Careers LawSikho (Featured) Legal Career

All you need to know about assessment internships

Another LawSikho student got a PPO from an assessment internship with active help from our placement office this week. I thought I would take this opportunity to share something about assessment internships with all of you.

What is an assessment internship and how to get one?

We did some research this year about what are your odds of converting an internship into a job offer, known as a pre-placement offer (PPO) in a top Indian law firm.

For the biggest 10 law firms in India, each of them takes in over 100 interns every month if I consider all the various offices together. Over the period of a year, over 1000 law students are interning, at the minimum, in these law firms.

These law firms make somewhere between 20-50 offers to law students every year, depending on market conditions, growth, attrition, etc. This may or may not include campus placement, the information available to me is not very clear here.

Even if we assume that 1000 interns are interning every year, trying their best, and hoping to get one of the 50 offers that will be made eventually, it may seem your chances are bleak.

However, the key is in getting multiple subsequent internships with the same firm, and very few manage to do this.

It is unlikely that a PPO will be made to you after you intern for the first time. Most people who manage to get a PPO, in our experience, are interning long term, or interning for the 3rd time and have been told that this 3rd internship is their ‘assessment internship’. This means that they are being assessed actively as to whether a pre-placement offer should be made to them or not.

So here is what we tell the LawSikho learners who want to work at a law firm: aim to get noticed and appreciated enough through good work in your first internship that you get called for a second internship.

It will not come to you just because you worked hard, or some of your work got appreciated. You will probably have to ask for it. The associates, and preferably a partner who has seen your work have to like it enough to recommend you for another internship or an extension.

If you perform just well, and it’s not really outstanding you may get a few praises but you will not get someone to recommend you for a follow-on internship. Not even 10% of the interns are called back for a 2nd internship, so you have to work for it. Your aim is to build relationships, get regular feedback, and wow people with your knowledge, hard work, preparedness. And your performance has to be truly outstanding given the brutal competition, failing which nothing else will work.

And if you do very well and stand out in this 2nd internship again, you may be called a 3rd time for an assessment internship. Sometimes the 2nd internship itself will be an assessment internship if you are lucky.

To pull this off, you really have to stand out head and shoulders above the rest of the interns. Preparation is the key. You can’t look at these internships as a place to learn and explore different areas of law practice, as most law students do if your ultimate goal is to get a PPO. 

It’s like going to the frontline trying to get an experience of war. Not a good idea before you are battle-trained!

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