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JSA rejigs internships to level playing field for non-Mumbai law school interns


J Sagar Associates (JSA) Mumbai office has formalised its policies of long-term interships for students and articled clerks by making these subject to regular reviews in an attempt to put shorter internship programmes on an equal footing and attract a greater variety of law students.

It is understood that previously JSA did not review long-term internships, which meant that student interns who were predominantly from Mumbai law schools or articled clerks studying for their Bombay solicitors examination often stayed with the firm for years, which created an informal expectation that they were guaranteed a job at the firm upon graduation.

Under the new policy JSA Mumbai will now review all students' internships and articled clerkships every six months and appraise performance and decide whether each internship or clerkship should continue.

Mumbai-based partner Dina Wadia, who is also the firm's management committee member responsible for human resources (HR) policies, explained: "The reason why we made this change to the longer term internships, to some extent, was mainly to broaden the base and not to give one particular type of student an advantage over the others."

"We wanted to send the message that all newly qualified associates who apply to us will have the same opportunity and that by doing articles or long-term internships, you should not think you have an advantage or consider being retained as a done deal."

JSA's Mumbai office is understood to have previously had around 20 interns on internships of six months or longer, in addition to up to around 20 short-term interns from time to time.

It is understood that the numbers of long-term interns and articled clerks has therefore decreased at JSA over the past months as a number on internships were not extended. The firm would also be stricter in taking on new articled clerks.

Wadia noted: "This reiteration of our intern policy is for the firm as a whole though it has greater impact in Mumbai because of the higher number of the long term interns and article clerks in Mumbai."

JSA's regular short-term internship programme system remains unchanged.

Last year JSA's Mumbai office for the first time visited campuses for recruitment, hiring a small number of students from NLSIU Bangalore and NUJS Kolkata, said Wadia. JSA again planned to visit campuses later this year after the firm's staffing requirements were finalised.

Previously almost all of JSA Mumbai's graduate recruits were hired directly out of its pool of long- and short-term interns.

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