So you’ve recently graduated, or on the track to this year. You’ve studied law and are eager to get the ball rolling on your future career. Unfortunately, you’re entering into a level of competition in the work-place that is unrivalled by generations past. Nowadays, your CV needs to be perfect, concise, relevant and professional; but also engaging. You need qualifications alongside work experience, and most importantly, you need to spend the next few years working hard to secure the position you so desperately seek.
Tomorrow is promised to No-one!
Law is a very serious game, and too often those engaged in it forget that they are, in fact, not just a body of legal utility. The seriousness of the profession – the stress, the hard work – it can be a difficult thing to adjust to. Though, the rewards are certainly worth the toil, why don’t you weigh up your options and consider ways to get professional experience, life experience and qualifications all while utilising the most important characteristic freshest graduates have at their disposal: Youth.
International internships are a great way to fulfil all of the above criteria and have a great time in doing so! You can earn money, travel, meet new people and learn things about the world and yourself, whilst in the meantime still maintaining the thread you want to pursue in the future.
Many legal practices take on international interns, and, if you were to secure one you would have a stand-out, unique addition to your CV. Something that’s certain to put you ahead of the curve in the job market.
Now, don’t be fooled, an internship is not a free ticket to travelling abroad. They are hard work and can provide little in the way of immediate benefits. For example, The Hague is currently recruiting for a round of interns through a cross section of their legal departments. However, none are paid positions. The interns are informed from the beginning that they must meet all personal and financial requirements themselves. Moreover, accommodation is not provided, travel is not paid for and visas are requirements are the responsibility of the intern, not The Hague. However, thanks to the beauty that is the EU we can now travel freely through member countries, and take up residence and employment without the need for a visa or permit. So, whereas working at the Hague for free may sound like a bit of a raw deal, it is, in fact, a great opportunity for fresh graduates with a bit of money saved up to open their wings and get their first taste of a professional legal environment.
Life after University
After completing my law degree at the University of Manchester in 2004, the pressure was on to decide which path I wanted to take: whether I wanted to be a barrister or a solicitor or whether I even wanted to pursue a career in law. However, the decision was not so tough for me as I had made my decision about the profession I wanted to go into when I was aged just 14. I knew I wanted to be a barrister and it was my love of advocacy that drew me to the profession.
A Pupillage in London
As soon as I finished my law degree, I applied to do the Bar Vocational Course (BVC - now the BPTC) at The Inns of Court School of Law in London (now The City Law School). Before I had completed my BVC, I had already been offered a pupillage at 14 Grays Inn Square. Based in the centre of London, this was a predominantly family law set with a strong reputation in all aspects of family law. As I knew how difficult it was – and still is – to obtain a pupillage, the assurance that I had already obtained a pupillage gave me an incentive to work even harder during the BVC.
Moving back North
The hustle and bustle and the fast pace of London life is something I will never forget. It was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and I feel it helped me to grow as an individual. Though I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of living and working in London, I soon began to realize how increasingly expensive the city was. I decided to return to my hometown of Manchester and continue my career as a barrister there. In Manchester, I joined Kenworthy’s Chambers, one of the most sought after barrister’s chambers in the North of England and a leading set in Immigration and Asylum Law. I continued to practice in Family Law and also added Immigration and Asylum Law to my practice.
State Violence and the Responsibility to Protect: the role of the international community – Tiffany Jeffery
Genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity; these four issues are arguably the four most central problems present in the humanitarian world. Together they have led to a collective international agreement accepted by the United Nations Member States: the Outcome Document of the 2005 World Summit, in the hope of preventing mass atrocities. On Tuesday November 15th 2011, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), hosted an event to examine and discuss the manner in which the Responsibility to Protect, or R2P, was agreed upon at the United Nations General Assembly in 2005, the implementation of R2P at an international level, and the future challenges of the concept of R2P.
The lecture, titled; ‘State violence and the Responsibility to Protect: the role of the international community’ was given by Sir Adam Roberts president of the British Academy and Professor of International Relation at Oxford University, Ignacio Llanos, Counsellor of the Embassy of Chile in the United Kingdom, Dr Chaloka Beyani, senior lecturer in Law at LSE and UN special rapporteur on the Human Rights or Internally Displaced Persons. The diverse backgrounds of each of the three speakers, ranging from the first hand experience of Ignacio Llanos to the academic perspective of Sir Adam Roberts, provided for a dynamic and informative lecture. Each speaker offered an extensive, as well as, distinctive analysis on the theory of R2P in an attempt to conceptualize this term within the broader context of today’s political realities.
Have a list of random useful stuff I've picked up on my web wandering this week.
Some snappy Networking tips from Lawyer2b editor Husnara Begum to get you thinking about how you might come across at such an event.
Interested in international secondments within a law firm? Listen to a free webinar from Eversheds on Monday 25th July. Their blurb:
Hear about trainees experiences of completing international secondments to our Paris corporate and public international arbitration teams and our company commercial teams in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Trainee will provide a first hand account of working and living in different jurisdictions.
Note you need to register in advance.
What skills do your lecturers think you should be developing? Check out some quick 'ask the man on the street' style video clips filmed at January's Learning in Law Conference (attended by me!). Here's the one featuring City's own Marcus Soanes:
Kamika and Candice are international students on the GELLB (Graduate Entry LLB programme) at The City Law School. In this interview they talk about their experience of studying at City, being in London and about the organisation they're a part of at City: The Canada and Americas Law Society (CALS).
They also share their top tips for students and give some helpful advice to those international students thinking about coming to London, and to City.
Alex completed the LLM Media Law in 2008 and is now doing a PhD at City. His interview covers his thoughts on studying for an LLM and the experience of studying law in the UK.