Duration of the Internship
8th June 2015- 29th June 2015
Where to go?
As a first year student, you are always asked to intern for an NGO for your first experience and that is exactly what I thought I would do. I had applied for CRY in Kolkata and after the telephonic interview, they confirmed my internship for the month of June.
I was all set to join, when one of my friend from college told me about a senior advocate of the district court she was working under. I have very little contacts in the law field and no one to guide me when it comes to internships.
I decided to go with the district court internship under Advocate Sachindranath Halder.
How to apply?
Since I got this internship through a contact, I don’t think there is an application method.
You need to go to the advocate’s chamber in the Alipore district court and talk to him personally.
First day of the internship
I was asked to meet Advocate Sachindranath Halder before joining. I had never been to a court in my entire life and the thought of interning in one was exhilarating.
His chamber was very difficult to look for as the district court area is quite huge and confusing.
When I finally reached his chamber, I saw it was a small, congested room filled with law books and case briefs. He had two junior advocates working under him and a clerk.
All of them sat in the same chamber along with the interns. He asked me questions like why I joined a law school and what my future plans were and me to join from the next week.
Commuting for me was easy. I live in Kolkata, where most of the city is well connected by the metro and autos. I was interning with two of my friends and we had to be in his chamber by 10. On the first day, he asked us to carry his case briefs and follow him to the courts.
He walks very fast which makes it very difficult to match his pace. I never knew district courts were that busy. He went from the munsif court to the additional district court to civil judge first division.
He told us about the hierarchy of the courts, the place where the plaint can be filed and where the records were kept. He showed us the bar library which was overflowing with old and new books.
The proceedings usually took place in Bengali and cell phones were an absolute no no in the courts. Our lunch started after sir was done with his morning cases and went back to his chamber to deal with his clients.
We used to get our own lunch, but there were enough street vendors and fruit sellers too. We were done by 5 every day and sometimes he left us early if there were no more cases for the day.
Work Environment and Experience
The work environment was very positive and encouraging. We were given cases to read and all our doubts and questions were answered. We were asked to come up with as many questions as we can which helped us in strengthening and understanding the basics of the courts.
Sir had another chamber near his home where he called us on a Saturday and taught us the practical aspect of contract law. He was erudite and could tell us about different laws in detail.
Even his juniors were supportive and helpful. All of them guided us to the right path. We learnt how the proceedings took place and how advocates deal with the different kinds of cases brought to them by their clients.
The best part of the internships used to be some of the in camera proceedings that taught us about the misery of people at a very grass root level. Apart from that, the cases in the district court was a blessing in disguise in the scorching summer heat.
It was a spacious room and the only room that had air conditioning. We got the firsthand experience of the courtroom drama. We got an idea of how to deal with clients on a daily basis.
The part that I didn’t like while interning was that we were not given actual work to do. We did read cases, but we were not asked to research or draft anything. The proceedings got very boring and monotonous at times.
Also, it is difficult to understand Bengali when you come from a non-Bengali family. There was less of work and more of observation. You take time to understand what is going on around you, but you gradually grasp it.
Starting from a district court was a better decision than interning in the NGO. We were given a certificate in which sir had mentioned the qualities he observed about us during the course of the internship.
He wished us well for our future and asked us to contact him if we got stuck anywhere in achieving our goal to be a lawyer.
I learnt that internships are a great way to gain experience and form connections that are incredibly valuable to one’s future.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.