The GULS Law Review

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Internships: Looking Abroad

Written by Jamie Manson (2nd year LLB)

 

Last summer, I was fortunate enough to apply for and secure an internship for six weeks with Hong Kong based Dairy Farm Company which is part of the Jardine Matheson Group, founded in China by two Scotsmen, William Jardine and James Matheson, in 1832. The Jardines Group conglomerate operates all over Asia, as well as within the UK, with a particularly strong Scottish connection.

I began thinking about internships well in advance, knowing it is largely impossible to gain unless you are in final year, and even then it is a challenge. I was fortunate to have taken a year out between school and going to Glasgow so I thought that applying to something further afield in Asia would be a challenge. However, I saw Asia as an area of such dynamism and growth that any experience there could prove invaluable in the future.

Luckily I was placed with Dairy Farm’s in-house legal team and I arrived in Hong Kong in July 2013. It was a steep learning curve at first, with the world of mergers and acquisitions becoming more familiar during my stay, although I still found it to be a highly complex area by the time I left Hong Kong at the end of the summer. Working with a small in-house team was great. The breadth of issues they covered was extremely interesting; the consumer-focused areas were extremely litigious, as well as deals involving complex corporate regulatory frameworks in countries who have only recently opened up to foreign investment.  I enjoyed my time with Dairy Farm as I was given both an active role and responsibilities within the team, and from my inevitable mistakes I learnt a great deal about practical application of law, particularly in a commercial context. In some respects it felt as if I was getting a slice of a traineeship.  The Dairy Farm Company definitely puts a great deal of effort into making an intern’s experience one of benefit to the intern and also as a means of experiencing the intense working lifestyle which living in Hong Kong entails.

Throughout the whole experience, it became increasingly clear that international experience – whether it be study abroad or travelling – is extremely important in promoting one’s employability in the globalised world.  I was struck by how important Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese were when conducting business in China. English may be the international language of commerce but Mandarin Chinese in particular will become an invaluable asset internationally due to the consumer driven nature of China. Furthermore, the profound and exciting changes in Asia make it a desirable place to pursue a career. I believe a degree from the University of Glasgow will place students in good stead to discover these opportunities through the many study abroad programmes it has available, granted the keen international outlook of the University.

Jardines has an excellent and highly competitive graduate trainee programme. You have the option of working for any of the group’s nine companies which span from retailing to mining and construction. The four-year programme is designed to create the next generation of business leaders.  It would be a highly lucrative career for the business-minded with a law degree, being a perfect starting point to pursue a career in commerce.

It is extremely hard to secure an internship, yet playing to your strengths and looking in the right places away from more competitive channels dramatically increases the likelihood of gaining one.

 

 

A Day in the Life of...

 

 

Teresa Wong, 3rd seat trainee solicitor
CMS Cameron McKenna LLP

Current department: Property, planning and construction

Departments to date: (1) Disputes and (2) corporate restructuring and insolvency (London)

University: Strathclyde

Degree and class: LLB and French, First class honours

8:30am

After a brisk walk along Princes Street into the office, I catch up briefly with my team before checking my emails, responding to any urgent enquiries and jotting down a to-do list for the day.

8:45am

I continue with a due diligence exercise on a portfolio of pubs across the UK which our client is acquiring. There have been discussions overnight amongst our corporate team in London which I catch up on. I update our internal spreadsheet detailing the outstanding documents in respect of the Scottish pubs. I then continue reviewing titles and property searches, raising enquiries with the seller’s solicitors and completing reports on title for each pub.

10am

I catch up with the other trainees over breakfast rolls (a Friday treat in the Edinburgh office). We chat about our plans for the weekend and the upcoming trainee ball.

10:30am

I return to my desk to an urgent email from our London real estate team requesting a copy of a Scottish lease. A simple search online shows it has (thankfully!) been registered at the Books of Council and Session. I order it and update the team.

11:15am

I have been assisting on a wind farm project where we act for the developer. In advance of a conference call with our client, I discuss with the partner the issues and outstanding points we will raise during the call.

12 noon

I attend the conference call in relation to the wind farm. We run through some technical aspects of the option agreement and lease. The landowner raises several queries in relation to the next stage of the process. We direct and discuss with our client and the landowner the relevant provisions in the legal documents which safeguard both parties’ positions.

The call then turns towards the logistics of the completion meeting which I will be leading next week. This is an exciting and rewarding part of the project when months of hard work come to a head. We discuss the mechanics of finalising documents and transferring funds. All parties leave the call with a revised to-do list and a fresh dose of enthusiasm with the deal closing in a few days time. 

1pm

I catch a taxi with some of my colleagues to a local primary school where we run a paired reading programme. It provides a fun break and is a bit of an occasion to be a big kid again!

2:15pm

After lunch, I return to a matter on which I have been working closely with our banking team. The property is a high class hotel in Edinburgh in which our banking client holds a vested interest. The landlord’s solicitors have reviewed and accepted my comments on a minute of extension and variation of lease. I begin drafting our report which succinctly sets out the main amendments to the current lease.

4pm

I attend a training session on adjudication and construction contracts. It’s a great insight into a contentious area and entertaining to hear some of the more colourful stories of adjudication!

5:15pm

I have been tasked with organising a drinks event for our renewable energy clients. I liaise with our design centre to finalise the invitation and get final sign-off from the partner.

