Aparna Babu George, National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
Name of the Office, City, Office
The Law Department of Kerala.
The office is housed at the Secreteriat in Trivandrum, right next to the Chief Minister’s office. There is a huge division of work within the department which is why the office stretches to several offices with a Library at it epicenter. That is where as interns we would be spending most of our time. It is an extremely well stocked library and has a great work ambience.
People at the Department are absolutely cooperative and genuinely interested in the work you do. Most of them were practicing lawyers and therefore are a great source of information.
Area of Focus
The most important work you would be doing there are interacting and observing. A Member of the Legislative Assembly merely makes announcements about legislations, the actual research, drafting and and analysis happens here. Also every legislation and ordinance has to be translated to the local tongue.
So here it is translated to Malayalam and then to Tamil and Kannada too since they are a noticeable minority. You get a first hand knowledge of how the whole process works and get underway and how the final result gets printed out. Every other ministry sends in their queries with regard to law to this department. So you witness a sort of advising process also.
Being a government office, people start coming only at about 9 which means you need to be there only by 10. And you are done for the day by 5 unless the Assembly is in session. Then there is more work and office functions till about 8.
They take in very few interns at a time. So at a time you will probably find 3 or 4 students.
An official letter requesting for internship along with an attached copy of your CV has to be sent to the Law Secretary. He heads the department and is second only to the Minister. He then will call you for a one on one after which you are informed about your selection.
First hand knowledge about the law making process of our country.
You build great contacts amongst people who matter.
This is not law that you read in your books. This is how law is interpreted and manipulated in order to justify a legislation or a case where the government is a party.
Timings are perfect.
People are willing to help you and provide you with a sea of information.
You don’t learn anything about how to draft a petition or how to talk to a client.
You have to show an interest if you want work.
You can be stopped by a cop at any point and asked to show your ID.
This place is very much in the city so it is accessible from anywhere through bus or auto. I stayed with my aunt but there are many hostels around which provide basic accommodation.