Name: Natasha Rao
College: National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
Year of Study: 4th Year, B.A LL.B (Hons)
Duration of Internship
01 June to 30 June, 2015
Internship Experience at Raman & Associates, Chennai
Jerome K. Jerome once wrote “The weather is like the Government, always in the wrong.”
No other statement in the English language would apply so aptly to the weather in Chennai.
Going there from 1st to 30th June, which happens to be the peak of summer in a city which experiences only summers, with occasional extra-torrential rainfall, could very acceptably be analogous to walking into the hottest places in hell, except in the latter, you don’t have a choice.
The weather though, seemed like a relatively small problem in contrast to the reason I was going there.
I had just got my internship with Mr. P.R. Raman, Standing Counsel for the BCCI.
The opportunity was something a little too good to pass up, for something as trivial as a positively tropical temperature.
The process of application is one which I cannot quite explain. I’m not entirely sure that the office really likes to take in interns, because there is no formal email address to send your CV to.
I for one was simply asked to call up the boss, Mr. Raghu Raman and confirm the dates that I wanted to work for.
There was no email communication nor did I need to send in my CV. I know that this sounds dubious, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said that this was the best internship I have done till date.
Even though I was fairly familiar with the city, I reached there a week in advance to acclimatize to the heat.
Of course, I also took this time to locate my office and also the logistics of how I would commute to and from home to the work place.
The office was located in an extremely posh area of Chennai called MRC Nagar, specifically Number 89, Kasthuri Avenue, Chennai-28.
This is an extremely well located and highly accessible area through any mode of transport. I though, travelled by bus.
The bus network in the city is probably the best India has, with highly frequent buses that for the most part were not excessively crowded.
For people who are not locals or don’t have family in Chennai, much like myself, there are numerous affordable PGs, as well as apartments that can be rented out. I stayed at this hostel in Royapettah called KEH Olive Castles.
It was exceptionally safe and very well maintained. The food surprisingly was out of this world and there was an AC and TV in every room. Besides this, there was no headache of washing clothes as they did that for you too.
The best part is that all I paid was a meager sum of 7,500 rupees (while sharing the room with five other people) for an entire month while availing all these amenities.
This was just for girls but there would definitely be something similar for men. To get a spot here would be tough but Ms. Swapna Manuel the owner is quite a gem. The address, as well as the contact details are here: #70, Peters Road, (opposite Bharat Scans), Royapettah, Chennai-600 014
On my first day of work, which was June 1st, I was highly nervous because it was a new place that I was going to. I reached at 9 in the morning, which was a little too early as office only began at 9:30. By 10 am everyone was all ready to go to court and they took me along with them.
I was put on to the youngest associate who I visited various courts with.
Since it was the day courts had just reopened, there were not many cases being heard.
We got back to the office by lunch time, and everyone ate lunch together. This was one of the best parts of being in the office. Lunch was a time to socialize. Everyone was treated equally and in a very kind manner.
After lunch I was given some files to read and do some research for that case.
Day 1 was also the first time I got to watch Mr. Raman at work. He is an incredibly busy man, who is extremely good at his work, and to work under his mentorship would be an enriching experience for any law student who wants to pursue litigation.
It was only later that I got to watch him in court, and that fact that he got an order in his favour almost immediately shows how articulate and eloquent he is.
Overall, my first impressions were great. It was a nice office, with exceptionally friendly and highly qualified people as well as a constant supply of tea or coffee which was very graciously made by the cook there.
Also, to beat the heat, the office was, for all practical purposes, centrally air-conditioned!
There were books on almost every subject, no matter how obscure and there was uncontrolled access to them all.
It was a small office with only seven lawyers and hence a very closely knit unit. You as an intern become part of it too.
My co-interns and I quickly became part of this tiny family at Number 89, Kasthuri Avenue.
I interned there for a month and most days were the same. Court visits were mandatory in the morning as since it was a litigation firm everyone would have cases to argue.
That goes to say that Monday to Friday you had to be in black and white clothes.
