Name of the organisation. City. Office Address. How was the office? Team strength.
Jyoti Sagar Associates The address: 27, Community Centre, East of Kailash, New Delhi – 110 065. Tel: 011 43110600.
Commuting was fairly easy; the office is less than five minutes walk from Kailash Colony metro station on the Violet line. Located in quite a posh area, the office had many floors. The spiral staircase formed the spine of the place, supporting everything from office blocks to kitchenettes at different levels.
The reception hall, on the first floor, was a cozy affair; all glass panels and leather sofas.
The basement was where all the interns sat along with some of the clerks and handymen. On the first floor, we had the tiny kitchen-cum-dining room on one side. The other side opened into a hall lined with bookshelves, and over-looked a conference room and a bunch of office rooms meant for some of the Partners.
The second and third floors were pretty standard; brightly lit office cubicles for the Juniors, and classy-looking private studies for the Partners.
There were a lot of people working at this address; 40 would be an approximate number. Of whom, Juniors would number 6, partners around 8, and the rest were Associates and other members.
Duration of internship
13th May – 7th June
Application procedure? Internship Contact Details
I applied in quite a few ways, including filling the application form HERE; but a favorable reply came only to the email I sent at [email protected].
In this email, I wrote “Application for Internship: May or June” in the subject-area. The cover letter itself explained why I wanted to join JSA and also what I hoped to work on there ( I mentioned IP and ADR). After promising to be a diligent internee, I attached my CV and a standard-format recommendation letter from my college. A reply came in exactly one week.
However, to be very honest, I’m pretty sure it’s all a matter of luck. You need to go with all guns blazing; apply at all the email ids at http://www.jsalaw.com/contacts.html as well. Plus, make sure you call up the offices and try to talk to the human resources person, or to ‘the person who deals with the internship applications’.
Make sure he hears your name and college, so s/he will remember you when s/he’s looking at the online applications. Another tip worth mentioning: Remember to keep the dates you are applying for sufficiently vague, unless you absolutely cannot compromise.
The reason for this is because JSA offers internships a little indiscriminately; and if you reject the dates they offer you, they waive the entire internship altogether. It’s happened to a few of my friends.
So in my case, vacations from college were from 1st May till 30th June and ideally I’d have liked the internship for May only, or for June only, so that two full internships could be fit in. But I wisely framed my application like this; “Application for internship anytime
during May or June this year”.
I was eventually granted internship from 13th May till 7th June, which meant I could not intern for four weeks in the second month, without missing classes. But I was happy to make that sacrifice; working at JSA was well worth it.
Duration in weeks. Days of work per week. Timings.
The internship was four-weeks long; beginning on a Monday and terminating on a Friday. We were to report officially at 10.30, and could leave at 5.30. Mondays to Fridays were working, and we had to come in on Saturday only if we had work or were called in specifically. All in all, this gave us interns a fairly balance work and personal life.
Though full corporate formality was observed, the best thing about JSA was the casual approach maintained despite the general discipline. So while there was a register outside where we had to sign our names, we were never reprimanded for coming in late.
Of course, while leaving, the front-desk lady always made sure we finished our work before letting us out at 5.30. I left early only one day and that too because I had fallen ill. But nobody even minded having to stay this late; a 7 hour work day is almost unheard of, for a law firm.
First impression, first day, formalities
I remember being quite intimidated on the first day. After all, this was JSA, which had such a good reputation, and I expected nothing less than thorough corporate perfection. When I entered the reception area, there were a couple of new interns already waiting and all formally dressed. Nobody spoke much and I was steeling myself for some cold lecturing about rules and restrictions.
But my fears were unwarranted. The receptionist was a sweet motherly lady who greeted us all when she walked in half an hour later, apologized for being late and spent fifteen good minutes cribbing at someone for not fixing the printer quickly, while we just sat there not knowing where to look.
After handing out little parcels containing stationary, and a ‘JSA’ notebook, she took us downstairs to the basement where other interns were sitting. We were told that we’d have to share computers because too many interns had come in at this time. Then we went upstairs to meet the Partners and Associates.
My impression quickly went from awed humility to disappointment at the slight lack of organization, as I saw the interns lounging about on the old computers. In time, however, my disappointment vanished, and I began to feel more at home, mainly because everyone was quite friendly and there was no shortage of good work to be done.
Here’s where I found JSA most interesting. One would think that, for a top ranking firm, the work culture would be stuffy and full of bustling Associates followed by hassled interns.
