Doing an internship in law and planning to make a career out of it is a dream of many. But, many of the law aspirants get confused about where they should start their initial stage. The ones, who as fresher’s, are often scared by the challenges of harmonizing and balancing their life between the school life of the law and the extra-curricular activities as they have little to no idea from where and how should they began the work. Be it working on a research paper or preparing for moot court competitions, they are confused.
This is the condition of every law student who graduates from law school. In the initial stage, they find themselves in a fix. Getting themselves interned at the best place haunts them. Proper planning, securing vague pre-placement offers (PPO) and preparing for job interviews keeps them to bang their heads until they find a perfect place.
Gone are the days when one who was not able to get an admission in any of the best law courses would ultimately, apparently as a last option, select L.L.B as a course. But, today, it is not the case. At present, almost every year countless students (who keep on increasing every year) appear for an SAT, LSAT, CLAT, AILET, etc. so that they could claim one of the seats presented by each examination (subject to expansion). And, the lucky few would get through. But what happens next?
Some people have real plans for their life while some get scared to give it a try.
So, to solve the confusion of law students who want to intern; let’s have a lookout at the internship plan for law students should have.
Having an Internship plan for a law student is a must and getting practical knowledge is highly considered in the legal profession and this can happen only if you take up meaningful internships during your LLB course.
So, when is the best time to start an internship? The decision to do internship in the very first year of a law school itself may not be very fruitful. In order to be capable enough to fully raise its value and gain from the experience, doing a shift from the second year onwards is well-thought-out. Though, the “internship formula” set by most law schools is that internships should be taken from the first year itself, with an altered opportunity being discovered every year.
For example, You can try your hands in at least 10 internships in a 5-year course program.
In 1st internship:
Go for NGOs and find out the ground realities.
In a 2nd internship:
Go for District court lawyer and get some depth knowledge again, learn how a ‘case’ initiates and find out how the ground realities of justice delivery in India look like.
In 3rd internship:
Go for working with HC/SC lawyer as a lot of people love to work with litigation during such internships.
In 4th internship:
Go for the mid-size law firm and try to learn the corporate culture and their work ethics.
In both the 5th and 6th internship:
Go for experimenting (start-ups, politicians, legal journalism, marketing, think-tanks, or whatever excites you. You can take short internships of just 2–3 weeks. It will help you to know how that ‘work’ looks like from inside.
In the 7th and 8th internship:
Keep your focus on the type of organizations from where you think you’d like working.
In the 9th and 10th internship:
Do be careful and notice that if the organization from where you about to go or are already in are offering PPO (pre-placement offers) or not.
You can even try out online research internship with IDIA (Increasing Diversity by Increasing Access to Legal Education). IDIA acts as a light in the black and white life for the unprivileged law aspirants.
Paid vs. Unpaid internships
Paid versus unpaid internships is the freedom of choice of the employer offering the internships. Some law firms pay a fixed stipend to the interns who do work for them for a minimum period of 3-4 weeks or more.
The advantages of a paid internship are many. An organization or a law firm that pays stipends is telling the fact that it is thoughtful about the internship programs. Paying stipends to the interns also provides the company with an incentive to make use of the intern’s skills to the hilt and also send a message across to the intern that their work is appreciated by the employer.
How to find your law school’s Placement Cell?
Is the law school placement cell the first place you should approach to get an internship? You can also give a call to the law firms and companies yourself straightaway and then you can even ask them if they have any internship opportunity available with them. Make the proper use of the Internet and get access to the plentiful sites and blogs that maintain the lists and links of internships.
When applying for a law internship
While you apply for the internship via e-mail make sure that the mail is well-formatted. Do not send cover letters in the form of attachments. Relatively the body of the mail should work as the cover letter. Nonetheless, if the organization has precisely asked for cover letters defining the word limit, then do send it in the form of attachments.
And, don’t forget to attach your CV. The CV should be the correct reflection of your application. It shouldn’t be messy with unnecessary information. Keep it precise.
Wait for a few days for the response after you have sent the application. If you don’t get a reply, then do remember to send a reminder via e-mail and make some inquiries about the status of the application.
If the company does not reply to the reminder e-mail, make a phone call. If you think they are responding positively then continue chasing them via phone calls and e-mails. Conversely, if it seems that they are not approaching you then it may be sensible to hunt other organizations.
Remember that “Nothing is black or white in this profession, everything is in the shades of grey”.