01 Feb Law & Order: London Style
Nestled in the trendy suburb of Shoreditch, where the streets are lined with endless cafes and authentic English pubs, it is quite easy to miss the brick entrance to the my office. What appears to be a humble blue door (unfortunately not the same one as Hugh Grant’s from Notting Hill), is actually the gateway to a law firm that provides an extensive range of legal advice and services to hundreds of clients. My firm has two buildings, directly opposite each other, and I have been placed in the employment department. Typical issues that this sector deals with involve employer/employee disputes, unfair dismissal claims and concerns with redundancies.
A typical day in the firm involves the partners taking phone calls, replying to never-ending emails, meeting with clients and writing up a range of documents to give as advice to their clients. Every day is completely different, from conducting legal research for a new case to hand-delivering mail to other firms, however this ensures that I am constantly alert and gaining a lot of practical experience.
Whilst the law is different in England and Australia, the fundamentals are similar. Several components of Australian law have been inherited from Britain and there are obvious cross-overs between numerous concepts. Despite conducting research and completing legal tasks using British law, I definitely think that I can apply the underlying knowledge when I return to university.
I have found that there are several similarities and differences between my internship experience and what I have learnt at university. The main similarity I have discovered is the heavy emphasis on legal research and the identical method used to discover information needed for a certain topic or case. Nonetheless, employment law evolves constantly and the law is often out-dated within a few years due to the never-ending changes in demand for greater workers’ rights. This means that learning from a textbook (as we do at university) is made obsolete very quickly and lawyers must be open to change and adapting their skills and knowledge.
The most fascinating aspect about interning in the employment department is learning about and understanding the law regarding my rights as a worker and what obligations an employer is expected to provide for me. Even though Employment Law is only offered as an elective at my university, I have definitely become more interested in it due to this experience.