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A very long time ago in a land very nearby, a conversation between an internship committee coordinator and prospective non-profit organizations willing to take interns went something like this:

Internship Coordinator: Hello, Bachche chahiye, Bachche?
(Hello, do you want/require children at your place?)
Non Profit Organisation Internship Coordinator: Kya aap ananthashram se bol rahe hain?
(Are you speaking from an orphanage?)

Thankfully, the internship coordinator over time got changed.  But at the same time, this conversation reflects the prevailing situation of a shortage of internship opportunities vis a vis the number of people applying.

The situation is something like a herd of cows and buffaloes all being stockpiled together in order to make sure the milch cows get selected and all the rest are sent to the butcher house. Over here, the stockpile is the large number of students in search of internships, the milch cows refer to people with merit or jugaad or a combination of both and the butcher house refers to the world at large which can’t stop pitying the situation of the people who don’t get an internship.

How do you get an internship? And what exactly do you need to get there? These questions have often been elusive but have always been answered ‘seemingly’ convincingly through a variety of articles, posts and news items on building the perfect Curriculum Vitae in order to secure a good internship.

Everything seems to be picture perfect and everyone thinks that internships can be obtained by following tips given to make an overall development of the Curriculum Vitae. If it was that easy, then en masse rejection mails wouldn’t be a common phenomenon most law students would have to face.  Internships primarily happen due to the following reasons:

a)Jugaad- Please refer to my previous post on Jugaad (//www.legallyindia.com/643-jugaad )for an elaborate explanation i.e. Res Ipsa Loquitor.
b)Merit- When I mean merit; I mean for instance, Amarchand and other top tier firms ask only for the top ten CV’s and the matter ends there.
c)Combination of Jugaad and Merit- Jugaad and merit is probably the deadliest combination anybody could utilise in order to get in anywhere they want.
d)Chance encounters- When the heavens bestow their blessings upon you, a chance encounter at a conference, a seminar, and the courts or on any other occasion along with you making an impression on the person at the helm of affairs can make you land up in an internship.
e)Apply early- Again, this is a very subjective, how early to apply and when to apply, are things which depend on the facts and circumstances of that particular internship application.

While prima facie, it may seem that I have made internships appear like an elusive opportunity which can never come by. Let me give a fact situation to clarify my stand on this situation, a law student’s CV is sent to a Tier II firm and is rejected point blank despite it having the ‘complete’ blend of marks, paper presentations, articles, moots et al. Another student’s CV is accepted despite him having lower marks, fewer paper presentations, no articles and no moots.  A question which again arises here as to why the CV of the former got rejected and the latter one’s got accepted. The law student again sends his CV to a Tier I firm, again ending up with a rejection mail. The law student then realizes that Jugaad is the only way out and he uses it accordingly. Are there any answers as to why this student’s CV got rejected in both the Tier I and Tier II firms?

More often then not, no reasons are given, no explanations warranted and no improvements or suggestions are recommended when CV’s for internships are rejected. This makes law students for the most part rely on secondary sources of information and hearsay snippets to build up their CV’s. While it is true, that the firm/organization/lawyer in question is not obligated to state why a particular CV was rejected, but at the same time, where and more importantly, how does the student know where he was lacking or what did he do wrong while presenting his CV. 

I don’t mean to sound like a revolutionary over here, but if law students and prospective internship places/recruiters can interact with each other in a more healthy manner and can have an interface where they can ask queries which makes sure that both parties get exactly what they want, something like Legallyindia, for instance. It would bring a lot of clarity to the system. The divide has to break so that interns who may be potential prospective employees get to know exactly what their prospective employers want at the very beginning itself.

To conclude, when was the last time a law student called up the HRD cell of any firm/organization/lawyer and asked them directly, ‘Boss, where exactly was my CV lacking, can you please tell me?’


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