However, this was far from the real thing. Maybe it was the fact that we were working around the time most courts are on vacation, and that this was the litigation office; not the corporate one, like the one at Gurgaon.
Whatever the reason, I spent the first couple of days feeling that there just wasn’t enough work to go around. The rule was that whoever needed us to work would call on the intercom in the basement where we were sitting, and assign some task. But all I did the first day was wait around for a call, and meantime, help the other interns with their work.
Soon enough, I realized that if you looked for work, there was no dearth of it. I decided to take matters into my own hands the next day, and went upstairs to ask for work. After pestering quite a few people, I found one associate who asked me to research on the laws and regulations affecting the micro-finance industry.
I was to write a research note on the subject, and this would be used in client-conferences.
After that, there was no looking back. Whenever I felt like working, I would simply go upstairs and ask around for work, and I was soon studying the interplay between two Acts in a specific area, finding the latest judicial interpretations of terms and helping the Associates frame and substantiate their arguments.
I dabbled in everything from land acquisition and capital markets, to Alternate Dispute Resolution and Limitation provisions. The breadth of exposure was wide. Sometimes, the Partners themselves would call us to their office and assign us work.
We were supposed to maintain a worksheet which would be printed at the end of our internship. and retained with the office. Word was that this worksheet would be of immense value when recruiters come for campus placements. So I diligently filled in every little thing I worked on, and kept a copy for myself.
Work environment, people
The work environment was very favorable for my temperament. I had often dreaded working with a law firm because of the maddeningly late hours and the suffocating work-load. However, JSA dispelled all those apprehensions.
Everyone, starting from the receptionist, including the clerks and associates, and even the Partners, were civil and not at all rude. There were, however, a couple of the Partners who were quite formidable to those who worked under them; I heard tales of hard work going unappreciated and the slightest mistake being highlighted rudely.
We learnt to stay away from that duo; for the most part, I was lucky to work only for the ‘normal’ ones. One Partner did indeed snap my head off one time, because I failed to mention the date in one case-note; but aside from that, no ugly incidents.
In fact, the Associates were all on our side; at one point, one guy was just returning from a crabby Partner’s office, and this Associate told him to just take it in one ear and out the other since the woman was crazy anyway! Plus, the work was never too much. One could work if one wanted, or relax otherwise.
So I spent the first week trying hard to find new work, but the second and third weeks I hung out a lot with the other interns, all of whom were really friendly. We’d spend half our time talking about childhood cartoons and smoking outside. In the fourth week, of course, I completed all the pending assignments and found myself quite a lot of work.
At 1 pm, amazing home made lunch would be served in the kitchenette. I remember the food being tasty yet simple, with very little oil; just like at home. There would be some sabji and dal, hot parathas, and pickles if we wanted. Something different everyday. On Thursdays, we’d get chicken, so that was the day no-one ever missed.
Of course, the ultimate perk was the CCD coffee machine in the kitchenette. It was always in order, and I’d regularly get drunk on Cappucino Latte and Espresso. There was also a cupboard with every flavor of tea in little tea bags.
The best things AND the bad things
What I liked best was the way everyone made us feel part of the organization. If you read the subtext closely, you’d probably say that as interns, our place was pretty clear, located as we were in the basement. But no-one spoke down to us, and everyone thanked us for every bit of help we provided.
We did not have to give an excuse every time we stepped out, and we were treated like equal team players while presenting a case to Partner, or discussing problems with an Associate.
But on the flip side, what could probably be improved would be the administration; too many interns were called at the same time, and there was no proper allocation of work, nor any monitoring. We were also promised a mentor each, but were granted no such luxury.
All in all, JSA was a very fruitful experience, as I got to do solid work, in very interesting areas, yet there wasn’t a single moment when I felt burdened or stressed out because of the pressure.
For someone interning at a firm for the first time, JSA would be the perfect place to go simply because it encourages rather than demotivates you, and makes you feel that law-firm life could very well be something to desire.
Accommodation etc. What did you to do chill in and around the office and the place of stay?
I stayed at Jungpura with relatives. Commuting was a breeze as I only had to travel two metro stops to reach work; if I got late, I could take a detour by auto, and be at office in fifteen minutes. Some of my friends worked in the area, and i’d meet them in the evenings after work.
Kailash Colony is a nice place to hang out; we’d spend a lot of time eating Rs.10 flavor-of-the-month ice cream at Nirula’s. Lajpat Nagar and Defence Colony are close by, and have a great variety of places to eat, drink, or simply stroll about.