6pm

I tie up a few loose ends in preparation for the week ahead. I have a chat with my team about our plans for the weekend before heading to the pub with the rest of the office for some well deserved Friday drinks!

Getting a Job

CMS Cameron McKenna Prize

July 8, 2013

 

The GULS Law Review is already looking to be a hugely worthwhile venture, and now we have even more reason to be excited about it. We have partnered up with CMS Cameron McKenna to offer you the chance to work for them by being published in the GULS Law Review. 

The author of the best academic submission from Glasgow University, selected by CMS Cameron McKenna themselves from the final printed copy of the Law Review, will gain automatic entry into the assessment centre for their summer placement scheme for Summer 2014 in their Edinburgh office. Should you be successful in obtaining a summer placement after meeting the firm, you will receive an interview for a traineeship there starting in 2016.

The CMS Cameron McKenna Summer Placement Scheme is by far one of the best on the market. They are particularly keen to support the members of the Glasgow University Law Society and this opportunity is truly one of a kind. 

This is an chance to show the firm what you can do. Showcase the skills you have that are perfect for CMS; display your ability to talk about interesting legal issues in a clear and concise manner. We aren't looking for huge, flowery pieces of work. Just let us know you own opinion on a legal issue or a case in no longer than 2,000 words and you are in with a chance at winning this prestigious prize. The winner of the prize will be announced at our champagne publication reception in February.

To learn a bit more about what the firm offers in the Summer Placements, have a look here

 

 

As part of the terms and conditions of this agreement, only students that meet the minimum requirements for graduate schemes will be given to CMS for consideration. These requirements are: 320 UCAS points at higher/advanced higher, on track to achieve a 2:1 degree and able to start a traineeship in 2016.

 

Make Me a Lawyer!: Applying for Traineeships

July 1, 2013

Applying for Traineeships

written by the GULR team

Can you believe you are at this stage already? Seems like only yesterday you wandered into the Boyd Orr as a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first year ready to become the next Elle Woods. The world after law school need not be so daunting though, so to help we have compiled this quick guide into applying for traineeships.

The 5 Step Process to Applying for Traineeships

 1. Decide Where

The first thing to ask yourself is what type of law you would like to practice when you leave University.  There are thousands of firms out there and this is the best way to decide which ones you should apply to. Check out websites like the Legal 500 and Chambers Guide who will give you the best guide as to what firms are the best at what you want to do. You can also find our partners here. Most firms are split into Commercial or Private Client (some do both, others are even more specialised) so it’s good to have an idea of what you would be best at to ensure the best applications. You also need to look into when these firms recruit and ensure you are at the right stage of the degree; many firms recruit 2 years in advance (when you are going into 4th year of the LLB), some take on 1 year in advance (when you are starting the diploma) and some recruit quite close to the start date (when you are almost finished the diploma) so make sure you don’t miss out on some of the early ones. 

2. Do Your Research

It isn’t possible to do too much research into the firm you apply to. Once you have decided which ones you would like to work for, read about them from every angle you can think of; their website, legal newspapers and blogs, major cases/clients they were involved with etc. It’s really important that if they have open days or other events running (you can see some of the Glasgow ones here) make sure to go - most of these events have employees of the firm in attendance and networking from the inside is a great way to get your application noticed. Most forms will inevitably bring the question of ‘why do you want to work for us?’ and this is where you really have to showcase how much you know about them and how your skills fit into what they need at the firm. You will also need this research should you get to interview stage, so it is good to have!

3. Showcase Yourself! 

This is a very west-of-Scotland problem but it needn’t be. We Glaswegians are awful with bigging ourselves up, but the chances are you’ve done loads to be proud of throughout the years! If you are filling in an application form, remember to have a copy of your CV beside you to ensure you get everything you need from it. This is one of the small number of times in life where you can discuss all of your achievements and tell people just how awesome you are - so make the most of it! Just make sure that it is all relevant to the job (as impressive as your beer bar yard-of-ale was, probably not appropriate for a job application!). 

4. Take Your Time

Give yourself plenty of time to fill in the application - don’t leave it until the deadline or your application is unlikely to be the best it could be. Ensure there are no grammatical or spelling mistakes, and that you have the correct firm’s name and spelling each time you mention them (don’t laugh, we have heard horror stories about this!). Print it out and read it away from the computer, and even get a parent or friend to read over it for you. Put the time in and it will really show through

5. Waiting

Waiting on a response can feel like years on end, but you will probably find that by the time you are finished your first batch of applications the deadline for the second lot are approaching quickly. Don’t worry if it takes a while for firms to get back to you, they are going through loads of forms and this does take some time. If it is a ridiculously long period of time, feel free to e-mail the HR department who will look into it for you. As a side note to this, don't beat yourself up if you get a rejection - there are so many factors in the selection process that it is difficult to know exactly why other candidates were selected. Just pick yourself up and apply for a new lot of firms. The entire process is time consuming, but hopefully worth it. If you do happen to get some spare time, remember to study!

This year the GULS are going to run 'Make Me a Lawyer!' - an event in Freshers Week for non-freshers to come and talk to older students about these types of problems. We will provide free drinks and pizza and you can come along and ask any questions you need answered. Keep your eyes on our events page for more details. 

 

This Post is the first in a line of employability blogs we will be writing over the year. Keep your eyes peeled for tips for applying for summer placements, the job interview, psychometric tests, writing the best legal CV, getting work experience, preparing for exams and tackling the awkward interview questions!

 

Comment below with your experiences of applying for traineeships.