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--------------- Print Magazine --------------
 
  May 2016
 
  April 2016
 
 
 
 
LEGAL ARTICLE
INTERNSHIP POLICY FOR LAW SCHOOLS
Maj. Gen. Nilendra Kumar

Internship is one of the modes of practical training in the sphere of legal education. Apart from the moots, legal aid and legal writing, it forms the core component of practical acquisition and assimilation of law teaching syllabus for the students.

The process of internship provides the students with an opportunity to study and examine the structure and behaviour of organizations. It shows to them the nature of legal framework of the institutions and concerned issues. Students get the benefit of an exposure to law in action rather than law in books (as acquired in class rooms) and thus help them in due acquisition of legal expertise.

The tool of internship for law students is not new. Often the students decide to intern on their own by choosing the place, organization and duration of internship. They use their personal contacts and initiative to arrange the internship of their liking. However, a progressive and well designed approach will help them in proper utilization of their efforts.

It is advisable to design internship process to proceed in a graduated pattern so as to keep a relationship with the classroom curriculum. Otherwise, the students would not be able to grasp the applicable laws in practice at the place of internship. It is also to be ensured that internship does not clash or overshadow academic programme. Of course, if the students can conveniently manage to attend the classroom teaching while also carrying out internship, the practice could be permitted by the Law School. In other cases, the internship should be carried out during the winter and summer breaks between the academic semesters. For the ease of logistics and family considerations, it would be advantageous for the students to undertake internships at or near their home stations.

Care is to be taken to transact the internship process with requisite flexibility. Otherwise, the process will be rigid and stereotyped. The students should have the option to change the nature, type and duration of internship. However, prior approval of the Director of the Law School should be taken in this regard.

Not more than two students should carry out internship at the same office. Such an approach would introduce variety and avoid a stereotyped pattern. The students are expected to approach and obtain the consent for internship from the organizations concerned. Previous communication and efforts will be needed in this direction. However, for the purpose of record and where required, a letter of introduction may be issued to them by the law school.

To avoid any subsequent embarrassment and inconvenience, the students must confirm the date, time and the official to whom they are required to report and the place of their internship. Normally no payment, compensation or remuneration is disbursed to the students.

It is important that prior to commencement of their internship, the students discuss with their faculty and mentors the approach, process and modalities involved.

During the internship, the students may like to study and examine the following:-

  • Role and function of the organization/office/set up - To understand the basic purpose, objective, need for the society and its relevance.
    Statutory base for the same - What is the law, rule, ordinance or authority under which it has been set up and operates?
  • Public activity undertaken - What type of diverse functions it performs or the role it plays? How it meets the needs of the community or section of the society?
  • Organisation tree/structure - To understand the different layers of control, supervision and decision making processes.
  • Type of legal issues - Whether there are any legal or judicial difficulties, bottlenecks or legal obligations that require attendance?
  • Type of litigation, if any - Has the role and functioning led to any judicial intervention, whether initiated by the internal work force or by any of the beneficiaries, users or activists, etc?
  • Consumer protection/consumer awareness/human rights - Issues observed which are suggestive of defects, deficiencies or complaints as regards its role and functioning etc.

A number of organizations/offices chosen for internships are not equipped with law officers and their role is unconnected to law directly. They perform their assigned role despite severe constraints of manpower, resources and time. Students, therefore, will have to take care not to cause any impression that they have gone there with a view to check its functioning, find faults or that the internship may result in any legal complications to the hosts, or that it may delay their functioning.

The students will be required to submit a report about their internship to cover the aspects listed above. The report may also include their recommendations and suggestions, if any. Usually, it will be desirable for the student's report to be communicated to the organisation concerned unless for any reason they would not like to do so.

Internship, if carried out diligently and with adequate interest would bring multiple advantages. The students will gain useful knowledge about the organisations and their functioning. The exposure may help in forming their everlasting ties with influential persons. It would greatly assist them in understanding teaching of substantive and procedural laws in classrooms. In many cases, the contacts developed would help the students directly or indirectly in their placements.

The suggested policy for carrying out internship could be designed as given below for the five year law programmes.

Sem. Min. Dur. Place
I One Week Library of a University/College/Institute
II Four Weeks Local Court/Consumer Forum/Local Body
III One Week

Prison/NGO/Police/Social activists

IV Four Weeks

PSU/Govt. office/Judicial office/State HRC/NHRC

V One Week

Industry/Bank/Embassy/Hospital/think tank

VI Four Weeks

District Court/Tribunal

VII One Week

Police/Media/Law Publishing/Regulating Authority

VIII Four Weeks

High Court/Supreme Court/National Authority/ Legal branches of military or paramilitary forces.

IX One Week

Post Graduate Teaching Institution in Law

X Twelve Weeks

At the discretion of students

 
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