Also, so that you understood the case, the associates would either tell you about the case while in the car or would make you read the file in advance, so that as an intern you are not lost in the proceedings.
This I thought was a very good approach, because if one has no idea regarding the case then there is no point at all in going to court.
Lunch would either be at the office or in court itself depending on the status of the cases.
The High Court of Madras is beautiful and importantly, air conditioned.
The evenings were usually filled with reading of files and research work on the same. Drafting was also another aspect that interns assisted in. In some cases though, it would be the intern’s draft that was finally used with only minor changes here and there.
We were also allowed to sit through client meetings and take notes. The associate would then discuss the case with us and take any points that we had to offer.
I, for my part got to do research on whether interest must be paid on the terms of an invoice, certain sections of the arbitration act and also on matters under Order 39 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
Apart from that I was asked to make a preliminary draft of a will, write a reply to a notice that had been served on our client, make a preliminary draft of a writ petition and also list out a set of questions that would be asked to a witness in cross examination.
I also assisted in drafting divorce petitions and custody petitions.
In court, I listened to arguments and also was asked to check the adjournment dates of some cases and write them down in my diary, I was also given a brief experience of how the filing takes place at both the High Court level as well as in the lower courts.
The firm dealt with all kinds of litigation. Civil matters, criminal matters, election petitions, writ petitions and also arbitration.
The kind of work quite obviously was spread over all these areas and was always nothing short of interesting.
If there was no work, we interns were asked to read certain areas of law that would be useful to us in the curriculum.
The firm treated their interns with quite a lot of respect as there was absolutely no clerical work given to them. There have been instances where as an intern I have had to organize file cupboards or separate documents.
The work atmosphere was highly conducive to learning.
If you did things wrong or in a different manner, instead of shouting at you, the associates would explain to you what they wanted to be done and why what you had done was not right.
In my entire time there, neither I nor any of my co-interns were shouted at. Of course, there were occasional sarcastic remarks, but that just shows that they are comfortable having you around.
Work timings per se were not existent. As long as you were in court by 10:15 all was well. Even if you weren’t, all was still well. In the evening, you could leave whenever you finished your work.
They didn’t make you stay back extra just for the sake of it. But, if you wanted to work with Mr. Raman it would usually be in the evening, since that is when he came to office.
So, timings on the whole were pretty flexible and leave could also be easily availed.
As in every other litigation firm, Saturdays were also working but only for half the day, and since there was no court on Saturday, you could wear colour clothes and come to office. Yay!
They say that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and as interns of course we all love to chill too.
Fear not! The area near the office is rather populated with places to hang out. There’s French Loaf for all kinds of food, for foot-long lovers, there’s Subway and for people who have never tried or on the other hand love Kerala cuisine, there in Ente Keralam.
That apart, for the (closet) party animals in all of us, Socials- Chennai and B Bar are a stone’s throw away.
Since timings in office are flexible the scope to visit these places is actually limitless. I for one used to be a regular customer of French Loaf for the entire month I was there.
Evenings in her room were filled with chatter and food and a little bit work.
On the whole, my entire experience at the office was spectacular and I wouldn’t hesitate at all to say that this was my favourite and most enriching experience as an intern.
The work was good and the atmosphere to work in was highly conducive to learning. Moreover, the best part was when I received my certificate. The best thing about this office is that they give credit where it is due.
My certificate functioned as an absolutely glowing recommendation from one of the best lawyers. By the end of it, I didn’t even mind braving the heat in the city.
I learnt drafting and research skills, and also understood that to be appreciated, you needed to be committed, and if you were you’d become great at what you do.
That it takes immense hard work and determination to become the best, and most of all that working does indeed make me happy. The joy I felt in finding a judgment that was on point was incomparable to anything else.
At the end of my internship I took away not only a brilliant experience but also met a lot of people who have become my closest friends. I stopped ranting about the weather and instead learnt that every moment in Chennai oozes with life, and it’s never too late to start over new and get better at what you do.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.