Internship Experience @ Advocate Farhan Dubash, Mumbai: Daily Court Visits & Arbitrations, Civil Law Research Work

Daily Court Visits & Arbitrations, Ultimate Training Ground for one to learn the nuances of Civil Law

Name, College and Year:

Rohan Khosla, I.L.S. Law College, Pune. I completed law in 2019.

I was in the three-year LL.B. course however the internship experience is during the month of June, November and December 2018.

Counsel’s Name and Location of Chambers:

Advocate Farhan Dubash, 105, Bhagyoday building, Nagindas Master Road, Kala Ghoda, Fort, Mumbai, India.

Application Process and Working Days:

I got Farhan Sir’s email address through a friend at my college.

The process is pretty simple; you have to email your internship application along with your C.V. to farhandubashoffice[at]gmail.com, to which he will promptly reply. It’s essential that the general mentality being that counsels usually take in interns/juniors only on the basis of contacts must certainly be banished.

Although that’s the way of the world but Farhan Sir is gracious enough to even take students like me who don’t have anyone even remotely associated to law or him.

Usually the chambers are open only on weekdays, however, if there are arbitrations or matters on the court working Saturdays, the chamber is up and running like any other weekday.

Duration of internship and timings:

Duration: June, November and December 2018.

I would ideally suggest to intern for at least for a period of two months to make the most out of the internship.

Timing: 10:00 am to until Farhan Sir leaves which was generally at 8:30 pm

Accommodation:

I stay at Navi Mumbai from where I used to travel to Bombay every day through the lifeline of the city, local train.

A certain co-intern used to stay at a hotel close by. However, there are various hostels and lodging options located within a radius of 2 – 5 kilometres from the location of the chamber which will help you to not burn a hole in your pocket.

Seva Niketan (for men) is one such place which offers value for money accommodation.

First impression, first day and infrastructure:

I distinctly remember coming ten minutes before time and sitting on a chair along with the clerks. Farhan Sir was right on time, he greeted me and assigned my first task of the day immediately after asking me to join him in his office.

Farhan Sir seemed quite intimidating on the initial few days but later I realized, he is like any other human being, just extremely professional but certainly cares for the interns.

You don’t get any notebook or pen or any such paraphernalia in the chambers, so carry your own.

The chamber is located on the first floor. When you first enter the chamber, you’ll probably feel it’s really small. However, it seems like Hogwarts, as it seems to have secret doors and panels all around.

Thus as you pass through the main door, that’s the place where an intern shall sit along with his junior and clerks. Next comes, a massive conference room by Mumbai standards even when compared to chambers of top lawyers.

I remember Farhan Sir, coming out from the third room which comes after the conference room. It is his private office which can easily be missed. Yes, there is a loo, in case you were wondering; it’s on your left as you enter the chamber.

I remember clients’ having a tough time to understand what is where, especially, the loo. Thank me later. There is a small pantry in the first room itself and a chai waala is located on the same floor, which certainly makes one’s life easier.

Main tasks:

Initially, the tasks assigned were keeping a watch on the board regarding the matters which were listed on that particular day, and researching on various points of law of on-going cases which were primarily time-sensitive in nature.

I remember researching on the point of law, “whether merely an allegation of fraud ousts the jurisdiction of the Arbitral Tribunal because of the criminal aspect to it,” which I apprised Sir of, just a minute before the Arbitration began, which was presided over by Sir.

There are other instances wherein he trusted me with researching on time-sensitive tasks, of course alongside his able junior, Ms. Harshal Manik.

The rule here was nobody should be without work. Whenever one was done with the assigned task, he/she must approach him for more work. Even if he was in the middle of something, he would take a break if that was possible, or immediately once he is done, he will assign some other task.

He as such keeps asking for an update regularly and he assigns something else if he feels that the previous task will be soon complete. I remember one morning when the previous day’s work was complete and I was just switching on my laptop and Sir walked in and after having a look at the diary and giving instructions to everyone, asked me “What are you currently working on?” to which I replied “Nothing as of now,” and he replied “How can that be?” and assigned me work.

Soon as time passes, you can expect him to assign you drafting work as well. Now, generally, counsels don’t usually draft anything but there are instances when law firms/attorneys approach Farhan Sir to draft various documents.

I was assigned a task of drafting the facts of a Section 34 (Challenge to the Arbitral Award) of Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act 2015 and think for grounds to challenge the Award, after which, I was made to sit with him in the conference room as he dictated the grounds for challenge to the stenographer.

It certainly was an eye-opener for me to see the master at work, setting out a proper legal ground against an ostensible airtight and crisp award.

The dictation finished exactly within the time for which the stenographer was engaged. It was absolutely fascinating. Something of this sort happened almost every other day and I started to fall in love with law deeply as the days passed by.

Things an intern must always bear in mind:

One must always be dressed sharp and hair shouldn’t be unkempt. Men are always supposed to wear a tie while going for a court, and arbitral hearing.

Needless to say, one is always supposed to be on time. Also, an intern must keep a habit of being aware of the upcoming matters which can be easily accessed by the diary which is maintained by the clerk.

Farhan Sir, can at any point of time ask you about the serial number of a matter in a certain court listed for that particular day, which is the smallest possible way in which you could aid him. An intern must always be on his toes as sir tends to reach the court a few minutes before the hearing.

Work Environment and People:

The work environment is quite challenging and overwhelming at the same time. You’ll be assigned with various tasks and are expected to deliver.

However, in case of any query or difficulty, you are more than welcome to consult about the same with Harshal Ma’am or Farhan Sir.

Harshal Ma’am is very easy going with an intern and makes one feel comfortable. She has an experience of over a decade of working in a law firm and is nothing less than an exceptional lawyer with a fine eye to details.

The clerk, Raju Bhai who is one such person who’s always there to help you with whatever you need, however, he is Farhan Sir’s clerk and not an intern’s.

The day would usually start with a conference regarding the matter which was listed for the first half of the day either in City Court or High Court.

Thereafter, you’ll be accompanying him in various courts for various matters. Conferences will be squeezed between those matters. We all will be back to chambers for lunch which would again be followed either by Court again or by a conference.

The time which you will get in between Court and Conferences is the time when you are supposed to do the assigned work. Every day after court, there will most likely be an arbitration wherein either he is the Arbitral Tribunal or he is representing a party.

The conferences shall take place once we are done with the arbitration. The conferences usually happen in the conference room of the chamber and you are expected to go and sit in on those as you might be assigned work then and there.

Most arbitration happens at a stone throw distance away and you shall be taken along with him as long as there is sufficient space for everyone to sit comfortably.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

The best thing here apart from the work culture is “Grub Corner.” It’s a small authentic Parsi eatery which is just two minutes away from the Chambers.

It’s flooded right with other junior counsels and attorneys from 9 am in the morning. Although everything is amazing over here, one must certainly try their walnut pie as well as chicken quiche. Also, Theobroma and Carter’s Blue are close by.

The bad part for some people could be carrying their laptop every day at work as there is no system provided.

It might get difficult for a few people to carry it every day at work, especially during the rainy season. For me, it was when the internship ended and I had to go back to college again.

The ugliest of them all is, Sunlight bar being on the other side of town.

Stipend:

None. Probably we should be the ones paying for learning so much from him.

Chill scenes:

At times when there was a co-intern, we would usually go to Theobroma for lunch or brownies. Mostly, I was the only intern, so usually, I would meet my other friends during lunch break once a week and on the last working day chill at Sunlight!

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