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documenting my life, thoughts and tips, one ramble at a time...

Monday, August 08, 2016

Interning- Is it worth it?

Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights
Hello fellow blawyers (blogging lawyers), aspiring lawyers, and the rest of you kind souls that have taken the time to read my post, welcome. So you want work experience in International Human Rights Law but you've never been given the opportunity to gain valuable work experience, because you don't have experience, sound familiar? Then this post is for you.

From September 2014 to October 2015, after having navigated a three person interview, I had secured my first ever internship I was officially a Legal Intern at The AIRE Centre a Human Rights charity that specialises in utilising European Union Law and the European Convention on Human Rights in order to protect individual rights and civil liberties.

I have never felt more comfortable in a position as I did with this charity. From my interview, to my first day at the office everyone was friendly and made me feel welcome. I even had the opportunity to speak with the founder of the organisation on my first day! 

During my time at The AIRE Centre my area of focus was primarily in the rule of law in the countries of the Western Balkans. I specialised in areas of fair trial, detention, torture, and discrimination assisting in the capacity building of Judiciaries and legal reform processes. I have drafted European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case summaries for publication on The AIRE Centre‘s Human RightsLegal Bulletin, this database is a legal tool used by clients such as Judges, Legal Practitioners and experts from the Balkans to help them understand and apply the ECHR by making case law, summaries and overviews of the convention available in local languages. As part of the internship, myself and other interns had the opportunity to visit the European Court of Human Rights, we sat in the Grand Chamber in FG v Sweden, we had a personal talk from Ledi Bianku Albanian ECtHR Judge and due to the timing of the trip we visited the Strasbourg Christmas Markets. On top of my trip to Strasbourg, as I was an intern on the Western Balkans Project, I had the opportunity to travel to Belgrade for an annual ECHR seminar where the legal research I had conducted and the training materials I had contributed towards, having been authorised by my Legal Supervisers, were used as learning material for Serbian Judges, Practitioners and Lawyers.

There are always concerns about the exploitation of interns aka coffee makers, photocopying personnel or as one article stated, an Associate's personal dry cleaning assistant, but I am thankful that my time at The AIRE Centre did not fall into any of these categories. My internship at times was challenging, very hands on and I learnt a lot about the need for countries to work together in order to build a society that is safer and more conscious to the human rights of its citizens.

After struggling for nearly four months to find my first relevant work experience I genuinely believe this internship helped me to secure my current job as a Paralegal within a law firm that specialises in global criminal law, public law & human rights. I developed my legal research skills as well as the ability to summarise complex legal arguments into easily digestible written pieces.

So to all you fresh faced graduates, to those of you who are currently unemployed or are seeking to find that first time internship in order to pursue a career in law stay positive and stay patient your opportunity might just be round the corner! For the latest legal internships have a search on Charity Jobs or visit The AIRE Centre's recruitment page they're currently recruiting for a Western Balkans Intern.

Wishing you the best of luck- please leave a comment or get in touch if you have any questions.

Love,

Rosh xo




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