The firm has offices both in Delhi and Mumbai. I interned at the Mumbai office. The Delhi office consists of mostly the competition team and is headed by Vinod Dhall (Ex-chairman of Competition Commission of India).
Very elaborate HR questionnaire
To get an internship with TTA, you have to fill in a very long HR questionnaire. If they shortlist your application, they will send you the questionnaire via e-mail.
Best friend relationship
TTA has a best friend relationship with Linklaters. Foreign firms are not allowed to practice in Indian law.
There is ambiguity on whether foreign lawyers can fly-in-fly-out to India to counsel clients on foreign law. Thus, quite a few Indian law firms have best friend relationships with magic circle firms.
Hence, it is safe to say that TTA is Linklaters, India for all practical purposes.
Open Door Policy
TTA has an open door policy. This means that you can simply walk in the cabins of named partners/ partners/ managing associates/ associates (regardless of the hierarchy) and ask for work or guidance.
In fact one of the strong criteria on the basis of which you will be judged is your ability to interact and socialise.
TTA is a boutique firm like S&R Associates and Platinum Partners. A boutique firm is not like a full service law firm (like CAM, SAM, Khaitan, etc).
Boutique firms practice in niche areas and punch way above their weight in that particular area. For instance number of associates in TTA/ Platinum are 25-30 as opposed to some 350 lawyers in Khaitan.
They practice in niche areas like banking laws, competition laws or mergers and acquisitions and are known for their expertise in that area.
After becoming a senior associate in TTA, secondment to foreign offices of Linklaters may be on the cards.
However, it depends on a lot of factors like your performance in the firm, a suitable opening in the foreign linklaters firm where you will be going (usually it is Singapore, Hong Kong or London) and the factor of staying away from family for six months or shifting the family for six months also has to be figured in.
On secondment you get to observe how it is like to work in a different country which might have a more professional set up than what we get to experience in India. It is a rich experience.
Senior Partners from Linklaters
Most senior partners have an experience of practicing in Linklaters, London.
Kunal Thakore, Sonali Mahapatra, Feroz Dubash and Rahul Gulati, are some of the top people at TTA who have experience from Linklaters.
There are a lot of associates from NUJS. This is one firm which comes across as very picky in terms of colleges they recruit from.
Unlike in most firms, the interns are not huddled together. Instead they are scattered and are placed with a “principal” who is in charge of assessing the interns.
The basic criteria for assessment include ability to network, communication skills, ability to meet deadlines and an inclination towards commercial laws. There are small cabins in which two or more lawyers sit.
Interns are also placed in one of those cabins with their “principal” to meet the objective of getting a genuine foretaste of becoming an associate with the firm.
You are constantly under scrutiny and you always have a go-to person in case of doubts.
All the lawyers from both offices (Delhi and Mumbai) go on a retreat once in every two years. This time the retreat was in Turkey but got cancelled due to the Turkey-Russia jetdowning in November, 2015.
During the retreat, partners and senior associates often give a presentation on certain legal issues. There was an inside joke regarding all lawyers doing hamam (Old Turkish bath) together at Turkey.
Every Tuesday there is a conference chat in which all lawyers from Linklaters across all offices have to participate. Interns are also encouraged to attend it. During one such weekly prayer, all the seats were taken and one of the interns vacated a chair to make room for a senior partner.
He was asked to sit back and the partners said that there is law of the jungle at TTA and whoever comes first gets the seat. Thus, this firm is very open-minded and does not favour hierarchy at all in this regard.
It is mostly a flat firm and there is no specialisation or team allotment for the initial few years. After that it gets streamlined and senior associates and partners usually handle work in specific areas.
Nature of work
TTA is one of the few places where you get to see the actual queries and e-mails from the clients. This place is really cool in this regard as they are not very secretive with the interns.
Every time you are assigned some work, they make it a point that you have a background of the situation at hand.
You are encouraged to be on the top of things and ask why a certain research work has been given to you and not expected to blindly research on a point without knowing the reason behind it.
An intern gets exposed to various areas of laws
Presentation with HR Partner (Feroz Dubash)
You need not worry about not working enough with partners as this place ensures that you get sufficient face time with the recruiting partner as he will give you a topic of research on which you will have to make a memorandum and he will grill you on the basis of it.
This is very crucial as this is the only solid face-time you get with the recruiting partner.
Dessert on Fridays
One of the partners told me the reason behind distributing desserts on Fridays- “Usually firms have drinking nights, but since we are a bunch of gluttons, we have dessert Fridays”.
Every Friday around 3 o’clock you can expect a dessert on your desk (usually it is a pastry or an ice cream and on rare occasions mithais like gulaab jamun).
Encouraged to eat with the associates and partners
Since there are a very few people in the firm, they eat together in the cafeteria. You can order food or get your own dabbas.
They advise you to eat with them so you get interact with people you have not worked with and also get an idea of how your future colleagues are going to be like.
Policy of job interview
It is not official but if you intern at TTA, there is a very high chance that they will consider you for a job interview with their firm, provided you are interested.
Since their sole intention is to recruit from their pools of interns, they take internships very seriously and they barely visit many campuses.
Lunch at Fort Area
We used to go to Modern Café for cheap and decent vegetarian food. Non vegetarians frequented Military café.
There are a lot of stalls for street food also like sandwich, batata and paw bhaji. For excellent Burmese food we went to Mamagoto and Burma Burma.
We also went to Paratha Mantra which serves a vast variety of parantha including pizza and pasta parantha.
The current TTA office is not very swanky compared to other law firms of similar repute. The elevator is mostly out of order and we had to climb the stairs usually.
Thus, they should definite up their game in terms of office space and decor. Shifting might be on cards for them.
Despite the elaborate procedure for intake of interns and an equally intensive internship programme, the only thing you get is a reputed name on your CV and not a single dime.
I believe firms should pay at least some amount to cover the travel, food and accommodation expenses of the interns.
Hope the above threw some light on an internship experience at TTA. Happy interning.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.