Legal Internships: 3 Timeless Lessons and 8 ‘Must Do’ Things

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By Tanuj Kalia

Lesson 1- Early Bird Catches the Worm.

We read this in LKG. Sadly, we didn’t take the lesson on board. Apply for your internships as soon as possible! If you apply two months before your intended period of internship, your chances of securing an internship double vis-a-vis if you had applied one month before.

The bird who sleeps is the bird who weeps! People come to me three weeks before their internship period and ask me to fix their internships. Eight out of ten times, I fail.

# 1 Do this: When your vacations end, check the college calendar and jot down the next vacation (internship period. As soon as one vacation ends, apply for the internship for the next vacation. For lawyers like KTS Tulsi, I know people who apply one year prior to their intended internship period. They get the internship with the legend.

# 2 Do this: Some of the recruiters might specify this: Please apply _____months/weeks before your intended period of internship. Respect their internship policy.

Lesson 2- First Impression is the last impression

Do you remember how your mom made you dress for your friend’s birthday party? She wanted to make you look good. Look good when you apply for your internship. And since you’ll probably be emailing your internship application, you’ll have to look good on the email.

# 3 Do this: In the ‘subject’ of the email mention the purpose of the email: internship application, the duration of the internship and the office where you plan to intern (the city). For example: Internship Application: June 1-June 30: Delhi office.

# 4 Do this: Do not send cover letters as attachments. People won’t read them. The body of the email should itself be the cover letter.

Caveat: Some organisations might ask for 300-600 word cover letters. In such cases, it makes sense to send the cover letters as an attachment!

# 5 Do this: Attach your CV. The CV should be neat and not flashy! Make sure there aren’t too many boxes and such frills which do not look good to the eye especially when you are not sure whether the recruiters version of MS word is the same as yours! Keep the CV to the point and in bullets. And if you forget to attach your CV, only god can save you! “I’ll be honoured to intern at a reputed law firm like yours”. Really? Then why did you forget to attach the CV?

# 6 Do this: Make a good email account. Look professional. is good. is not!

Lesson 3- Seek and you shall receive

When you have sent your internship application, wait for 48 hours for the recruiter to reply. If they don’t reply, send an email again telling them that you had applied 2 days ago and that you would like to know the status of your application.

Wait. For two days again. If they don’t reply, call them.

# 7 Do this: If you don’t get the verdict soon, better try other options. Seek, but not for too long!

# 8 Do this: Save the phone numbers of the organisations you have applied to. When you get their call, you will not be caught off guard.

Bet of Luck with your internships!


Editor’s note: The post was first published on 29th September 2010.

Disclaimer: We try to ensure that the information we post on Lawctopus is accurate. However, despite our best efforts, some of the content may contain errors. You can trust us, but please conduct your own checks too.
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  1. Thank you Nandini! I believe that the law firms which do not reply promptly aren’t really concerned about internships or the interns! We are trying to change that through our ‘my internship’ section.

    Thank you for the kind words on Lawctopus!

  2. Hey,

    That was some useful piece of information!
    However, I would like to say that some firms get annoyed if you call them before a week or so! (It did happen to me once and I ended up having an argument with the HR personnel)
    So, start calling after a reasonable period of time has elapsed.

    And I think.. more of legal poets ‘legally india’ blog posts can be put up here.. specially about the Things which change when you come to law school..

    Overall, a nice initiative. Keep it up. would love to remain associated with it.! 🙂

  3. When i have to attach something with the mail, first i attach the documents then i begin with the body of the letter.

  4. Well written.

    Regarding people forgetting to attach their CVs, here are some tips (quite foolproof):

    Gmail and other addresses hosted by google already have a feature called ‘Attachment reminder’. It automatically looks for phrases like “I am attaching” , “I’ve attached”, “Please find attached” , etc. in your written mail and in case you forgot to attach, then it prompts you before sending the mail!!

    It has helped me many a times and it is quite useful! So gmail is one solution to this problem. [Apparently this can be done in MS Outlook as well].

    After 24/02/2010, Google has made this an automatic feature, so u need not enable it from anywhere.

    Also you can go to ‘settings’ –> ‘Labs’ (in gmail) you can also enable features like ‘Got the wrong Bob?’.

    Imagine you wanting to send a mail to your friend bob in a hurry and by mistake u sent it to your boss, bob!! [Trust me this has happened with me before!!]

    Another useful feature of gmail under ‘Labs’ is ‘Undo sent mail’ which allows you to undo a sent mail after sending it (for a few seconds only). This is also useful in many ways.

  5. Very Very well written! 🙂
    i agree with #5!
    i wonder how many times ive sent an application w/o my cv, then writing another mail apologising and attaching the mail to the 2nd one.
    i did not receive a single reply from those firms. “I wonder why!” 😀

  6. Also it is very important to check the site (if any) of the firm and if not to consult a senior who has interned at the concerned office previously. When I applied for internship at P. H. Parekh & Associates, I got automatic-generated reply that the CV should not be more than 2 pages, the cover letter should mention blah blah, etc. etc. But that was after sending the mail and I violated all of those!


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