How to get a good internship in your law career
Gaining a basic understanding of the subject matter, networking and creating a crisp CV are some of the essentials required to crack the internship code
I am a fourth-year B.B.A. LL.B. student with a specialization in Corporate Law. I come from a non-legal family background and understand that it is difficult to grab good internships in this competitive world. However, I strongly believe that where there is a will there is a way. Proper planning and supervision can be of great help for all those seeking internships. Having gained a mix of internship experiences under Senior Advocate Mrs. Aishwariya Bhati, J. Sagar and Associates, Trilegal, and Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas, I would like to suggest some steps that I adhered to and fortunately landed internship letters from these law firms.
Develop knowledge and skills
The first rule is to follow the hierarchy prescribed by the Bar Council of India. This is vital because a corporate internship is of no use unless you have enough knowledge of the subject matter. Hence, till the first and second year of the five-year course, the focus should be on understanding law and learning how the district/sessions courts, high courts and the Supreme Court work. This is also the time when you should enhance your research skills – a must for a career in a good law firm. From the third year onwards, you can start looking for internships in your specific field of interest.
The second rule is networking. Being a law student, it is essential to develop a network of your own. This can be achieved by participating in seminars, sessions and moot court competitions, where you can meet with the experts in the field, who can help you get good internships. Another major platform for networking is LinkedIn, where you can actively participate and build your approaches. You can also take the guidance of your seniors or professors who have good connections in the field. Though networking takes effort and might not always give you a positive response, that should not discourage you from contacting people who can help you broaden your horizon about the legal profession. It is just a matter of getting the right connections.
Make an impressive résumé
The third rule is to have a vibrant and crisp Curriculum Vitae (CV). Ideally, do not cram random information about you so that your CV does not exceed more than two pages. It should highlight all your achievements that are relevant to the application. As per my experience, GPA or Grade Point Average does play a major role in making your CV stand apart, but it is not the only factor that law firms look for.
Follow the application process
The fourth and last rule is concerning the application process. Always apply three or four months prior to the dates on which you are seeking an internship. If no response is received from the other end in two weeks or so, send polite follow-up emails and, if possible, stay connected with the HR to know the status of your application. Keep the possible options open by applying not just in single-tier firms, but also going for boutique law firms with specialized working.
When you finally get the internship, always give your best because that helps you in getting a call back and a Pre-Placement Offer (PPO) if you are fortunate enough. You should keep in mind that your work not only leaves behind an imprint of your personality, but of your academic institution as well. A good imprint can be helpful for the future students of the institution.
(The writer is a fourth-year B.B.A. LL.B. student with a specialization in Corporate Law.)