By Mohammad Mahdy Hassan
Internship can bring a hope of gaining an advantage of future employment or work independently for a law student in the present world. Internship gives an individual glimpse of real life career before the practical venture starts. Selecting an aim is a very hard task for a law student because there are many available opportunities for them. We have the option of becoming judges or practicing law in the court, serving as a civil officer in the government administration, working as an NGO activist, or even teaching in the university, etc. Before graduating from my law school, I was fortunate enough to complete two internships in two different public and private organizations. One was National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Bangladesh, and another was Relief International-Bangladesh. While doing internship in these two organizations, I had the opportunity to learn how internship can help a law student in pursuing his/her future career, and how a law student should plan about his or her future career ultimately.
I spent six months (January-July, 2014) interning for Relief International-Bangladesh, an US-based international organization that emphasizes in promoting humanitarian cause and human development. The core responsibilities of my internship included research and preparing documents for the project on the issue of ‘Protecting the Victims of Human Trafficking in Bangladesh’. This project was assisted by the US Department of State Office to monitor and combat trafficking in persons. During the internship period, I had the opportunity to work in a professionally developed environment especially while dealing with the legal issues. It was a platform to make and use network with the government and non-government experts, officials and donors from home and abroad.
Prior to my internship at Relief International, I also worked as an intern in National Human Rights Commission. During my internship, I was selected as one of the members in three investigation committees of the Commission. The task of these committees was to visit victims of human rights violation, and record their statements. After the occurrence of Ramu violence by the extremists on Buddhist monasteries and inhabitants in 2012, I visited Ramu in Cox’s Bazar to investigate post-violence situation. During my visit for the purpose of investigation, I met different government officials including police personnel, local community leader and the local people. At the time of investigation while talking to the victims, I came to know about their sufferings being attacked by the others. I had different insight about their culture, life-style and social factors which was precious learning for me to understand the implications of law and human rights issues in a country like Bangladesh. This investigation task changed my outlook towards the relation between law and society. Then I got to know that studying law academically in law schools is, in much extent, devoid of practical implications of philosophy, politics, and economics and so on.
I also investigated about Rana Plaza disaster and RAB atrocity against college student, Limon. After competition of the visit, I had to prepare a report under the supervision of Commission’s chairman and the senior government official of the Commission for submitting to Bangladesh’s State Ministry. So, here I got the first lesson as to how to write a report for submitting to the government’s consideration; and I consider such learning very important for my future career. Moreover, seeing publication of mine with full credit by the Commission’s chairman added tremendous value in my resume; boosted me up high enough to undertake more such investigations in the days to come.
I believe one thing that internship opportunities are not limited to office settings only. From being a bird-keeping intern at a zoo to a horticulture intern at a theme park, all sorts of opportunities exist for motivated individuals and interested institutions or companies to enter into a mutually beneficial relationship. Besides offering internship, even some of these institutions provides with volunteering opportunities which gives the enthusiast learners more scope to learn. Doing an internship in a public or private organization like NHRC or Relief International or in a law chamber is always beneficial for law students in Bangladesh.
 Mohammad Mahdy Hassan is an LLM student at the University of Dhaka, and working as Program Associate at the Relief International. and has been volunteering as a street lawyer at ELCOP since 2011. He can be reached at: [email protected].