Shourya Bari, 4th year, B.A., LL.B (Hons)
Current Institution: University of Pontificia, Comillas, Madrid [Exchange Student]
Home Institution: Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat
Place of Internship:
Law Chambers of Jishnu Saha, Senior Advocate, Calcutta High Court
Duration of Internship:
15th June – 20th July, 2015
10th July – 31st July, 2016
10 30 AM – 4 30 PM [Court visits]
6 30 PM – 10 PM [Chamber work]
Note: You may wish to stay longer or leave early if you have to. For completing your work, you may take books along with you.
Please write an e-mail with your CV and a cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Do NOT email your CV and cover letter to the above email ID en masse. Your application will surely find your way into the trash. First, see if you really want to intern here. Then apply with a customized CV and cover letter.
Usually, Jishnu sir responds in a day or two. In case he does not, please follow up your application with another email.
Jishnu sir tries his best to accommodate interns however there are several applications to choose from. An application three months prior to your date of joining is ideal.
Sir’s chamber is located in New Alipore, a prominent locality in South Calcutta. I suppose decent accommodation facilities should be available nearby.
Apologies for being vague here, but being from Calcutta, I never had to worry about accommodation.
“How is the lawyer like, man?”
One of the most eminent commercial lawyers in Calcutta, his range of practice areas includes, but not limited to company law, arbitration, intellectual property, property disputes, contractual and general civil suits.
He is eloquent, calm, and incredibly precise, persuasive and pleasant. Never have I seen him lose his patience, or become aggressive in his submissions.
I have had a fair amount of engagement with solicitors, junior lawyers and law clerks in the Calcutta High Court, and no one has ever spoken a negative word about him, never.
No mean feat, given the abundance of unhealthy (but enjoyable) gossip floating there. Yes, his humility is as well known as his legal brilliance.
Awkward first days (It wasn’t!):
I had previously interned with two senior counsels, Mr. Milon Mukherjee and Mr. Mahesh Jethmalani. Owing to my experience there (it was otherwise quite good), I had an impression that senior counsels probably don’t interact with their interns.
It changed while being with him. On the first day itself, Jishnu sir called me to his room and briefly explained an issue pertaining to competition law, on which I was expected to research and report to him.
Some unsolicited advice I would like to offer. Often, Jishnu sir will quickly explain you difficult concepts and issues to work upon. You may not remember them.
I didn’t, mostly because I was always staring at his vast collection of law reporters [Reporter on Patent Cases, Lloyd Law Reports for e.g.]. So please take your notebook along to jot down whatever he says.
Also, a good impression never hurts.
Now, how do I go about the work?
Please be thorough with whatever work has been allocated to you. For example; if it’s an issue pertaining prevention of oppression and mismanagement in the Companies Act, please pick up volume 3 of Ramaiya’s Commentary on the Companies Act and read the entire commentary on chapter 6.
If you are entrusted to locate case laws, please read all the cases on the point and of course the entire case.
Now why am I preaching such nerdiness here?
During a conference with the client on the competition law issue I had worked on, sir called me inside. I noticed a printed copy of the research material I had sent to him in his hand. He was actually referring to the case laws and the relevant points I mentioned.
At one stage he stopped for a while due to some confusion, and I did what I had never thought of. I continued the discussion with the client, and noticed Jishnu sir listening as well. In the end, he handed over that printed copy to the client, as his opinion on the case at that stage.
Yes, those 45 minutes happen to be one of my most cherished memories ever. So, be prepared, always.
During my final week, he asked me to accompany him to court for a matter which had come up for hearing. I had worked on it. Halfway into the hearing, sir cited a string of case laws which caught my attention.
I had prepared notes from those cases, and submitted it to him earlier that week. While walking down the corridors of the High Court after the hearing, he appreciated me providing him with those case laws. Is thorough research necessary and fruitful? Res Ipsa Loquitur.
The people around you:
I didn’t have to address sir’s juniors as sir/madam. ‘Da’ and ‘Di’ were suffixed to their names from the beginning. This is one unique aspect about working in the Calcutta High Court. Your immediate senior is always addressed as Dada/Didi irrespective of the age difference.
In the Calcutta High Court, “Dada and Didi” is the route you take to informal discussions on litigation and the characters who occupy it, legends from courtrooms, and the stuff that causes cancer.
Even if you aren’t familiar with this tradition, go for it and take a bite of Calcutta with you.
Jishnu sir usually has 5 to 6 juniors, and old juniors keep coming with matters. They are all helpful, polite, cheerful, and really good at what they do. They will guide you, and provide you with work. Occasionally they will take you out for lunch too.
Overall, you will share a great rapport. I have gone back to sir’s office for the 2nd time, and picked up exactly where I had left a year ago. Relationships last in Jishnu sir’s chambers.
During the first week, Jishnu sir sat with us and spoke briefly about where he began his career. He concluded on this note:
‘You can always come to this chamber whenever you want. If you ever need anything, you can always come to me. If you need to access the library, you are always welcome.’
In a treacherous world characterized by hierarchy and distance, this was a pleasant surprise. Where in many chambers, you aren’t even encouraged to talk to senior counsels Jishnu sir indulged us to the core.
In moments of excitement, I have interrupted him in between a client conference to share the discovery of a case law in our favour (mooting habits die hard). Somewhere else, this would have been a sin.
Not with Jishnu sir, he smiled and asked me to come back once the conference was over, in his usual polite tone.
His advocacy, frank nature, and politeness will never fail to inspire you, to be passionate yet detached, humble yet firm, disciplined yet indulgent, and take the leap of faith to trudge along the uncertainty of litigation.
That’s what I scooped away while being with him.
If you ever stand outside the High Court before court hours, you will witness cars arranging themselves in a pattern around the contours of the High Court. Lawyers step out of them to rush to the court, trying to put on their gowns.
Law clerks hurry up the stairs with typically green bags, stuffed with case documents and law reports, and litigants form a queue outside, anxious and hopeful at the same time. The book stores, Xerox corners, tea stalls and food joints also raise their shutters to play their role in the orchestra.
Your experience in the High Court will allow you to appreciate the phrase, ‘disciplined chaos.’
The High Court’s characters frantically run around its floors to be on time, and with proper documents.
Droplets of sweat appear on your forehead when eminent counsels with multiple matters across different courtrooms are nowhere to be found before a matter is about to be taken up.
The anxious solicitor will repeatedly try to get through to them over the phone, whereas the law clerk will be sent running to fetch him from one of those forty other courtrooms. Just when the judge is about to express his disappointment, the eminent counsel makes a dramatic entry.
Justifying their eminence they never fail to make quality submissions in spite of their daily juggle with multiple matters.
Litigation is a turbulent ride. But at 4 30 PM, when their Lordships rise, the litigators retreat to their nets, a little more satisfied, learned and humbled.
A fascinating internship experience fills you with gratitude.
First and foremost, I must thank Mr. Ishaan Saha, my senior from law school for all his help even before the internship started.
During the course of the internship; I deeply benefited from the mentorship of Ms. Arpita Saha, Ms. Sulagna Mukherjee, Ms. Srinanda Bose, Mr. Subhojit Saha, Mr. Rishav Banerjee, Mr. Sourojit Dasgupta, Mr. Zeeshan Haque, Ms. Aishani Bose, and Ms. Krittika Sethia, all advocates of the Calcutta High Court.