National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi
Duration of Internship
23rd November- 31st December, 2015: 6 weeks
Name of the Organization
Surana and Surana International Attorneys, Chennai
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The Firm has a policy of only accepting 4th and 5th year law students (of the 5-year law course, 2nd and 3rd for the 3-year course).
They also don’t accept internship applications for a period less than 6 weeks.
However, during my internship, I observed that both these policies were relaxed for some students.
If they like your CV, they give a call for an interview.
They don’t accommodate or provide for telephonic or virtual interviews which makes it a painstaking effort for a person not studying or living in Chennai to travel all the way to give an interview.
However, they are flexible with the dates of the interview and schedule it according to your convenience.
I, hailing from Chennai, scheduled it along with a visit home.
Two short interviews
The office is situated in the heart of the city, near Poes Garden and accessibility is hence no issue.
The office is a part of the International Law Centre which is a huge, posh 4 storeyed building with Parking and a small pantry outside the main structure.
I reached the office for the interview about half an hour early.
In a while, I was greeted by a Senior Associate heading the IPR team. My interview with the Senior Associate was very casual and he was extremely jovial.
It was more like a conversation about what I have done through my legal education and what kind of jobs I was looking for.
At the end of our conversation, he told me he liked my profile but I will have to wait to be interviewed by another Associate.
He turned out be the head of the Corporate team and later my boss. This interview was a little more serious with very specific questions about my previous internships.
At the end of the interview I was told that I was selected and I could expect a formal confirmation mail in a couple of hours.
I was informed that I would be joining the Corporate, Real Estate and Infrastructure team.
After I signed an Internship agreement, the head of the Corporate team introduced me to a Senior Associate in the team, who then introduced me to the rest of the team.
I was then directed to my desk with my own Personal computer and provided with an internal mail ID.
I was given a short informal orientation on the general do’s and don’ts of the internship. This included a direction to send in my Worksheet in a timeline every day to the partner and my HOD.
This, I think was very useful as it not only gives the HOD, an opportunity to actually appraise your work but it makes time-management easier, and also comes of great help at the end of the internship when you are asked to prepare a draft of your internship certificate incorporating all the work you have done over the period of internship.
The firm employs more than 30 advocates, other than Company Secretaries and Patent Agents. There are also other employees who provide logistical support (IT, HR, Admin. etc.)
The good life at Surana!
The people. The whole firm works like an extended family and everyone is very friendly.
Banters in the pantry were just hilarious. From the drivers to Senior Associates everyone was ready to pull each other’s leg the minute they entered the pantry.
There was free lunch.
You could also have a drink of your choice (usually just coffee or tea) twice a day.
The New year celebrations were truly one of a kind where all the employees and interns were invited with their families.
It was hosted by the head of the Litigation and Corporate team, who had a good sense of humor.
After a few series of games and gift giving, there was an extremely sumptuous lunch.
Honestly, I would have liked to have received more work. The interns working with the litigation team received comparatively more work.
But the quality of work I received were very good. There were hardly any clerical or dead-end jobs.
The Associates were very appreciative of the work. They were patient and made sure they clarified my doubts.
A special mention to my HOD, who in my opinion is one of the most charismatic and knowledgeable men I have met. He was easy to approach and the way he dealt with clients was truly inspirational.
In fact, thinking back I don’t think I ever saw any employee lose their temper during the period of my internship. There was no yelling, drama or tears.
Apart from general research work, I was assigned with work like writing up briefs based on client correspondences and the helping with legal opinions.
I also received few miscellaneous work like preparing a Due Diligence checklist, reviewing the Annual returns of companies and writing articles.
Mid-internship, there were the Chennai floods and the Founding partner made it a point to come and talk to all of us and enquire about our homes and well-being after the floods. That struck me as a thoughtful gesture.
The not so good life at Surana!
The work timings. The firm works from 9 am-7 pm on weekdays. I stayed about an hour away from the firm and this left me with very little time to do anything else. The firm worked till 1 p.m. on Saturdays, which was a small consolation.
All our computers had no free access to the internet. We had access only to Manupatra, Indian Kanoon and the official website of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
So every time I had to use a search engine, I had to use the three common desktops kept for the purpose which was often used by other Associates thus delaying my work.
I understand their concern with regard to people misusing internet but it would be easier if at least websites of popular legal research journals and such were accessible from one’s own desktop.
You are expected to type out an internship certificate on your own which is then reviewed and signed by the HOD.
I found this a little inconvenient as I felt it was impolite to be singing my own praises.
Accommodation and Food
As mentioned earlier, I hail from Chennai and hence stayed at my home. However, for people hailing from outside the city there are several good PGs and hostels in Mylapore and Mandaveli.
There are lot of good eateries, both roadside-cheap and upscale, around the firm. The firm also provides pretty good lunch.
To cap it all, it was a good experience. I have got to know some really good people. Honestly, it would have been the perfect internship if there was a little bit more work.
Maybe I was just used to a more hectic and demanding work structure. But the work environment and the people more than made up for the work part of the internship that didn’t quite live up to my expectations.
I received a stipend of Rs. 5000.
This entry has been submitted for the LexisNexis-Lawctopus Internship Experience Writing Competition 2015-2016. iPleaders is the learning partner for this competition.