Your Name, College, Year of Study
Nupur Walia. University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Panjab University, Chandigarh. Fourth Year
Name of Organisation, Location (city). Team Strength
Chambers of Advocate Kawaljit Kochar, Supreme Court of India. Address: 70, Lawyers Chambers, Supreme Court Compound, Tilak Marg, New Delhi – 110001
Team Strength : Ma’am had two juniors assisting her and a law clerk. We were four interns in total. Phone: 91-11-23070702
Sorry to stretch this a bit but I’d like to state that I was very clear about interning in the SC in my 4th or 5th Year, because by this time, a student has pretty much equipped himself/herself with relevant knowledge of basic laws.
And is certainly known, the field of law still happens to be one where contacts work and for the most part, is the only thing that works. Coming from a non-legal background, I have absolutely had no one known in my circle who was remotely related to the field of law. And I will admit, I’m terrible at making contacts!
But as fate had it, once, my father was at a relative’s place when he met this person who was distantly known to Ms. Kawaljit and had come from US for a short trip to India.
In the course of their interaction, Sir conveyed it to my dad that I must send him my CV along with the cover letter. He forwarded it to [email protected]
Within a week’s time, he forwarded me the mail sent by ma’am, accepting me as her intern. When I joined the internship, I realized ma’am is very warm and welcoming of her interns. And she loves to have them in her chamber. I and my other three co-interns secured this internship through a contact only.
I’m not sure if you will receive a prompt reply to your application. But I ought to provide the contact details. The chamber telephone number is : 91-11-23070702
Duration of internship and timings
I had applied for this internship for the entire month of July but due to an abrupt call from my Institute about the commencement of our compulsory final year internship, I could only intern from 1st July to 18th July, 2014.
Saturdays were optional but because it was an opportunity clearly granted to me by a stroke of luck, I wouldn’t miss it even for a single day.
It is also pertinent to mention that the duration is quite flexible, just discuss it with ma’am and she will agree. The interns stayed in the chamber from 10 A.M to 5 P.M. However, an intern could leave early if they wanted.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
When I reported on the first day, ma’am wasn’t there in her chamber as she had gone to argue a matter. So, we spent this time interacting with her junior, Ms. Vasundhara. She seemed a very silent person but was nonetheless, friendly and easily approachable.
First day formalities:
My internship commenced on Monday and interns are not allowed inside the courtrooms on Mondays and Friday as the court is listed with Miscellaneous matters. After getting a letter written by the advocate you will intern with, an intern has to get an entry pass made. For this, you only need to furnish a copy of your college ID proof.
When Kawaljit ma’am finally came to the chamber, we introduced ourselves to her and she inquired about our decision of choosing this profession and what do we finally intend to take up after we finish our degree.
In the later half of the day, ma’am told us about the case that were to be argued the next day in the Saket Family Court and so I spent my time reading the case file.
Ms. Kawaljit Kochar is quite friendly and wherever there was a doubt, you could freely ask her.
The chamber is not very spacious and could normally accommodate 7-8 people. In the following days, we learnt that some of the decorative pieces that she has kept inside the chambers are the antiquities that she got from Turkey, Africa, London and Singapore.
In addition to this, there were several law books, digests, journals.
I would say that the work was pretty much never given to you but you had to ask for it. Ma’am firmly believes that the efforts should come from the side of the interns as we will be the ones benefiting from it.
We were required to report to the Supreme Court/High Court or whichever Trial Court was assigned to us the previous day, at 9:30am.
As an intern, there are quite some aspects of an Advocate’s office and it’s working that you get to learn about. One such aspect is that you observe the interactions between the client and the lawyer.
Our main tasks included :
1. Work detail focused on Constitutional Law, Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Code of Civil Procedure, Family Laws.
2. Accompanying the lawyer to the High Court and various other lower courts such as Saket District Court, National Consumer Disputes Redresal Commission.
3. Observing the drafting of Writ Applications and Petitions, Special Leave for Appeal under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution.
4. Daily research on upcoming cases, going through cause list etc.
Also, I had never been an avid reader but during my internship, I developed a keen interest in it and everyday, I would go through the case files and other law books. So whenever I had nothing, I would just read.
It is very important to observe the lawyer while he/she dictates to his/her junior. This way, I learnt how to draft a curative petition and mercy petition.
There was wide-ranging variety of legal areas to be read and discussed about such as bail, FIR, civil matters, and even extra-legal matters.
I attended matters in Saket Family Court, Patiala House Family Court. Ma’am is dealing with the divorce matter from the side of Avantika Singh w/o actor Chandrachur Singh. Also, I had the chance to hear the euthanasia debate validating euthanasia, in pursuance of which it sought responses from all the states and Union Territories on the issue.
Work environment and people
The work environment was liberal and you were gaped with a motivation to learn, to work and perform. You can usually leave by 5 or 6 in the evening, and your request to leave early will usually not be declined.
Everyone was very friendly and treated us like a family. Next to Kawaljit Madam’s chamber was the chamber of Advocate Bhargava Desai. He looked like someone very strict, but quite amazingly, he turned out to be a very hilarious person and would talk about his day as a student. He always tells the interns to not take it too seriously but sincerely.
It was during the lunch hours that Punjabis and a Gujarati would sit together, talk, share laughs and eat home made food in either the chamber or the Supreme Court canteen. Sometimes, we had other lawyers joining us too.
1. Listening to the learned judges (especially the Constitution bench).
2. During the hours I read, I learnt much about Animal Laws, laws dealing with Heritage and Archaeological wealth, and Medical Jurisprudence.
3. Visit to Prasar Bharti for an arbitration proceeding.
4. Exploring the entire Supreme Court premises.
5. Madam Kawaljit does pro bono work too.
Also, your efforts and willingness to learn doesn’t go unnoticed. Even though I was ‘THE MOST’ silent person in there (as compared to my co-interns), I’d think I wasn’t making too much of a good impression.
But, one day ma’am spoke about the perception of her junior about me. As compared to my co-interns, they found me as a sincere person and appreciated that I was taking so much interest. Can anything be better than being acknowledged for what you do?
On the last day of my internship, Sir told me that I will make a good teacher and a litigator too, if I want to.
There was nothing bad with my internship. Except that I sometimes felt that those who come in through a contact start to think they were entitled to a certain internship and thus, make little efforts to make full use of the given opportunity. So was the case with my co-interns.
While returning from the courts, they would sometimes go to a shopping mall and come after couple of hours or while away their time in the SC cafeteria/canteen.
And then, they’d crib all the time in front of ma’am, about a previous internship at a reputed law firm, saying that there was never really any work.
No stipend, but I take pride in saying that the constant motivation and golden words of appreciation said to me, are above any form of monetary payment.
Before doing this internship, I had a narrow vision about the litigation work. Having undergone this training under Madam Kawaljit’s tutelage, I find litigation field as one which brings new challenges with every case matter.
In addition to this, I also learnt that you can very much be a standalone lawyer and still leave your mark in the field even if you don’t have a legal background.