Of the four law firm internships I have done till date, the AMSS New Delhi internship was the most interesting and the most enriching.
Law firm details: name, city, office address & firm strength
Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A. Shroff & Co., New Delhi
Located at: 216 Amarchand Towers, Okhla Industrial Estate – Phase III, New Delhi – 110020.
AMSS is the largest law firm in India with more than seven hundred lawyers. The New Delhi and Mumbai offices are the most prominent ones and there are six other regional offices. Abundant information about the firm’s history and practice areas is freely available on the internet. For starters see this, this, this and this.
Application procedure & internship contact details
If a student is applying for an internship at AMSS without a reference, being at least in your third year is advisable for a successful application. If you are going to use a contact then you can probably apply earlier as well.
The ‘at least third year’ advice is because of two reasons: the Human Resources personnel reading your email would not take you seriously if you are a first or second year student and the kind of tasks delegated to interns can prove extremely difficult for a younger law student to perform.
Sending your application through your university’s placement committee can have an important benefit of being given a careful consideration.
But AMSS also accepts personal applications – indeed I got my internship through personally applying to the HR at New Delhi office. Of course, personal applications require much more consistent effort – you need to constantly send them polite reminders about your application through email and occasionally call them up as well.
How much time it will take to get a reply from them depends purely on luck, is what I have reckoned. While my internship offer came close to twenty days after my first email to the HR, one of my batch-mate got an internship offer the next day of his application email.
I on the other hand had to send two email reminders and place telephone calls a few times. As I was to later understand, the HR did not reply to my first email simply because it was never read by them and got lost in the hundreds of applications that they probably receive.
To the best of my knowledge, they do not respond if they do not want you to intern with them – they send out only positive emails.
If they like your application, they send to you the famous Amarchand Questionnaire that has to be filled and sent back to them. Nobody believes that internship offers are made on the basis of what you write in the Questionnaire. It is common knowledge that if they have asked you to fill the Questionnaire, you should ideally also get the internship offer after you send the filled in Questionnaire.
Filling the Questionnaire is a time consuming affair – it has numerous personal questions apart from the ones that ask for your academic record and details of extracurricular activities you have undertaken.
I sent my internship application to Ms. Deepa Mittal at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to place a call to her, call the switchboard at +91 11 41590700 and ask them to put you through to HR.
Duration of internship
I interned at AMSS New Delhi for a period of three weeks.
Usually they give internship offers only for a period of two weeks at first. You can ask for an extension of one or two weeks while interning. More about extensions under the tips section below.
Office timings & days of work per week
From what I remember the official timings were 9:30 to 18:30. I usually would reach the office by 9:30 AM but there were other interns who would come later as well depending on their interest level. Most lawyers also come in by 9:30 AM.
Like any other law firm, you would not know at the start of the day about when you will get to leave – it would generally depend on the team you have been allotted to and the amount of work on that particular day. During my three weeks, I got to leave at around 7 PM a few times and I also stayed back many times until midnight. On an average day I would leave around 8:30 PM.
The AMSS New Delhi office is located in Okhla Industrial Estate which is not known for its safe environment for women. Therefore female interns used to generally leave by 8 PM latest – even the associates would not want them to work late at night.
It is a five day work week at AMSS New Delhi – Saturdays and Sundays are off. But interns can be asked to come and work on Saturdays or Sundays or both as well depending on urgency of the work. In my three weeks there, I came to work on one of the Saturdays beyond the five working days.
First impression & first day formalities
I was asked to report to the office at 10:00 AM. The first thing you notice about the office is how eccentric it is and how much thought has been put into everything you can see in the office. I was asked by the receptionist to sit in one of the conference rooms and wait with the other interns that were also joining that day.
Soon someone from the HR came and showed to us a brief presentation about AMSS and its history, goals and ethos. This was followed by making us aware of general rules of the office and directions about where the cafeteria, library and other important places are in the humungous office.
This is also when I submitted copies of my latest mark sheets and certificates of previous internships, which was asked to be brought along on the first day.
Later I was asked by the HR personnel to tell her about the practice areas that I would prefer to work in. I had chosen general corporate as my first preference and was allotted to a team working in that practice area. During my entire internship, all the work that I did came from the team I was allotted to only.
Therefore, it is important to be careful while choosing the practice area. In one of my other law firm internships, it did not matter which team I was officially allotted to because work came in from random lawyers of different teams. But that is not how it works at AMSS New Delhi and hardly ever would an intern get work from a different team than the one he or she has been allotted to.
There are three intern workstations – one in the library and two on the top floor of the office. Of the two workstations on the top floor, one is where the associates sit as well and the other is right outside the huge hall where all the associates sit. I was assigned to the workstation where the associates sit.
The computers given to the interns are not the most advanced but they do the job just fine. The first thing I was to do after getting comfortable at the workstation was send an introductory email to partner and members of the team I was allotted to. We are also supposed to send one email in the morning after reaching office and one email in the evening when leaving office informing the team of the same.
Soon I got a call from the Principal Associate of my team and I was given my first research task after a brief chat with him. And that’s how the internship began.
My first impression therefore was quite positive. I loved the posh office, was happy that I was seated close to where the lawyers were sitting and was excited to start working without any delay.
I was working under a team that dealt with general corporate matters. Therefore, the tasks I was entrusted with were significantly diverse. While on one day I was reviewing a draft master services agreement to identify areas where changes can be suggested during negotiations to secure our client’s interest, another day I was doing research on regulatory framework surrounding conversion of a company into an LLP.
