Name of the organization. City
Themis and co., Advocates and Legal Consultants, GK 1; New Delhi under Advocate Rahul Srivastava
Duration of the internship
4th July- 31st July, 2013 ( Exactly 4 weeks (28 days) which is calculated including weekends). Sundays were off but all Saturdays were working.
However one was exempted from wearing formals on Saturdays as there was no court work and one (interns) could even leave a little earlier when the work load was meager or could be completed at home or their commuting time was excessive. Females are specially exempted if they are commuting alone and/or live very far away.
However, for the sake of maintaining professionalism and formality, reasons were required to be given and permission to be asked from the heads before finally exiting the office
How big was the office? Team strength?
The office is compact and located in the basement but surprisingly well maintained and ventilated. Since I was the only intern at the time, I got a full cabin to myself with ample desk space, a desktop computer.
Usually as well, I was informed by the associate that there are not more than 2 interns at a time in the office making for a very peaceful and comfortable working environment. The firm is run by a husband and wife duo with 22 plus years in the legal field each.
There was one more associate apart from them, a young 25 year old who has been working in the firm for 2 years. I was told that there used to be two more associates making for a team of 3 who left (for various reasons).
Then the usual 2 office boys, a munshi (responsible for court related work, checking case listings, coming to court daily with files and coordinating between difference matters in different courts on the same day, keeping abreast with the schedule et all),typists etc which form the workforce of any regular litigation firm.
Application procedure. Internship contact details
I applied personally applying on their official email id- email@example.com
Duration in weeks. No. of days/week. Timings
4 weeks as aforementioned. 28 days in total out of which all Sundays were off. Reporting time was at 10 am sharp as it is primarily a litigation firm with around 5/6 matters daily in the high court and Supreme Court as well as sundry other matters in the tribunals .
The courts proceedings begin around 10:30 and one cannot afford to be late or keep the bosses waiting. On Saturdays, I could leave by 6. On other days, I stayed till 7 maximum which is around the time the bosses leave too.
On the odd days when there was a lot of work pending or otherwise, the bosses stayed till 8/9 but I was always excused on those days as I lived very far in Gurgaon and the firm puts a premium on safety of their women workers. I was told by numerous occasions by Ma’am that if I was feeling uncomfortable about travelling, I could leave even earlier than 7 without even asking.
All in all the leaving timings were very flexible. Infact the young associate told me point blank that leave by 6 as the bosses don’t interact personally with the interns and don’t really expect much from them and I would be anyways directly under her supervisions.
However to maintain a certain professional standard, I tried staying till 7 on all days if only to leave a good impression and make the best use of my short 1 month time with the firm
Accommodation: how, where, how was it?
I was staying with my elder brother in Gurgaon and the office was a good 1 to one and a half hours away from my accommodation. In the morning especially it was just by the skin of my teeth that I arrived at the office on time. There are however pgs in the Janakpura area close to office where the office associate also stayed in a PG.
First impression. First day, formalities etc.
No formalities whatsoever.I reported sharp at 10: 00 am, a rule of punctuality I follow diligently in all my internships and was immediately whisked away to the court by the frazzled associate who had been waiting for the boss Ma’am to come with the car.
The matters on that days were in the Supreme Court and I was told by the associate to keep myself busy and watch all the proceeding related to all the matters in the courtroom where our matter was also pending. She told me the boss Ma’am doesn’t like interns wasting their time so keep yourself occupied with work (any work) at all times and she might even ask questions.
Boss Ma’am however paid me no attention that morning and I was infact relieved on my first day.
On the drive back however, she asked me quite interested about my subjects in college, which field of law I was interested in most and general chit chat about women safety in Delhi and to be safe always specially when departing from the office.
Main tasks (in detail)
I did a lot of research, attended a lot of conferences with clients, stayed up late in the evening finding points for legal opinions that my head was supposed to give at conferences. I ran around the courts making sure my boss didn’t miss any pleadings and diligently watched the item numbers.
Work environment, people
The work environment was relaxed. As I was the only intern and the associate being the only associate was mostly swamped with work, it did get immensely boring at times. Also since the office was located in the basement, I rarely received cellphone signal. Therefore, couldn’t even message or call anyone for entertainment.
One great thing however was that none of the websites were blocked, a practice which all my college batchmates complained about in their respective internships.
Best things? (Nothing is all bad)
Since I was the only intern I got a lot of opportunity to learn without any competition for work etc which stems from the existence of fellow interns. I became very friendly with the lone associate and gained a lot of legal profession wisdom as well as a lot of insight into the corporate vs litigation route.
This being in my final year and being pretty unsure about my career path, a lot of ideas got crystallized and a lot of doubts cleared through this internship.
I know that for someone like me or someone in their second or 3 rd year of law school, an internship like this is invaluable since you can form close personal equations, gain indepth knowledge without fear of scrutiny by fellow interns all with super shiny CV’s etc.
And if you persevere and consistently ask questions, listen carefully to all matters during the proceedings and most importantly focus on the details, I would say it is a better option that an internship at a big stuffy corporate firm.
An example of the details: I have done only two moots during college but even so my idea of the way one should be inside a court was unrealistic to say the least.
Perfection in court language, addressing the judges always as lordship/ladyship and not Ma’am etc but in the real world, specially in the high courts and Supreme Courts, these are trivial details which do not concern the judges as it may in a college moot competition. Often as soon as your matter is over, there are more than 5 matters lined up often requiring equal attention from the judges.
As long as you have your black coat, you are polite in your interaction with the lordship, well prepared, you can get away with follies in language.
My opinions of judges in a court were eqally naïve. I had pictured them as stern, intimidation, distant persons occupying an unachievable position of power.
In reality, all judges have their distinct personalities and in the higher courts (having done a previous internship in the lower courts, my perception was obviously skewed) specially they are fair albeit limited by time constraints.
Therefore your efficiency in getting to the point is greatly appreciated and your inability to do the same, chastised harshly.
Bad things? (Nothing is all good)
I did get extremely lonely and didn’t have a lot of people to talk with. Since the associate was mostly busy with research. The lack of people my own age and college going interns did frustrate me at times.
The long hours and the long commute to office did not always make me happy and the rains and wildly unpredictable Delhi weather just added to my woes
What did you do to chill? Co-interns, colleagues
There were no co-interns but I chilled a lot with the young associate who would constantly treat me in the court canteen.
We bonded over our shared opinions regarding over the top, judgmental and head way up in the air advocates and judges
No stipend, just a great depth of insight
Anything else you’d like to tell
Litigation is truly a very taxing field to be a part of and there are literally no set timings or holidays. Judges are notoriously unpredictable and good social skills are just as important as good legal research in getting a judgment in your favor.
Only the truly passionate about law can survive a hardcore extremely competitive field of litigation where starting pay is meager even for the best of graduates unless they work with a top notch firm’s legal department and a lot of senior advocates can be extremely harsh with freshly which does affect one’s morale.
However with the brickbats come the goodies and litigation is law in its truest sense and extremely fulfilling from a intellectual classical lawyer point of view.
Litigation is not as hard as it is made out to be. And since I always assumed, corporate law firm job would suit my personality better, I learnt from my associate at the firm, that infact a litigation job is far more exciting albeit less cushy financially.
She infact warned me about the innumerable long hours a corporate firm job is associated with is not a myth and the possibility of burning out with the workload, long hours, great accountability and the no-life outside of work syndrome.