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As a law student, either in the infancy of the journery or on the cusp of graduation, internships assume a vital role these days - in not only providing oneself with a semblance of experience before being thrown literally in the deep after graduation or more often than not, just useful as a cv building exercise.

But for many various reasons and each to his own, Law students do internships. Preferably alot of internships. We hunger and strive every vacation to pierce he magic circle of leading law firms or top notch advocates. More often than not, these experiences basically just revolve around observance and research with minor drafting work thrown your way. However, some may often lead you to have a meaningful learning experience.

My internship, I'm afraid, was neither of them, 

It was whilst my summer vacation that I was recommended to approach an advocate - who apparently had 'mad' drafting skills and a reputation of a gladiator in the trial courts. I was in my 4th year of law school, had already interned at various other firms/advocates. I wondered, why not? i would probably pick up drafting skills and experience of how the trial courts work.

That my friend was the most regretful mistake I had ever made. 

FIrstly, as a law student - one is already filled with insecurities. Insecurities as to your future. Which career path to choose? Litigation, corporate or In-house? Or dang it! lets do masters? And if one is a first generational lawyer, it adds even more to the confusion because there is a dearth of  guiding force.

The internship was the stimulus to breaking down my confidence - as a law student and a prospective lawyer, bit by bit. Every day, I was given work "designed to bring me out my depth". I guess that would sound exciting - challenges and all? The worst was there was absolute no help. Nada. Zilch. I was thrown in the ocean when I didn't even know how to swim, without any life support.

The advocate did not help me. He did not guide me. It wasn't that he did not have time - he did. He chose to make me struggle.

But i would still not have complained if it weren't for the abusive, disparaging remarks thrown my way - every day. Nothing I ever did could live up to his expectations. My drafting was, "horrible, a piece of crap and rubbish", i was advised to " why don't you get a rope and hang yourself" when I particularly failed to finish a job as per his standards. Every day, after every task would be a disparaging remark. I still wouldn't have minded, because lets face it - there are people in the field who would be rude to you - especially when you are fresh off the college and working as a junior. But this behaviour, to an intern who obviously does not have the experience and is with you to learn? Especially when all he could point out was where the flaws were but never could explain it to me as to how to remedy them and improve myself.

These weeks were the most depressing of my life - when I seriously considered my worthiness in this profession - a sad moment because I was a student who actually loved the law. I stuck through for three weeks because all I could think of was that internship letter at the end. But at the end, I realised that the piece of paper was nothing compared to the bruising my confidence and self belief took. No great man, no matter how amazingly accomplished he could be as a lawyer, has the right or the liberty to bring another, especially an intern, down.

I learnt nothing from that internship. Mayhaps my drafting might have gotten a tad better but it wouldn't be the price I would have paid for the abuse I suffered.

Bullying takes various forms and shapes and so does abuse. It happens in schools, universities and even as a professional. It could be physical but the most destructive form of it is when it is pyschological. People say suck it up and move on but how wrong could they be. It breaks down your spirit, lets you chastise yourself at every turn, makes you want to please others - who may never be pleased, all at the expense of one's own sanity and peace.

My parting thought to all the students out there would probably be never to bow down to such abuse. No lawyer, firm or internship would be worth your self esteem. If some one is really that abusive, throw the papers at his face and walk out. It may seem a harsh move but trust me, you would feel much better.

At the end, we all lay down at night. You have to decide whether it should be doubting youself and muddled in securities or in quiet pride that you stood up for yourself and your esteem. 

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