After two years of legal studies, you can’t wait to put in practice during an internship what you have learnt. For your training, you have to decide whether you want to work in a law firm or a company. I did my internship in a company’s legal department.
Why would you choose to work in a company ?
Firstly, because I have always been interested in the way companies work, they do not have several clients, but the company is its own client with the problems attached to it. Then, by contrast with lawyers, in-house lawyers are not specialised into a specific field of law, they are confronted to problems related to a broad type of law, from Corporate Law to Energy Law, and Contract Law to Tax Law. Therefore, I was able, during my internship, to discover areas of law which are not taught by the University. Moreover, as you have to work in these fields that you have not yet studied, you need to be adaptable and know how to research your answers, which is very important to pursue your studies.
Thus, I have been able to discover the work of an in-house lawyer during my internship, thanks to my tutor who gave me the opportunity to work on almost every task he had. What occupied most of my time were contracts, reading contracts and answering the question of whether it is possible to sign them or if they needed to be changed. I also drafted some contracts. This task was really interesting, because you have to apply the conditions you have learnt during the year, but also know if a contract is balanced which is a more practical than legal approach.
In between, I also made some legal research. For instance, I made a note about regulated agreements, it was a very interesting topic because it shows the possible conflict of interests that may exist within a company between the interest of the executives and the company’s. And as Corporate Law is only taught during third year of Law school, I had no basic knowledge on the subject, which forced me to use the available resources.
To conclude, one could say that an internship before the third year is really useful, because in addition to putting into practice what you have learnt, it is also a great opportunity to wisely choose which specialty you want.
By Mayeul Lelièvre