I was also involved in due diligence for renewal an insurance broker’s license and was asked to draft the due diligence report. Another day I was asked to draft a memo to be given to a client regarding a certain matter involving their Share Purchase Agreement.
Therefore throughout my internship I got to be involved in work from different fields and got to do different types of work like drafting, researching and reviewing.
Work environment, people and office infrastructure
AMSS New Delhi office is very posh and the lawyers there are very professional. The office has a significant litigation practice and great corporate practice as well. The associates do not mistreat the interns and at the same time they do not pamper them too. More often than not, an intern would only interact with the members of the team he or she is working under.
I was never given unreasonable deadlines for the tasks delegated to me. And the associates who delegated the work to me made sure that I knew that I can approach them if I had any doubts or queries.
All the floors have Cafe Coffee Day machines and hence there is unlimited supply of various types of good quality coffee. Indeed, during my internship I would take frequent coffee breaks with my co-interns. The firm does not provide lunch, but there is a canteen that stocks various drinks, packed eatables and makes fresh food too.
The Principal Associate of the team I was allotted to took personal interest in what I was working on and did not just hand out clerical work to me. He took the time to explain what was expected of me, ultimately gave me feedback on my work and showed to me how my work has proved relevant in the larger scheme of work the team is doing. This really did make the internship experience stand out.
While at some of my other internships I was given work by random associates from different teams, at AMSS New Delhi throughout my internship I was given work by only the few associates working in the team I was allotted to. This ensured that I had an equation with the associates I would get work from and thus was always occupied with work and never had to go ask around for work.
There is no place in the vicinity of the office where you can escape in the lunch hour to chill with your friends. So your whole lunch hour is spent in the office itself – either in the cafeteria or at your workstation.
Throughout my internship, I did not get to interact with any partner at the firm – something I was expecting. Although I cannot imagine exactly what I lost out on by not being able to interact with any of the partners.
I was not paid any stipend. Although, I remember one of the interns telling me that occasionally they pay some interns who work for four weeks. The certificate of internship was given to me not on my last day of internship, but was sent to me through post.
During this internship I was exposed to writing legal advice that was given to a client and that undoubtedly was the most important take-away from the internship.
I also had the chance of attending a negotiation session between lawyers for a master services agreement for the first time – that too was very exciting and important.
4 Tips to do well at this internship
1. At the end of the internship, interns are asked to submit a worksheet which lists down all the work you have done during your internship, who gave it to you and the time you spent on it. The HR forwards a template of this worksheet to the intern email ID.
Waiting till the last day of internship to fill this is a bad idea because it is difficult to recall all the work you did over the past weeks. Therefore its best to make note of all the work one does with other details at the end of every day.
The intern has to get the worksheet signed by a Principal Associate or Senior Associate of the team on last day of the internship.
2. In case on your first day you are asked to work from the workstations other than the one on top floor where the associates sit, ask the HR to be moved there. If there is no space available there, then ask for permission to move whenever space gets freed up. Check on Monday next week if old interns have left so that you can move there.
Interns who sit at the other two workstations hardly get to interact with the associates personally. This naturally also negatively affects the kind of work you will get and the interest your team’s associates will have in what you are doing.
3. At the end of internship, there is a trainee feedback form that either a Principal Associate or Senior Associate has to fill confidentially evaluating the intern’s performance during the internship. The HR forwards a template of this form to the intern email ID.
Since the intern gets to select who he or she gets the form filled by, I would advice trying to decide who that associate is going to be early on during the internship and making extra efforts to impress that associate.
4. If you want to get your internship extended after the first two weeks, you should ideally ask an associate from your team to recommend so to the HR rather than directly going to the HR with this request.
You should get this request routed through someone from the team because that way the HR would know that you are a good intern and the lawyers want you to stay on. If extension is recommended by the team, there is no reason why your internship would not be extended unless there is no workstation space available.
Accommodation & commuting
The AMSS New Delhi office is located in Okhla Industrial Estate and is a five minute walk from Govind Puri metro station on the violet line.
There are also lots of cycle rickshaws available for the distance between Govind Puri metro station and the office. In the evening from 7 PM, there is a free car service every fifteen minutes from AMSS office to the Govind Puri metro station.
Since Okhla is generally not considered safe and since in the evening the distance between Govind Puri metro station and AMSS office would get very dark and creepy, most interns used to use the car service to cover this distance.
During my internship I was staying at a relative’s place. However, having seen the place many times I would suggest not staying in PGs in Okhla and instead staying at better areas in New Delhi. Okhla is not known to be a happening place and as I said before is infamous to be an unsafe place.
Of the four law firm internships I have done till date, the AMSS New Delhi internship was the most interesting and the most enriching. This was so mostly because of the wonderful team I was luckily allotted to.
More so because of just one particular Principal Associate who took the time out from his busy schedule to explain the relevance of the work I was being asked to do, giving me feedback on my work regularly, showing to me the official documents where my research was used and how it was used and ultimately taking personal interest in what I was taking away from the internship.
My experience could easily have turned out to be opposite of how it did had I been allotted to a team that did not give good work to its interns or did not take interest in what the intern is learning. Indeed, most of my co-interns would at most times be doing inconsequential work and would almost never receive any feedback on it.
Therefore one should take reading this internship experience in the light it is intended – it is not a guarantee that you will have an amazing time here, but at the same time there is no valid reason to conjecture that you would not.
In other words, a decision to intern at AMSS New Delhi is well informed, but be mentally prepared to have an experience that does not match your expectations.
The entry won an ‘award of excellence’ in the Summer Internship Experience Writing Competition organized by LexisNexis and Lawctopus. MyLaw.net was the learning partner for the competition.