Name, College, Year of Study, Email ID
Utkarsh Jain, Jindal Global Law School, 4th year, email@example.com
Name of Organisation, Location (city), Team Strength
Chambers of Sunil. K. Mittal and Associates, Delhi High Court, New Delhi, 5
Contact Mr. Anshul Mittal who is an associate (and also the Nephew of Mr. Sunil Mittal) over there. Make it a point to mail him first with all your details and a brief covering letter which clearly shows your motivation and your antecedents.
His mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you get a favorable reply, make it a point to approach him in person at Chamber 178, Lawyers Block II, Delhi HC at or before 9:45 AM. Be prepared to be handed over work as soon as you are done meeting and getting acquainted with Mr. Sunil Mittal.
Personally speaking, I got my first internship under S.K. Mittal and Associates through the placement division of my college after which I approached Mr. Anshul for the second time by following what was pretty much similar to the above mentioned procedure.
Duration of internship and timings
The duration was 4 weeks (July, 2014) and the timings are 9:45 AM to 7 PM. Now this may vary though as you need to reach the court and observe proceedings (which start by around 10:30 AM) for the first half of the day after which you are usually sent to their office in Defense Colony.
So if you know the case name, the court and item number, then you can also report at the court directly even though the former option is way more desirable.
With regard to leaving, you might just get to leave early if you’re done with your work or if you have an emergency. Try not making an emergency up though, Mr. Anshul has an uncanny ability to figure out which cases are genuine and which are not.
First impression, first day formalities, infrastructure
First impression was not as happy as I expected. You meet everyone at the office and bam!, you’re given work and you either have to go to court or sit in the chamber and start with your research.
All of the associates have the quintessential straight face so try and not fool around on the first day itself. They will eventually start talking to you and asking you what you learned later on though.
With regard to the office work itself, there are no formalities. You just start working.
Besides that, you need to figure out your daily court entry pass (for which you need to die for quite some time in the rather unpleasant queues and worse, the beautiful heat surrounding the office where you get these passes). Life become far easier though, after you figure out that godsend of a monthly pass.
The chamber was limited to a small yet well furnished and equipped (microwave, fridge, desktops, attached tables and chairs) space and the office at Defcol was rather beautiful with a lot of space to work, books to refer to and two dedicated washrooms and also, a kitchenette.
There is also a very friendly helper at the mail office, to soothe the wounds of your first day at office.
The workload you’ll get will be pretty much equivalent to how inquisitive you are and the amount of interest you take in their work. And then some more.
I’d like to start by making a few observations.
Firstly, all that you’ve learned in law school is worth pretty much nothing unless you gain practical experience of the field.
Especially for procedural subjects like Evidence, CrPC and CPC which also form the base for both the Bar Exam and also your practice if at all you plan to go that way.
I realized that rote learning provisions and case laws might just be enough to get that star grade point average but it amounts to pretty much nothing if you do not see it being applied in the real world. I saw my memory fail me when it came to key provisions of the above mentioned subjects and so much else.
Also, Law school will teach you nothing about the kind of clerical work a young Lawyer has to do each time he visits the courts. I mean, the team of Associates at S.K.M and Associates ranged from about an years experience to 6 years experience on field with Sunil Sir having about 30 years under his belt.
This ties in with the tasks we would get. Attending courts wasn’t just about going and listening to the Metropolitan Magistrate or the ASJ or even the HC Judge because that’s more of distant mumbling you can’t really hear from near the courtroom door.
It was about knowing what notarisation was all about. Court fees. Summons. How to deal with absent Public Prosecutors. Knowing why MM’s don’t usually give anticipatory bails or even regular bails for that matter in high profile cases.
Getting to know exactly how important it is to not have a manupatra downloaded case in your written submissions (Judges absolutely hate the commas and errors). What they hate more though is headnote references. I came to know first hand how judges applied their minds into actual evidence at hand for say, rape cases.
For example, I saw Justice Nandrajog at the Delhi High Court interpreting what a mucosal tear meant in the context of a medical report of a rape victim. I saw Judges looking at the rest of the cases the accused’ were booked in to figure out their antecedents and whether they should be given a bail or not.
Many of the stereotypical myths I had about investigation processes were broken at this internship. I mean, the police do really work a lot.
An investigation is not just about Sections 154 to 173 of the CrPC. Its about diagrams of the site of crime, the rukka, witness accounts, all kinds of evidence and much more.
And for the lawyers I was working under, the final report was much more than a piece of information. It was more about finding medical, factual and legal inconsistencies in the evidence.
For example, a person couldn’t possible have killed himself with a long rifle gun judging from the angle of attach, the wound and the placement of the evidence on the spot.
The tasks I got were attending court proceeding such as these at both the District Courts and the High Court. Reading the case files before hand which included rape, murder, 498A and Criminal Conspiracy cases in addition to offenses such as cheating, fraud etc.
I was also exposed to 138 NI cases which dealt with dishonoring of bank cheques. In fact, I was even given a 138 case file by one of the MM’s at the Saket District Court to figure out whether a case was made out under 138 or not.
We were given research work on key topics covered under cases allotted to the associates. We then had to think of possible arguments we could make in relation to those key concepts by looking at the evidence at hand and the witness accounts.
We also had to make case notes and go through a lot of case files. I figured that this was possibly the best way to know what procedural law was all about.
Work environment and people
The work environment is pretty comfortable with ample room in the base office at Defcol and the chamber. We had WiFi and Desktops at our disposal and also unlimited cold coffee from the guy who had his shop right outside the chamber.
Co-interns were really fun and so were the associates albeit a few exceptions of rude behavior and the classic “I don’t give a shit about interns” attitude. Otherwise, we shared a good rapport with our seniors and ever Sunil Sir with whom we used to meet every Saturday over lunch with his clientele.
He also regularly called us to have discussion about things as simple as the sheer importance of fluent english in the profession to tasks like researching on anticipatory bail for example.
He even asked us what we thought of his arguments in the court and gave us a lot of first hand knowledge on the dynamics between the bar and the bench.
1. The associates were very candid about relevant case details and I really managed to go real deep into many of the case files just because of this.
2. We used to discuss our daily experiences with Mr. Anshul at the end of the day when he also used to give us a lot of practical knowledge.
3. Chola Bhatura Saturday Lunch.
I often felt a bit bored with court proceedings and the work I was given but then realised that the more qestions I would come up with, the more I’d learn.
One of the associates was particularly rude to all of us but I guss that’s how it was and we couldn’t really change much. Also, I had to cover a really long distance by metro every day (Gurgaon to the High Court). Besides that, twas all sorted.
The reality check that you get from how the courts function to how to deal with judges. Getting to know how procedural law works in the real world.
That a career in litigation is exceedingly difficult and involves years of hard work and manual labor. Also that there are not holidays in this profession.
Specifically, getting the invaluable experience of talking to practicing advocates about the smallest of things.
Any Other Thing
The auto from Patel Chowk Metro to the HC will cost you about 38 rupees. Other nearby metro stations are Central Secretariat and Pragati Maidan.
Make sure you interact a lot with their Munshi, Mr. Shankar. He works really hard and knows way more about filing and other procedure than you would have ever thought.
Keep on asking questions else you might feel like you’re sinking in a black hole. Its that horrible being ignored, trust me.
Do make it a point to explore the HC premises and know what happens where. It’ll really help you a lot in the short and long run.
Be ready with your passport sized photos and metro cards on the first day itself.
The HC is also a smoker’s paradise. But only a smoker’s paradise beware.