Internships are an essential part of a law student’s life. It exposes the young and to-be lawyers to the vastness of the legal world. It provides an amazing learning experience outside the four walls of a classroom. Moreover, it also helps create a professional network for students. Many internships also offer pre-placement offers (PPOs) for the fourth and fifth-year students. Therefore, how they choose their internships becomes very crucial.
First-year law students
For students who are in their first year, NGO internships are considered to be the best option. Since these students are fresh out of high school, they do not have in-depth knowledge about the law. NGO internships focus on teaching young law students about researching & drafting, critical analysis of policy decisions, and how the law interacts with society. Moreover, many law schools require first-year students to go only for NGO internships. If you get an internship in a big law firm (in your first year) it’s quite possible that you barely get any work of significance at all.
Some first-year students also go for research internships other than NGOs like think tanks and startups. These organizations require you to research and write which can help you perfect these skills. It is obvious and needless to mention how important these skills are to a lawyer.
Second-year law students
For students who are in their second year of law school, the two best places for internships are High Courts and NGOs. If a student has already interned at an NGO during their first year, they should try internships at a High Court. High Court internships provide an opportunity for the student to be familiar with various kinds of matters like criminal offences, civil liabilities, constitutional challenges, drafting, pleading, etc. These internships can be considered as stepping stones for those who are enthusiastic about having a career in litigation.
Other than that, trial court internships are also undertaken by many law students in their second year. These internships will show you how the legal system in India truly works. They will introduce you to a major part of the legal profession. It is, however, highly recommended that you learn about Civil Procedure Code (CPC) and Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before you do a trial court internship. If you haven’t learned enough about them in your law school yet, try and read the bare act yourself.
Third-year law students
Law firms will introduce you to corporate law and help you figure out if you can work well in a corporate environment. Moreover, these can also help you build contacts essential to your career.
These are basically the kind of internships a normal law student will do by their 3rd year. But, before you decide what you want to do, this writer suggests that you should explore different kinds of workspaces. NGOs, law firms, and advocates do not make up the entirety of the law. Legal journalism and think tanks also offer meaningful internships and are legitimate career options.
After your 5th or 6th semester, you probably would have decided what you want to do. If not, you at least get a bleak idea of where your interests lay. At that point, make sure you take and plan your internships according to your interests. While applying for jobs, these can serve as proof that you have experience in the field you want to work in.
If you find an internship in a law firm that specializes in tax law and you have done tax moots, it’ll obviously be much easier to find a good job in tax law. You become much more appealing as a candidate if you have already had a certain level of experience.
Similarly, if you want to set your own practice, High/Supreme Court internships might aid you to gain experience and see how lawyers think and work. There can be no one answer to the question of where one should intern the most in his/her college life because it depends on the place a person sees himself in after college.
Towards the end, the best advice anyone can ever give you is to research the institutions where you’re applying (even when you are applying for a post at Lawocals). Make sure you only go to internships that care about their interns (we do). Ask your peers and seniors for guidance whenever you can. Your cover letters (we’ll be taking up how to perfect the art of the cover letter on our blog pretty soon) are important and most of all,
follow your gut!