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Home » Internship Experience Competition 2021 » Virtual Internship Experience with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Delhi: Varied Legal Work with Valuable Guidance

Virtual Internship Experience with Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, Delhi: Varied Legal Work with Valuable Guidance

LSAT - Discover Law
LSAT - Discover Law

Name, College, Year of Study 

Anonymous

Name of the Organisation and its Full Address

Name of Firm: Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, New Delhi (“SAM”)

Team: Dispute Resolution

Address: Amarchand Towers, 216 Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase III, New Delhi 110 020 [Held virtually due to COVID-19]

Duration of Internship

9 October to 31 October 2020

Duration: 3 Weeks  

How to Apply?

There are two main ways to apply:

  1. Through your University’s recruitment coordination/placements committee.
  2. If your University does not have a recruitment coordination committee then please go to https://www.amsshardul.com/connect-us/ and call the SAM office you wish to intern at.

    They will provide you with the email ID and Phone number of the HR team to whom you can send your application. 

I applied through the placements committee at my university. 

Application Requirements and Process

The application process had two stages.

Stage 1: Shortlisting Based on CV

Since I applied through the placements committee, I was required to e-mail my CV to them. Based on the CV, I was shortlisted for the interview.

Suggestions regarding the CV
Since SAM is a full service, commercially focused law firm, I chose to show the following skills and work experience through my CV:

1. Interest in a few areas of commercial law. I used past moot courts, ADR competitions and some M&A electives I had taken to show I was interested in the work they do. SAM’s practice areas are available at https://www.amsshardul.com/all-services/

2. I used the diverse areas of law I worked in to show adaptability.

3. I wrote my task descriptions of previous internships to show that I could work under pressure and could multitask.

4. For moot courts, I mentioned any subject areas and commercial issues I researched on which could be relevant to SAM. 
Here’s a handy format which I made to organize my CV. It has headings and information on what to include under each. The CV should ideally not exceed two pages.

Stage 2: Internship HR Questionnaire and Telephonic Interview  

Upon shortlisting, I received a questionnaire with some basic HR questions to fill. They wished to know why I was interested in this area of law, the skills I possessed and where I have demonstrated them. The questions did not test legal knowledge.

Whenever I mentioned I was interested in something or had a skill (say contract drafting), I gave an example of where I learnt the same or used it (previous internship or course). I answered briefly and succinctly.

The telephonic interview was held a couple of days later with a Managing Associate. It was brief and lasted about 15 minutes. I was asked to elaborate upon several work experiences I mentioned in my CV. For each, I highlighted my role, the skills I displayed, how motivated I was and the output.

I had prepared for contract/company law questions as well but I did not get asked any of those. 

Suggestions on How to Approach the Interview
It’s important to be confident, listen to questions very carefully, and answer to the point. Be respectful to the interviewer, but don’t hesitate to ask them to repeat or clarify if you misheard something.

Know the work experience you have mentioned in the CV thoroughly. Be sure to mention things that are commercial law-related or that you have spent a long time on or consider important (like a corporate law blog post you wrote)/display skills you would need at a law firm (like a time you handled multiple deadlines at university).

Have an idea of which area of law you would prefer to work in and a reason for the same.

The Internship

The internship was held virtually. On the first day, we had an induction. It was a presentation conducted by a member of the HR team and included information about the firm, procedures interns needed to follow, some IT tips on how to manage the firm’s own software, exit requirements etc. We were then assigned to our respective teams.

I worked in the Dispute resolution team.

Types of Work Assigned

The Dispute resolution team probably receives the widest range of work – from arbitration to commercial court matters, to appellate court matters on myriad areas of law.

The work I received could be categorized into the following categories:

1. Case law research: Various associates would send me the legal point in support of or against which they would ask me to look for case law/academic writing. I had access to Manupatra for case law. I did not get access to other databases, so I used SCCOnline, Westlaw etc. using the account my university provides. 

For each piece of research, I always made sure to ask for the facts of the case and the associates were happy to explain them to me. This helped me focus my research far better and also give suggestions or ideas which was appreciated by my supervisors.

After completion of my research on these points, I would make a word document summarizing the case, and adding my own thoughts on it in a different font face and colour. I would email this document along with highlighted copies of the case/other material.

I worked on such research related to the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, the CPC, WTO dispute settlement body, Air and Water Acts, Contract Act etc.

2. Drafting: I received several drafting assignments during the internship. Since I had displayed that I would be comfortable taking on a full task myself – I was allowed to draft the following entirely on my own:

  • Rejoinder to be submitted to the High Court.
  • Several Affidavits.
  • Answers to queries from the clients: These often took a lot of research. However, one thing I learnt from the research and my supervisors’ guidance was how things are presented in a more accessible format to the client – how to cut down the legalese and only add points which are relevant to the client’s business/dispute.
  • Some proof reading and updation work for existing documents.

3. Arguments: I was assigned the files for a few cases and asked to look for arguments for one party. This was very much like a moot since I and a senior associate were working as a team, calling each other constantly to come up with plausible arguments for the client. This was quite enjoyable.

During the internship, I also attended a virtual hearing and worked on a few projects for the firm’s knowledge database. These included writing something akin to a blog post on a chosen topic. 

Internship Timings and Workload

I would report to the internship at 9:30 AM. Since I was interning during a particularly busy month [I am certain of this since my call back internship a few months later was much less hectic]. I would usually end up working until 8-9 pm with a few breaks in between. My longest day ended at 2 am when there were few urgent matters before a court the next day.

I did work a couple of weekends too. However, the team was flexible and did allow me time off when I needed it. In fact, a principal associate asked me to not work post afternoon on Friday, since they’d noticed I had worked late the previous night. 

The workload can be hectic sometimes. However, each associate will understand if you have prior commitments to other associates. It is important to tell whoever is assigning you to work what work you already have and on what priority – so they can decide whether or not to assign you more work.

Also, do let associates know when you think you can submit work – they will appreciate it if you let them know the timeline instead of saying “I will do it asap”. 

Positive Aspects

  • Quality of work: I got a chance to work on some major disputes which often make news headlines. I also ended up working on many areas of law, which was useful.
  • High degree of responsibility: If you ask your team to do so, they will allow you independence and a great degree of freedom to take on tasks on your own. This was great because it made be experience what it would be like to be an Associate and not just an intern.
  • People: Most people on the team were helpful, and willing to provide you guidance when needed.

Negative Aspects

  • The virtual medium did make the internship experience a bit impersonal and mechanical. Interactions with the team can be limited to just getting and submitting work and there was no interaction with other interns. 
  • Occasionally, the workday could go on for a very long time which would leave one exhausted. 

However, both these things would probably be more bearable during an in-person internship.

Exit Requirements

I was required to submit a worklog containing all pieces of work I did and the number of hours spent on them at the end of the internship.

My internship was an assessed internship with the possibility of receiving a callback and then, if that goes satisfactorily, a chance to interview to join the firm as an associate. 

I was not provided with a stipend.

Who Should Apply and Why

This internship is ideal for 3rd to 5th-year law students. It would be tough to keep up with the work requirements prior to 3rd year.

Apart from SAM being one of the largest Indian firms there is, this internship can be useful to understand the role of an associate at a corporate firm – and see how that differs from a litigation lawyer – and then decide if this is your desired career path. Many team members will be willing to share their experiences with you to help you decide.

Further, if you think firm life is for you, then the internship is the stepping stone to be recruited – and your team is likely to recommend you to be recruited if you display that you are diligent and capable during the internship.

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