For professional and public internships, search the corporate websites, Handshake, Badger Bridge or the Student Job Center for updated job openings. When I started at Murfett Legal, I was very upset. I was really surprised at how competent the people who work there are. It was hard for me to understand that I was still just a student and that this whole process was supposed to be a learning experience and that it was normal for me to feel that. Everyone at Murfett Legal has gone to great lengths to help me use this learning opportunity in the most productive way possible, whether it is asking the team to explain how litigation works and allowing me to participate in conference calls and meetings, or a hearing for a special leave application in the High Court of Australia. I was studying for LSAT and applying to law school when I received an email from an administrator at my alma mater. The email should provide information about the different internship opportunities. When I came across the description of the Higbee & Associates intern, I was very excited. I felt like I had found my perfect match. The only concern I had was that I had graduated from the university several years ago and wanted to make sure they accepted non-student interns. I emailed Brooke with my concerns and, to my delight, they did. I applied immediately and started in a few weeks.
In-house litigation positions are less common, although some larger firms hire litigators who have experience in practices such as antitrust, intellectual property, commercial litigation, etc. During my articling, I also observed that an in-house litigator performs completely different functions than an external consultant. In-house counsel do not write briefs or argue in court – it is the domain of the lawyers of the firm that hired the firm. Instead, the in-house lawyer conducts internal investigations to uncover relevant facts, directs the strategy of the case, and provides commentary on false oral arguments or draft documents. As one lawyer told me, in-house litigators have a better overview and always consider the interests of the company. Ultimately, the experience with the human element and leadership of my immigration lawyers and case managers at Higbee and Associates left me with an indelible impression on what it means to practice law, what it means to be truly invested in others, what it really means to be a lawyer and not just a problem. Rule, analysis and conclusion. I remember feeling very comfortable from the beginning.
Brooke was very friendly and she felt like she cared not only about our success as interns, but also about our happiness. The entire firm seems very interested in not only having a great legal team, but also making sure everyone loves their job and work environment. Insight was key – I realized that the purpose of the articling was not to be perfect or to find answers to every question – it was for me to work hard, to learn what law school does not teach students, and to acquire the skills of a lawyer through trial and error and feedback from practicing lawyers. Understanding this aspect of the summer experience was crucial, as challenges remained. Eventually, I was able to learn from my mistakes instead of dealing with them. It also made me decide to keep trying – sometimes several times – until I was able to provide a proper work result to a hiring lawyer. The result was an improvement in my research and writing skills through a process of continuous learning and feedback. As my comfort level increased, I was able to complete tasks faster and more efficiently. For finding nonprofit internship and volunteer opportunities, Idealist is a great resource that allows you to search by interest and location. My conclusion was that a lawyer can focus more on business decisions. I have also noticed that as many lawyers move into a supervisory role, they take on new responsibilities related to human resource management and business operations. Stephanie Zaremba`s blog post shares her experience transitioning from a legal position to an operational and strategic role in her company.
The main differences between internal and external consulting roles stem from the fact that in-house lawyers work for one client – their company, while external lawyers juggle several. Some lawyers I`ve spoken to have liked the fact that their client has stayed the same because they can delve deeper into the business model, trends and challenges in a particular sector, and the intersection between business and law. Many of these lawyers have also described themselves as business-oriented or entrepreneurial and enjoy helping the business grow by anticipating and minimizing legal risks. On the other hand, some remembered working for different clients and learning in various industries, or found that their official colleagues had returned to the life of the company for this reason. I feel like I`ve gained a lot of invaluable skills working at Murfett Legal. Not necessarily just on the principles of the law, but on how the law works.