As you probably know, the Grande Ecole du Droit program has two objectives: preparing students for an LL.M in their fourth year and also for their future arrival on the job market. Thus, our courses are very diverse: US Contract Law, Tort Law, American Constitutional Law, seminars on project management and public speaking… However, I quickly started asking myself: is our French and Anglo-American background really enough for us to study and work abroad? So I decided to apply for an internship in the United States.
I’m not going to lie you, having some family in Florida did help me get the job. But as I started working at Vukelja Law, I quickly realized I wasn’t going to just come in and rest my bones all day long. On my first day, the first thing I was asked to do after meeting everyone was negotiating my paycheck. Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing but it seems like it turned out alright.
Vukelja Law being a small heart-warming familial law firm of two lawyers, one paralegal and one secretary, I got acclimated very quickly and didn’t feel as much pressure as I did in my previous internship in France. Basically, my work consisted in legal research to answer the other party’s motions in current cases. I felt like I had a lot of working autonomy and the managing partner let me tag along during client meetings, depositions as well as in court. Seeing the American Legal system function through this internship was truly amazing and I still learn some very useful things from it by reading my notes.
As strange as it may sound, it was not too difficult to dive into American cases. Indeed, our second year program provides sufficient procedural and cultural knowledge so that any student of the Grande Ecole du Droit could understand the legal matters of a dispute. So from my experience, legal research is the same everywhere and our program is enough to survive in an American law firm. Nevertheless, this couple of weeks in Florida showed me just how much the legal practice is different between France and the US. Both systems could learn a lot from the other, even though I do believe that American lawyers probably enjoy their profession a lot more.