By Aparna Menon, Government Law College, Mumbai.Lower Courts

Nowadays, the old trend of interning in an NGO in the first year, High Court in the second, Supreme  Court in the third and law firms in the fourth and fifth years has faded away. Each law student, now, gets time to have multiple internships per year, which has therefore increased their work experience and learning opportunities by manifold. Since, the number of internship opportunities has increased, it is recommended that one should intern in the lower courts first and then move on to higher courts in the later years of their law school life. The reasons for the same are multiple.

Lower courts form a very integral part of the Indian Judicial System and hence, it is also an integral learning experience for a student as here, he/she is acquainted with the most basic legal cases from the grass root level and can witness how our judiciary operates from that level to the level where it deals with cases of national, economic and public importance. Unlike interning at law firms and under senior advocates which require in depth knowledge of the subject matter as their prerequisites, internships at lower courts are well-to-do with the basic knowledge of the curriculum as imparted to you in the initial year of law school life. Also, at the same time it provides you with the enormous practical exposure which would be perfect for a law student in his/her second or third semester.  The backlog of cases, the corruption and red tapism in judiciary, the dingy, dusty courts, the ‘not-like TV arguments’ all are at play here, this is also something which a law student needs to be acquainted to apart from all the law based knowledge and exposure.

Lower Courts

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“The roots of the High Court cases are in the State’s district courts. More learning, though smaller place and money.” Quoted by one of the interns at District Court , Haryana

The most important thing one learns or starts learning from a lower court internship is ‘how to research’ which is the most important learning for a lawyer to-be. These internships teach you how to research for real time cases which the advocates under whom you intern have to deal with. This teaches you to find equivalent and similar citations and a better insight on how one has to apply laws in their own favour which is quintessential for this profession. Moreover , as lower court internships are taken up in the first or the second year itself and gives us an insight into research aspect of the profession , this not only helps in future but also during the course of your initial years when you acquaint yourself with mooting.

Moreover, there are more benefits of having interned in lower courts as they teach you a lot of paper work and analysis. If the interns are proactive and keen on learning, the advocates and their juniors often hand over the basic legal drafting job such as drafting of petitions etc, giving them an opportunity to work beyond research avenues which can get monotonous. This also behaves like an incentive for the lawyer to-be interns and immense amount of job satisfaction.These advocates and their juniors deal with young breed of law students who work as interns with them and hence, they are more friendly and interactive which helps students to develop a relationship like that of a teacher and student . Hence, they do not feel very hesitated or unprofessional to ask queries and doubts as and when they arise.

In any good district court internship , one will come across Mediation and Conciliation Cells, Lok Adalats and tons of other institutions which will mesmerise you and this gives one te opportunity to explore each of the avenues and learn more about them which eventually helps to find out one’s inclination and their interest. This again is an added incentive of internships at lower courts .

Big law firms  and senior advocates hesitate to take law students from their starting years as intern due to the inexperience and lack of knowledge they posses in their first two years of a law school life. Also, if the students manage to get an internship through contacts , they are not trusted with a lot of work and hence, have to do a lot of clerical job which completely defeats their purpose of the internship .Hence , It is recommended for a law student to intern at a lower court in his starting year because they take in fresh students irrespective of their year and at the same time gives them an enriching learning experience which shall benefit them in future. Therefore, internship at lower courts play a very important role in a law students’ life because, by this, they can utilize their initial years to measure their knack in litigation and also learn about the work ethics and culture which needs to be imbibed in them .

Many law students aspire to go into corporate law and hence feel that internships at  lower courts would be a waste. It is truly not so. The recruiters, at the time of recruitment, if knows the candidate so chosen has  versatility and has made an informed decision to choose this field of law gets a better impression about the candidate. If he feels that the candidate hasn’t ventured in the other side of the law and has hence made a decision without weighing the pros and cons of the other field, it gives a very unambitious impression of the candidate. Therefore, reiterating, an internship at lower courts is highly essential to a law students’ life irrespective of his interest in corporate law or litigation.

Lower Courts

“Always start from the lower foot step and aim high to reach the zenith” – Says Dheeraj Kumar Tiwari a 2nd year law student as the biggest lesson learnt in a District Court internship.

For that reason, interning at lower courts plays a prototypical role in a law students’ life. It might not be as fancy as a law student paints law as a profession to be but one cannot jump to top of the stairwell without making an effort to climb it. Hence, to have the true flavor of law as a profession, one should always make an effort to know it from the zilch level.

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