fuss but stay calm and they will help you.
Yes, you can approach any person in court to help you with something you do not understand and do it cause its new for interns, normally everyone will be happy to guide you.
Try and finish work given day and when free approach the bosses or Mr. Amit for work as it’s vital to keep on working. Drafting is all about innovations use it, learn from the mistakes and make many so more you learn.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.