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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 

Volunteers' Stories

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JAMES TAYLOR
British

Law Work Experience Internship in Cape Town, South Africa
         

I have gained a more unique experience of the legal profession. I have obtained invaluable experience in an international law firm that will stand me in excellent stead for my future career in the legal profession. I have been able to learn about the law in South Africa and although some of this is knowledge is really of only academic use as I will not need it back in England, I have further developed skills whilst being here that will be extremely useful wherever I work.

By working in the corporate department, I have gained significant experience into the commercial world and I believe that I will be a better solicitor for having this experience behind me. The best thing about this placement was working almost exclusively with the corporate department enabling me to really become part of their team and gain an excellent insight into the commercial world.

I have been very lucky to have been involved in some very high profile matters. I would definitely recommend this placement to others. It is an excellent opportunity to not only see more of the world and do something a little different before embarking on a career in the legal profession in England, but also to gain a more unique experience in the legal profession.

This placement would suit someone who, having completed their legal studies at university, wants to do something a little different before settling down into a full time job. This placement is perfect for someone who wants to travel and see more of the world but, at the same time, wants to learn more about the legal profession. I have very much enjoyed my time both working at the law practice and also my time in Cape Town ... Thank you for organizing everything for me.

Please can you describe a typical day?

There is no real typical day when working at a firm of attorneys as each day is different from the next. But my start time is 8.30am, then our lunch break is 12.45pm till 2.00pm and then we leave around 5pm. Throughout my day I usually do a bit of work for 2 or 3 different attorneys and I have spend my time almost exclusively in the corporate department. I might be given some research to do for a current matter, asked to proofread a contract or other document and suggest any alternations or improvement. If I am given research to do I am able to use the legal resources on the computer and I am also able to go to the library to use the paper resources.

I am generally available to the attorneys for research tasks or anything which they need some help with.

Examples of some of the work I have undertaken:

1. Research in relation to the procedures which need to be followed to carry out a certain transaction and obtaining precedent documents and forms in order to complete the transaction, eg setting up a company, transferring shares, time limits, the procedure to object to the Competition Commission for an certain industry becoming designated, banking/loan agreements.

2. General research to enable attorneys to obtain an overview of a specific area of the law, e.g. Competition law and exchange of information between competitor, competition law and recommended resale price, developments in the automotive industry, information concerning hire purchase agreements, minority shareholder protection.

3. Drafting of agreements, eg I spent a significant period of time helping to formulate a sponsorship agreement between a leading tobacco company and a non profit making organisation providing education courses. This document had to be very carefully drafted due to the law prohibiting the advertising of tobacco companies and, of course, the company wanted others to know that it was sponsoring these educational courses. I, therefore, had to examine the legislation and ensure that our agreement came within the law and I amended the agreement accordingly.

4. Case summaries to enable an advocate to understand the main reasoning in a judgement quickly.

5. Proof reading documents and suggesting appropriate amendments.

6. Picking up documents from the Court, other attorneys or a local company.

7. Generally being involved in the progress of a case and the discussions between a team of attorneys working on the same matter. Even if I was not able to give much input in a particular matter I very much appreciated just being able to listen into what they were discussing. This often lead on to some research that I could help them with.

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