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Interning with Law ministry will allow law grads understand government perspective on litigation – Times of India

The Ministry of Law and Justice announced internships to help newcomers give legal advice in constitutional- administrative, finance, infrastructure, labour, conveyancing, and arbitration/contract laws. The law ministry’s department of Legal Affairs (DoLA) is organizing the internship and is currently accepting applications on ‘first come first serve basis’. The interns will serve at the department’s offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai for one month for a stipend of Rs 5000.

Window for direct, specific learning

Internship is a window for direct, specific learning mentions for law students as in the phase they experience and learn law in action with all seriousness. Faizan Mustafa, vice chancellor, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad says, “Law ministry will enable students to have first-hand experience of law -process, in holistic manner. They will be at forefront of learning how several law departments coordinate for legal drafting or accomplishing a related task in government setting.”

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Major learning among young interns will take place with exposure to the litigation process from the Indian government’s perspective. Students will gain an understanding of how laws are drafted when amendments are required, and most importantly the repeal scope of obsolete and redundant laws, added Mustafa.

Internship at government’s law departments has its share of merit and limitations told Anurag Deep, Professor, Indian Law Institute, New Delhi. Deep further says, “Policy making and law making is the focus. Working in these areas is usually not available at private law firms as it is an exclusive domain of ministry. Interns will get a fair idea of how to read judgements, statutes.”

Advocate Junais Padalath, who works at Delhi-based J&P law firm, reflecting the same thought of internship as a boon for students, says, “This kind of government internship assigns students to government cases or they represent government officials. Their duties or work will be at the interplay of several law segments, engaging in the litigate process at trial courts and intermediate appellate courts or constitutional court or the Supreme Court of India.”

The conventional method

Interning after each semester is an academic norm that each law student has to undergo through and by the time, he/she graduates from national law universities, a student has interned with a minimum of 8-10 law firms in almost all legal matters. Mustafa says, “At NALSAR, great emphasis is given to learning outside the classroom and more in courtrooms. For the same, students have to mandatorily undertake an internship, which is carefully semester-wise segregated, after each semester of 5 years LLB course.”

The level of internship pattern starts at civil society, NGO, the lower judiciary in the district court, high court, corporate law firm, government commission or supreme court for I, II, III, IV, V year students.

Prospects of job affirmations

Mustafa says, “Not all internships are meant to for sure job hiring. Depending on students’ future career goal, skill set and firm size, conversion of internship into an employment take place. A law student might opt for cracking UPSC but the internship at ministry will always help in job interview process.”

Talking on limited chance of interns getting hired, Deep says, “For recruitment purpose, only to some extent such internships help because firms are more oriented to maximising their revenue through commercial, IPR and big-ticket cases. As internship in ministry mostly deals with law-making and not necessarily on commercial litigations, drafting contracts, the job affirmations for the same are not very high.”

Junais said that at a private law firm the common way to assist the team is done through research and referencing work not by managing government-level matters or case files. He says, “Such interns shall have high knowledge base of latest judgements passed by Indian courts and this skill is highly valued by private law firms as they are always on a lookout to hire an observant research associate.”

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