First published on March 13, 2013.
Because it’s the internship season, we are republishing this article! Hope you find it useful.
By Tanuj Kalia
Are you an intelligent, diligent and hardworking law student? Do you find the process of getting an internship troublesome and sometimes even unsuccessful? The below technique will always work (provided you persist with it).
It’s time consuming, but well worth the time.
Depending on who you are and what you’ve done, search for the law firms/organisations which are a fit for you/which interest you.
Who you are: Which law school you are from, what’s your class rank, year of student etc.
What you’ve done: Previous internships, moots, publications, seminars, courses etc.
RSG Consulting and Legal500.com are good websites to begin your law firm search.
Search for the email IDs and phone numbers of the short-listed firms.
You can get the Email IDs on the Lawctopus’ page for internship contact details here. Of course, you can check the organisation’s website too.
In case you don’t find an email ID where you can send your internship application to, call the law firm’s office up and ask them if they have an email ID for internship applications.
For an internship under a Supreme Court lawyer, the director on the SCBA website (here) should help.
Email your CV with a nice tailor made cover letter (the cover letter should make the body of the email).
Tailor made cover letter: Do NOT copy paste your cover letter and send it to a dozen law firms. It’s easy to spot and your application will surely land in the dust-bin!
Select the 5-6 ‘law firms/organisations that fit’ and send them a tailor made cover letter.
The tailor made cover letter should mention things like what you like about that particular law firm, the recent things/deals which the law firm has done and which you’ve heard about (read LegallyIndia or Bar and Bench for that), what value you can add to that firm and vice versa.
A Sample CV is here.
A Cover Letter is here.
Call up the law firm’s office. Ask for the status of your internship application. Keep a track on their response and don’t shy away from calling them more than twice or thrice.
IMPORTANT: Without calling up the office you can consider your internship application as good as ‘not sent’.
Also don’t end up badgering a law firm’s HR. A reminder once a week is good enough.
There is a thin line there and if you cross it, well, never mind. We are still students and still learning and mistakes are bound to happen.
If you still fail to secure an internship (say after 2-3 months of dilligent effort), take a 4-5 days off from college and visit the nearest big city which has decent law firm/lawyer offices (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore).
Go the the law firms’ offices in these locations. Make sure you are in your best formals and that you have taken a print-out of your CV with you.
Get the CV printed on a slightly better quality paper than you use for normal print-0uts.
Don’t be shy about this. You are a student and are here to learn. Some offices might not entertain you and that’s ok. Some might sound indifferent and that’s ok. But someone might take you in!
This is as desperate as a struggling actor hounding an influential director; but well who says a career in law is NOT a struggle.
Talk to the lawyer/HR about the firm, yourself, your aspirations, and of course about your wanting an internship etc. Be frank, sincere and serious.
Tell the law firmite how you got to know about his firm (tell him/her about the Legally India/Bar and Bench article; that should make anyone happy), what excites you about the law firm, about the areas of law it works on and how you too are interested in similar fields of law etc.
Talk about yourself, how you are good for the internship/job and what brought you here (Delhi, Mumbai; where ever you are).
This takes the lawyer/law firmite by surprise.
Having done all of this, most law firms will let a decent law student intern with them.
Best of luck! Questions & comments are welcome.