Of Law and Internships…

By Adv. Tanya Chandra, Co-Founder and COO, LexQuest.
Law School is a tough time for many, as my own experience along with that of those around me, has taught me that the eternal issue everyone is faced with when pursuing a degree in law is this:

How to land a good internship? With the institution I am in, will I even get the “privilege” of opportunity? In India, with the mushrooming of law schools in every nook and cranny, the question of equitable opportunities is often believed to be determined by the status of your College/University.

However, there is no definitive determinant of a good internship, because after all, it remains a subjective idea and experience. Having interned at several law firms, I know that landing a law firm internship is not exactly hitting a gold mine, unless the certainty of a fat pay cheque motivates you in every possible way, in which case, by all means go for it, aim, aspire and work hard for it. The market today, has too many opportunities, avenues and platforms that can facilitate your journey to that goal, so be sure that irrespective of the prestige and/or reputation of your College/University, you will get there, one way or the other, if you learn the how and when of making the best use of your opportunities, especially if you have chosen your facilitators well.

But, if you are someone, who can never find joy in occupying cubicle chairs all day long, struggle to understand the significance of working on SEBI/RBI compliance lists, Due Diligence documents, et. al, in an industry hiring one of the largest number of law graduates, you are definitely not cut out for it, unlike those students who have priorities and inclinations different than yours, and hence, might value the experience and worth of such opportunities way better than you. I will tell you what someone at one of my many law firm internships, told me:

“Explore enough as a Law Student, so that job security is not your temptation and only motivation, as a Law Graduate”.

But make no mistake, because finding your “thing” is not a magic wand, the sheer existence of which, shall smoothen your journey ahead. You will still have your fair share of objections and obstacles in this roller coaster of a ride, but you will learn everything you have ever wanted to, and everything you did not wish for but definitely need to.

I start through every day trying to be sincere and honest at the work I do, yet by the end of the day despair tries to seep in as I discover that copying ideas/content/mode of functioning at the drop of a hat, is an acceptable code of conduct.

This in no way means that I consider myself better than or superior to the rest of the human race, I am in fact, quite a clueless individual trying to adapt and embrace change, believing, doubting and failing often. Yet, it’s agonizing that most (not all) people in the business of law today, don’t give two hoots about the quality they create, as if quality is no one’s a concern and nobody’s responsibility. Not even if this, sets a bad example for the young and aspiring law students, who end up believing that smart work and good networking is all that you need to make a place for yourself, as it’s evidently quick, easy and doesn’t take much work because plagiarism is a way of life and bartering money for certificates (of all kinds), is an acceptable cultural practice.

At the same time, there are people in this business whose work, is motivating, hence one keeps going on, because while you can count such people on your fingers, they reinforce one’s faith in the conviction of one’s ideas.

So while you fuss about your internships, better look around, you will surely find all the motivation you need, to overcome your fears and doubts. Learn to believe in something that makes you happy. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses as an individual but never be ashamed of them. Reach out to everyone you can, for help, assistance and guidance, because thanks to the innumerable avenues today, opportunities in our legal industry, are slowly, even if, ever so slightly, turning out to be more equitable. Therefore don’t shy away from hard work, learn to respect your interests (whether it’s any subject/field/sector of law) and value your opportunities.

Happy “lawyering” to you!