X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
The demand for young lawyers with international experience grows every year. Georgetown University Law Center has helped to fill this need by providing the opportunity for students to work abroad through the International Internship Program. During the summer of 2002, 73 Georgetown students interned abroad with 69 different organizations — law firms, nongovernmental organizations, and corporate legal departments located in 25 countries on six continents. Approximately 70 percent of the internships each year have been in the private sector. This summer, for the first time in the program’s history, participant numbers were down slightly, as some students who had accepted internships later declined those opportunities because of concerns about SARS and the impact of the war in Iraq. Otherwise, the program has experienced continuous growth from its inception in 1995. Altogether, about 400 Georgetown alumni and students have interned abroad through this program, which is unique among law schools. Within the Law Center, student interest in international internships is extraordinarily high. This past spring, approximately 225 students submitted résumés, a substantial increase from the average of 160 in previous years. Newly accepted students often report that they chose to attend the Law Center over other schools because of this special program and Georgetown’s long-standing reputation in the international arena. Other law schools are paying attention to this program, and their students often inquire as to their eligibility, but the Law Center’s program is open only to Georgetown students. SECOND LANGUAGE REQUIRED In addition, the Law Center offers a Global Law Scholars Program designed to prepare students for practice that involves more than one legal system. Established four years ago, this program accepts approximately 15 students each year who have first been admitted to the law school, based on their prior academic record, second-language proficiency, and a demonstrated commitment to a career in international legal practice. These students are required to undertake at least one work experience that involves international legal practice. The internship program is designed for first-year students, though there is a small number of opportunities open only to law graduates. Sponsors have total discretion in this process — that is, they determine what year student they will sponsor, duration of the internship, remuneration (if any), types of assignments, and hiring criteria. The overwhelming majority of these internships require proficiency in a foreign language. After students rank order up to 15 choices, résumés are provided to sponsors, who use various methods for selecting their intern. Many make selections on the basis of the résumé alone, while others conduct telephone interviews, and a small number ask a Washington colleague to interview students for them. Approximately 60 percent of the sponsoring organizations provide some type of remuneration — a very few provide round-trip airfare, others pay interns approximately $1,500 per month, and still others cover daily transportation costs and/or provide lunch. The public sector sponsors, which account for about 30 percent of the total, do not provide remuneration, so participating in the program can be a costly endeavor for students, most of whom graduate with a very heavy debt burden. I tell students that the internship is an investment in their future career, as it certainly has been for many graduates. Nonetheless, since the stipend received by most interns, including many interning in the private sector, is minimal, students need to know ahead of time that they are likely to do no better than break even. Happily, each year a small number of our student interns receive funding from the Equal Justice Foundation. Finding additional sources of funding is always on my wish list. SUMMER JOBS Interns working abroad have been involved in a wide range of activities, and some are given a surprisingly high level of responsibility. For example: • One student worked on an $18 million joint venture between an American company and a Latin American company to set up a string of universities. The intern was responsible for drafting the dispute resolution provision of the agreement, which was bifurcated into provisions for business decision disputes and for legal disputes. The intern set up a system with several levels of mandatory negotiations among the board, management, and shareholders, then provided for mediation with the assistance of a third party. If these steps failed to resolve legal claims, the parties would submit them to binding arbitration; if they failed to resolve differences on business decisions, they would resort to a buy-out clause. “The partner I worked for had never seen such a provision in a 50/50 joint venture agreement before,” says the student, “but it was legally acceptable and exactly what the clients wanted.” • Another intern developed a curriculum and taught a course on U.S.-style legal writing to firm lawyers in Costa Rica. The firm was so impressed that it subsequently sent the intern to offices in Nicaragua and Guatemala to teach the same course. • One intern spent a summer working with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and calls the experience “phenomenal”: “I was able to work on very substantive legal issues involving international humanitarian and human rights law, and had a personal and direct role working with refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries. In addition, through the program, I was able to meet many diplomats, journalists, and humanitarian workers. Thanks to my time in that office, I also had two offers for full-time employment with UNHCR in different offices around the world, and have followed up on those opportunities since then.” • A student interning in a corporate in-house legal department was told that a former agent of a recently acquired subsidiary alleged various breaches of contract. “I conducted the research and coordinated meetings with our European and Asian managers,” says the student. “After I brought my findings back to the general counsel, he asked me to draft a response that could be sent out on behalf of the very highest levels” of corporate management. Sponsors have been equally enthusiastic about the program and the interns with whom they have worked. Several organizations, in fact, have sponsored an intern each summer. Three students have been asked, and each agreed, to postpone their graduation by a semester to continue working with the sponsor until the end of the calendar year. One was interning for a nongovernmental organization, one for an in-house legal department, and one for a law firm. CAREER LEADS In addition to having more extensive responsibility than most of their first-year classmates, interns begin their second year of law school with demonstrated, hands-on international work experience. This evidence of commitment to, and interest in, international legal practice has greatly helped former interns seeking summer and permanent positions. One 2001 graduate, who practices in New York for a firm with offices throughout the world, says, “My internship, combined with the Florence program [a Georgetown-sponsored summer study abroad], was the single most exciting and rewarding part of my entire law school career. Without a doubt, it changed my perspective and convinced me of my desire to work internationally.” As international opportunities expand, the experience and contacts made through the International Internship Program often lead to positions abroad when interns graduate. Yet international internships are not summer associate positions; they are not intended to lead to permanent positions. The subject surprisingly has never come up — both sponsors and students seem to understand that fact. Nonetheless, one alumna, who interned at a small Italian law firm during the summer after her first year, is today an associate practicing in Italy with the same firm, now part of a larger organization. Another alumnus worked in Mexico City for four or five years with the organization where he had interned through the Georgetown program. And many interns have been told that “the door is always open” to them should they be interested in returning to their summer employer following graduation. Georgetown University Law Center is committed to this program and hopes to make it stronger every year. Marilyn Tucker is director of the International Internship Program and director of Alumni Career Services at Georgetown University Law Center.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.