internships
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This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.

Internships with the top law firms and senior advocates were anyway hard to get but with this COVID-19 thing…it’s next level complication.

Most lawyers are not willing to consider remote internships. Law firms are replying to applications saying please apply when the lockdown is lifted.

Truth be told, social distancing is going to continue even when the lockdown is lifted and law firms and lawyers are not about to bring young students into their workplaces and possibly increase their risk exposure.

Remote internships are the only hope. 

However, they are few and far between and even harder than normal internships to obtain, because you do not know how to go about finding them.  

Even if you are from an NLU, you are probably finding it hard to get one unless you took great pains to cut through the competition and prove that you are worth that chance. Or perhaps you got one through your amazing connections. But definitely, either way, getting a remote internship during lockdown is proving very hard.

You know what you want. But how to get it is not clear at all, because, during the lockdown, all rules of engagement have changed. 

You try, try harder, and not even get a rejection letter back. Ultimately, you end up frustrated and dejected, and that’s when this article lands on the blog.

Tell you what, if internships are on your mind right now, read this whole article and then re-read it again. 

What is the problem if you do not do any internship during this time

We are facing the hardest job market we have ever witnessed in our generation. Since 1991, we have never seen such levels of economic disruption, uncertainty and job losses. 

In fact, even in 1991 unemployment rates were not this bad. 

We do not yet fully know what price we may be paying for the lockdown we endured for almost 3 months and the knock-on effect of a global economic catastrophe. 

Some of you will be graduating this year, and others will graduate over the next 3 years. You will feel the pinch of this massive recession or economic slow down that is coming.

It is not that there will not be jobs – but just that getting those jobs will be much harder and competition will not only be with your batchmates but even more experienced people who are out of jobs and willing to take a pay cut and join at an entry-level salary.

Seriously.

Lawyers with 4-5 years of experience are now happy to join a law job at a huge pay cut that earlier only freshers with no experience agreed to take. And the number of such people will only go up in the months and perhaps even years to come, for all we know!

Do you want to leave your career up to chances? I bet not.

You need to do everything in your power right now to gear up for that competition, or you will find yourself in a very difficult situation a few months down the line.

Do not look at your classmates and think that they are your competitors any more! You will probably have to compete with seniors who graduated 3-4 years back for the same jobs!

There is one way to get around that fierce competition and get your foot into the door. That is doing terrific internships. Ideally long term internships – so that you can build relationships, trust and demonstrate your value.

https://lawsikho.com/course/diploma-advanced-contract-drafting-negotiation-dispute-resolution

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If you miss out on that, you are letting go of your biggest weapon to salvaging your career.

What is the problem you are going to face if you try to get an internship

  • HR managers will respond with a standard template: we are not taking any interns now/ all internships stand suspended given this unprecedented situation
  • Lawyers are not responding to internship requests, because they do not know how to make virtual internships work
  • Even your internships that were previously confirmed are getting cancelled
  • If you can’t write emails asking for an internship, what else can you possibly do?
  • Lawyers do not have the time or the means to give interns training in a remote mode. They would rather just do it themselves. They barely can manage to do it in person, doing it online is the next level of cognitive load for them.
  • If you already know the work and can demonstrate that you are useful based on your application and then an interview round you can get it. Otherwise, tough luck. 

Are some new opportunities getting created due to this peculiar situation?

  • In a big law firm that cancelled all internships en masse, we were able to reach out to partners personally and get a remote internship for our LawSikho students. 
  • Because the office/HR is not providing them with interns officially, partners have internal alignment to find interns for themselves if they can find any good ones on their own. 
  • We realised that many lawyers have less work these days, and if they are smart then they are using this time to do business development. That means, they are writing articles, hosting webinars, looking for speaking opportunities, being very active on social media. Maybe setting up a podcast or a youtube channel. They can do with some assistance on these fronts.
  • Are you someone who has written a few articles, or produced some podcasts or youtube videos about the law? Then this is a great time to reach out to such lawyers with your sample articles/ videos, and offer to help them in their research/ writing, webinar management or podcast or youtube channel kind of work. 
  • Why? Because you will be damn useful, stand out and be remembered. Also, they will want you to continue to help them. It is a great way to build a long term relationship. When they will hire next, they will definitely keep you in mind given how much you have helped them, and the potential you have to help more. 
  • It is also a great way to stand out from the crowd of interns they have had. The satisfaction of these tasks are instant and they will recognize your help positively. 

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How to get the best internships in the legal field?

(Click on the Play button to watch the video.)

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Are there any alternatives to doing an internship

  • Why only do an internship? Everyone has made up their minds about internships. And there is tons of competition for that. What if we can do a workaround, and get the same benefits without having to stand in the queue?
  • How about working as a research assistant to a professor? They are often damn well connected. They need to publish a lot of research. You can help them and they will help you back. They can put you in touch with their star students who are now top lawyers! And their recommendations often mean a lot.
  • How about starting your own project? Something that will demonstrate your calibre and put you in touch with many people along the way? Let’s say that you want to become a real estate lawyer. How about reaching out to real estate associations, builders associations, flat-buyers associations and help them out with free webinars! Maybe you can start a blog or a youtube channel or a series of webinars for them? 
  • Maybe start a forum for advocating public interest litigation or helping the poor people who need legal support. That will give you an opportunity to meet so many new lawyers, potential and future clients, and people from society who can help you to succeed in your career. If you give value to people, you get value back!
  • You can even do an online course from LawSikho. It is not really an alternative to an internship, because we will push you to do internships anyway, but do not waste any time! Make sure you are productive and constantly upskilling yourself. That is the way to stay on the top of the pile and survive this recession/ slow down. 
  • Help startups, NGOs, small businesses and other organizations who do not have enough legal representation. They will become your case studies of the future, give you an opportunity for tremendous learning and provide you clients in the future as well. 

Are we blowing hot air?

In the last week alone, we secured 9 internships for 9 of our students. In the whole month, we secured around 30 internships, and a handful of jobs as well, no matter how hard the market was. 

And we are just gearing up. 

The above methodology is giving a tremendous edge to our students, and we hope you also apply them and benefit from them.

For some of you, you would prefer to get guidance and handholding through the process. Please sign up for a premium LawSikho course so we can help you. 

While we are happy to share our modus operandi and knowledge with you openly, we are not in a position to spend one on one time with you to produce these results pro bono, given the number of requests we receive!

Also, to convert a good internship into something more you need to have serious substance in terms of legal knowledge and skills. We can help you with that too!

Check out our courses page to find out which courses are open to enrolment at present.

To your success.

P. S. LawSikho is running hour-long webinars every day. Want to learn how to improve your learning skills? Prepare an LLM application to a foreign university? Career opportunities in new, upcoming areas of law? Don’t miss these high-quality webinars with industry and academic experts.

P. P. S. All our premium courses are covered under an unwavering 45 days full money-back guarantee

After taking a course, if you feel like it is not working out for you, maybe you are not getting enough value out of it or it is not meeting your expectations, just get in touch with us. We will refund every rupee you paid for the course.

No questions asked, as long as the minimum requirements of the refund policy are fulfilled.


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