THE INDUSTRY IN LONDON
The UK has a long and prestigious legal tradition and London is the historic and current center of the English legal system. English law blends a unique mix of common law and statute and is renowned as being the model for many other legal systems. Whilst English law is different to Scottish law, or indeed to the law of any other country, it is enormously influential, and many other countries, including the USA, have legal systems based on English principles.
The social complexity of London also provides opportunities for students to examine aspects of justice, such as equality and prison reform. In addition to supporting local and national efforts, some not-for-profit organizations and charities target international or worldwide issues, allowing British influence on the global justice sector to exceed the small island’s borders.
|Many legal internship placements are only available to post-graduate law students or trainee solicitors and barristers. In the UK, a law degree is an undergraduate degree followed by on-the-job training for several years. American undergraduates will not have had the appropriate legal education to fulfill most available positions, and so should not expect to work at a level comparable to a US law student or British trainee.|
|Due to security restrictions and regulations, internship placements are not viable in law enforcement, forensics, or criminology agencies of any kind.|
Students who choose Legal & Justice Organizations may be placed in any of the opportunities below. If a particular sub-area catches your eye, let us know on your MyInternship form.
Justice & Human Rights Organizations
London is home to a number of not-for-profit organizations and charities which endeavor to support uphold human rights and improve access to justice for all. Missions and methods differ, but some examples include providing legal support to prisoners, ensuring access to education for children in war zones, and promoting oversight and transparency in government-led surveillance. Placements can be in organizations which provide services directly to those in need, lobby the government for change, or raise awareness through events and campaigns; many engage to some extent with all three. Potential tasks typically include fundraising, communications and marketing, event planning, research, and general administrative duties.
Legal Organizations (XX = Significant Relevant Experience Required)
Legal internships can include placements in governmental, private, and non-profit organizations. Students may be placed within a variety of areas, such as the legal department of a business, legal membership organization, a campaigning and advocacy group, or working with directly with legal practitioners. Such internships could see students assisting with project work, client cases, administration, drafting documents, communications, and research. Placements working with legal practitioners are extremely competitive and typically only available to students with previous experience in a legal organization.
REALITIES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Many legal internship placements are only available to post-graduate law students or trainee solicitors and barristers. In the UK, a law degree is an undergraduate degree followed by on-the-job training for several years. American undergraduates will not have had the appropriate legal education to fulfill most available positions, thus should not expect to work at a level comparable to a US law student or British trainee.
Whilst there are some opportunities to intern in the legal sector in London, the industry is extremely competitive. Previous experience is strongly preferred, so students looking to intern in this field should aim to apply to the program with at least one relevant professional experience on their CV. Students with no professional experience can still apply but should be aware that opportunities may be limited and so ready to accept a placement in their other industry choices.
A clean police check is required for most roles where a student will have access to case files or sensitive information. Students with previous criminal history, or history they do not wish to disclose to potential employers and the FIE Internship Team should carefully consider applying for a legal and justice internship.
- Previous experience in a legal or justice organization is strongly preferred
- A good understanding of the UK legal sector, which is very different from other countries, such as the US
- Applied knowledge and comprehension of legal terminology
- Attention to detail and ability to think critically
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills
- Sensitivity to the cases and subject matter they are working with
- Unquestionable professionalism and discretion in the workplace, especially when working with confidential or sensitive information
- Clean police check
Relevant academic experience. Applicable majors include Politics, Law, International Relations, Criminal Justice, Psychology, and Community Development.
TIPS AND TRICKS: SHOWING YOU'RE A STRONG CANDIDATE
- List all relevant experience on your CV – volunteer and unpaid experience count, too!
- Employers are interested in learning what attracts you to working in this sector, so spend some time discussing this in your personal statement. If it connects with future career goals, be sure to mention those.