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Legal education in India is growing by leaps and bounds every year, which is inspiring more and more students to build a career in law. During the tenure of any law programme, it is mandatory for students to do as many internships as possible. Legal internships pave the path to a successful career in the field.
All the law schools in India design their course curriculum in such a way that students get sufficient time to complete their internships. Thus, every law aspirant has to reserve their summer and winter breaks from college for internships and other assignments. They have to plan well in advance and secure offers from the desired companies or organisations.
In this article, we will tell you about the top sectors in which law students seek internships. Since the duration of a law degree is 5 years for integrated law courses and 3 years for the Bachelor of Law (LL.B) programme, students get the opportunity to cover a number of internships before graduating. This also helps them in narrowing down upon the ideal career pathway for themselves.
Top Sectors for Legal Internships in India
Read further to know the most popular areas in the industry in which law students seek internships.
Most law students aspire to become lawyers, therefore court internships are the best choice for them. They can work under advocates and learn about all the courtroom practices. It gives them a real-life experience of the career for which they are aiming. Courtroom internships are highly recommended for all law students and they are advised to go for them regardless of their desired job.
To become successful in the field of law, every candidate must have commendable research skills. It is advised to secure a research internship at the beginning of the law degree as it enhances the required skills. Students will be required to do extensive research on policies, articles, legislation, etc. Several companies hire interns for their research work.
Internships Under Independent Lawyers
Students who want to have a close working environment and learn the details of the job at the grassroots level must do this internship. Usually, there are only 2-3 interns working under an independent lawyer which leads to direct interaction and learning experience from the senior. This eliminates the possibility of sitting without work and most of the time, the interns have to deal with challenging work. Apart from instilling a habit of being thorough and meticulous, students also learn the core intricacies of the field.
These internships are among the most popular in the legal education sector. Students can intern for state and federal court judges and gain valuable insight into the workings of trial and appellate courts. These positions are not only very intensive about research and writing, but they also provide innumerable opportunities to excel. Judicial clerkships are excellent resume-boosters, especially for those who wish to practice civil or criminal litigation or appellate law.
Judicial interns perform a wide range of clerkship duties which include reviewing appellate briefs, trial records, and other documents, assisting in the drafting of bench memoranda and opinions, researching and analysing case law, making recommendations regarding the disposition of matters on appeal, and briefing the judge prior to oral argument. Students applying for judicial internships must demonstrate exceptional research and writing skills, sound judgment, and strong interpersonal skills. Those who wish to go for federal court clerkships generally must have a superior academic record.
Legal journalism is a field that is blooming at a fast pace and becoming one of the popular jobs in the law industry. Law students who have a flair for journalism must look for internships in various legal journalism organisations. They will be required to follow certain cases and research around them. Several job roles are included in legal journalism like editorship, research, social media marketing, writing, etc. If the students perform well during their internship, they can easily get a PPO (Pre-Placement Offer) from the organisation.
Internships at NGOs
Applying for internships at Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) is important for law students who wish to pursue their careers in human rights law. Not just NGOs, there are many law firms that take up pro bono projects and specialise in serving marginalized communities and underserved populations that are often denied access to justice. These internships are great credentials to a law graduate's resume and pro bono work is also an excellent way to serve the public while developing legal skills.
Internships Under Financial Institutions
The students who wish to expand their experience in Finance or Banking Law should look for internships in the financial institutions of the country. This is a popular choice among students pursuing the BBA LL.B course and those who prefer working on white-collar crimes. Leading organisations like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), etc. hire law students for various internship positions. Candidates can also find several private companies in which legal internships are available in the finance sector.
Law Firm Internships
Law firm internships are the most sought after among law students across the world. Becoming a Corporate Lawyer is the dream of a huge population of law students and law firms are the primary platform that boosts their careers. An intern's duties in these firms vary based on the needs of the firm and the student's level of experience. However, it typically includes basic office work such as legal research, filing, client assistance, and aiding lawyers with paperwork and courtroom preparation.
Internships at law firms increase the student's knowledge of substantive areas of law, provide exposure to a real work environment, and enable them to offer valuable support to a legal employer. Furthermore, a student of the fifth year will ideally be performing the same tasks as a lawyer is required to do. By the time the student is in the third year, the internship helps a lot to gain cumulative knowledge.
These were some of the most desirable internship sectors for law students. While the fields offer plenty of options and diversity, it is considered prudent of the student if they recognise their area of interest soon. In that way, they will have substantial time to cover more internships in the sector that will assist their professional growth.