Future Lawyer Blog

From one Intern to Another… Intern! – David Williamson

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!

Jet off somewhere exciting? Credit: CAHairyBear

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.

[Internship opportunities with International Courts and Tribunals]

Moreover, should the internship go on long enough, you may even get the opportunity to learn a new language. In today’s international world – with firms merging with or entering new markets constantly – a second language, even a crude grasp, is a huge plus.

A good place to look is often in the NGO sector. Many charitable organisations take on interns, especially in the legal sector, and will, more often than not meet all the requirements The Hague refuses to do so. All but the issue of salary. However, there’s plenty of time to rake in the big bucks later on.

There are innumerable agencies offering ‘project’ style internships in the third world and developing countries. For example, Projects Abroad offers interning opportunities to those qualified in the legal sector across Asia and in many African nations.

Stick that foot right in that Door!

Large independent law firms in much of the US, across Europe and even increasingly in the Middle East and Asia also cater extensively to fresh, English speaking law graduates. In this instance the added incentive of the proverbial foot in the door presents itself beautifully, though, truth be told the prospect of networking is often more realistic. Meeting the right person or the person who knows the right person will go a long way to securing that important interview once your position comes to an end.

The Devil is in the Detail

However, don’t allow yourself to get bogged down with the details. Don’t forget, that’s where the devil is. An international internship position in any field will still add depth to your CV. If you can’t find yourself one in the legal field in which you strive to work, adapt yourself a tad. I have personally worked in Australia, Thailand, and Germany and in various places throughout the UK. Mainly interning. Granted, in that time I have not accrued a ton of money, but what I have gained is international insight into the career of my dreams. My CV now looks great. I have worked in a variety of positions from online copy-editing, magazine reporting, online marketing, content management and journalism positions. Even though I’m only now starting out my career in my chosen field, I have a strong dynamic background which reflects my character. I’ve also got a lot of the fear of being ‘tied down’ out of my system, and so can sit back happily in the office knowing I’m in it for the long haul, and not going to feel suffocated anytime soon.

If you’re considering following my advice, now is a great time to start looking as many companies will now be recruiting interns for the summer. In today’s frustratingly stubborn economy, it’s worth it just for the professional accolade. Once you begin, however, the experience will certainly make up for the rest.

Below are some career opportunities in law field
The Lawyer Jobs
Coles Solicitors Recruitment
IBA internships
UN internships
Projects Abroad: Law and Human Rights Volunteering
Internships in International Law

Guest Post by David Williamson who is a Marketing Executive at Coles Solicitors.

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