Anandita Singh has written this article about the Internship for first-year law students.
Introduction- Internship for first-year law students
Internships are an indispensable part of any student’s career. They are the pillars which bolster their confidence and bestow knowledge upon them, about the intricacies of working in a particular field. With the onset of a shift in preference from medical and engineering to law, the competition in the field of law has surged like never before. Therefore, it becomes extremely necessary for the students to hone their theoretical knowledge as well as their practical knowledge.
The internship experience is crucial for law students looking for jobs in top-tier law firms and corporate houses after college. These internships not only categorize students, but also help recruiters select candidates with diverse experience, such as volunteering with NGOs, working with commissions, or under the guidance of a lawyer. This is because internships provide practical insight into real-world legal work, and the exposure and experience gained through internships are unparalleled.
First-hand experience of the functioning of the world can be gained only through these internships. A student can marvel in the confines of the classroom, he can be the best scorer, the best mooter in the entire college, but if he is not able to wield this knowledge to his benefit in real-world dealings, his education would prove to be fruitless.
Internship for first-year law students
For a first-year law student, internships are of paramount importance because by interning with NGOs and commissions, they are sensitized to the plight of poor, needy, and vulnerable sections of society.
These internships help the students in discovering themselves and in turn embolden personal progress owing to the fact that in these internships, the first-year students -who till now have had little to no experience of dealing with needy sections of society- are made to move out of their comfort zones and look at the problems from a different perspective.
During this process, the students also come across numerous people and diversify their network.
The level of professionalism expected of the students can be learnt only from the internships, no competition whether big or small can teach the students how to act professionally in front of people of important stature, doing unparalleled tasks.
There is no doubt that competitions also play a cardinal role in the development of a student, but the professionalism expected of the students in those competitions is only for the duration of such an event, which is two to three days, as opposed to several weeks of keeping up with the professional bearing during internships.
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Where should a first-year law student intern?
First-year law students are always exhilarated when it comes to internships and being in the first year, they have very restricted knowledge of where they should intern. Most of them are of the opinion that after enrolling in a law course, they are obligated to do their internships under a lawyer, practising in the High Court or the Supreme Court. But, what they fail to take notice of is that they are only in the first year and there is no way they would be able to appreciate or comprehend the functioning of the courts.
It is a bootless errand for first-year students to do their internships under any lawyer’s chamber. Students in the first year need to realize that very little is expected of them at this stage, the only thing which is expected of them is to grow and develop themselves, to find out if this is what they are passionate about.
Ngo’s should be the first preference for first-year law students to do internships.
Working with an NGO or commission is a great way to kick-start internships. Students will have a fascinating experience, something off the charts, something which they have probably not seen or done before. They will have empirical knowledge of the “how” of things.
They can work in any NGO because the cardinal motive of interning with these institutions is to make them more compassionate towards the need of those who don’t have it all. These internships are a great way for students to ascertain what their preferences are, i.e. what they like and dislike. These internships always prove constructive as they are an excellent way for students to travel across the country, work with different NGOs, visit villages and understand the problems that people face there, visit different cities and understand how cultural difference plays an important role in determining how any institution works in a particular region etc.
The NGOs have a vast scope and students can choose from numerous NGOs, all of divergent nature, for example, an NGO working with underprivileged children, women, environment, human rights etc. Students who are passionate about working towards the betterment of a particular section of society, an intern with the NGO or commission involved in uplifting and aiding those people. For instance, the students can intern with CRY India, World Wildlife Fund- India, Human Rights Law Network, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Goonj etc.
By interning with such institutions, the students will come to understand what problems there are in society and how to deal with such problems. They will have a pragmatic understanding of the real world as well as the legal world. They will become more compassionate towards other people and passionate towards becoming a good lawyer, but more importantly, a good person.
Other Places to intern for 1st-year law students
As a first-year law student, there are a few places where you could consider interning to gain valuable experience and exposure to the legal field:
- Law firms: Many law firms offer internships to first-year law students, which can provide valuable hands-on experience in legal research, drafting legal documents, and working with clients. You could consider interning at a large law firm or a boutique firm that specializes in a particular area of law that interests you.
- Government agencies: Local, state and federal government agencies often offer internships to law students. This could include working in the legal department of a government agency or interning with a judge or magistrate in a courthouse.
- In-house legal departments: Some corporations have in-house legal departments that employ law students as interns. This could be a good opportunity to gain experience working on legal issues for a specific company or industry.
- Under Advocate- Interning under a practising lawyer gives law students exposure to real-world legal work, which can be incredibly beneficial for their education and career development.
To conclude, I would just like to say that it is not crucial for law students to embark on this exciting journey in the field of law by opting for internships in the top tier law firms or the Supreme Court or High courts, in the early stages of their studies.
They should always start their journey from the elementary level i.e. by learning at the NGOs and commissions because these are the foundation stones which will pave way for them to become exceptionally good lawyers, for they will understand what this profession entails.
Ultimately, the best place to intern will depend on your personal interests and career goals. You may want to consider reaching out to your school’s career services office or speaking with your professors to get advice on finding internships that align with your interests.
# Internship for first-year law students