May 2014, panic time. It’s end of year one at the Grande Ecole du Droit. The results are just in. I remember getting the email announcing we could collect our grades, I remember queuing (or getting in the line, as the Americans would say) to get mine. It turned out, at my great relief, that I was good enough to stay. That was a relief: the last thing I wanted to do was to re-sit any of the exams. Why? Obviously I wanted to be on holiday, but I also wanted to get a job.
Emma (second from the right) with other second year Grande Ecole du Droit students at the integration day – September 2014
I have to admit I had gone to a few Parisians shop with my CV late-winter, however I was turned down by all because I was too early and/or only wanted to work for a month (most employers need students available for two whole months). I had summer plans, so working for two months was not an option. This brings us back to the difficulty of receiving my exam results: no re-sits for me, but also no job (it had do be one or the other). Panic: I had put research for a job aside while working for the finals. As a student, let’s be honest, money is an issue. Of course, if a lawyer had offered me a work placement, I would have accepted with great delight, even without being paid! However, this was not the case. I needed a summer job, and paid by preference. As any desperate person would do in a similar situation, I started contacting family members …
Work placements are particularly important during studies, especially if you are attending the “Grande Ecole du Droit” because we are supposed to do an LL.M during our fourth year of study. Attending an LL.M that early is a real stroke of luck because most students doing an LL.M are older. The LL.M is often seen as a “bonus” year, and students sometimes hesitate about doing it or not because they have already done five or six years of study. Our advantage compared to them is the fact that our LL.M is included in our further education, which means we do not loose a year in the field of our studies to do it because we are doing an LL.M while we are graduating a Master 1 in Business and Financial Law from the University Paris-Sud XI.
During the second year of study, it is vital to do a work placement during the summer holidays (if we pass our year without catching up) that are from the middle of May until the middle of September. During my Christmas holidays, I began to think about it. At the same time, an older student from the “Grande Ecole du Droit” published an advertisement explaining he was working with the AFJE (the “Association Française des Juristes d’Entreprise”) and that the communication department’s manager was looking for a trainee during the summer holidays. This job advertisement was aimed at students in their third our firth years of study. Nevertheless, Gunoi Choi (the student working with them) had spoken about the “Grande Ecole du Droit” during his meetings with the AFJE and it pleased them so much so that they agreed to recruit a second year student as a trainee.