I chose to take a legal internship in Beijing to gain insight into the Chinese legal system as well as to develop my professional skills in China, as it has become the 2nd largest economy in the world, overtaking the UK, France and Germany, and now Japan. I had obtained a Food Business Degree, Law Degree & LLM in Criminal Justice at University College Cork in Ireland, and I had previously completed an internship with Deutsche Bank in London where I gained international work experience and this internship proved invaluable when I went to Beijing. In Beijing I completed a two-month legal internship with a legal consultancy company. I decided to complete a legal internship in order to compare and contrast the Irish legal system with the Chinese legal system.
On my first day it was reassuring to know that Paul Johansen and Li Jing from the CRCC Asia team would be at the airport to greet all the new interns. My initial impression of Beijing was that it was an amazing, vibrant and dynamic city and the hotel where the interns live is situated in an excellent location, as it is close by to numerous bars and restaurants. When you arrive in China, CRCC Asia organises an induction day and Mandarin language classes. The induction day is presented in a very professional manner. It is informative and interesting as CRCC Asia provides a succinct overview of Chinese Business Culture and Chinese etiquette. At the end of the induction day all of the interns received their own unique business cards, which are a novel idea and prove to be incredibly useful at networking events. The Mandarin language class was very challenging, but it was enjoyable and I learned some useful phrases. The CRCC Asia team had also organised a welcome banquet for that evening which is a fantastic opportunity to converse with all of the other interns who are from all over the world.
On the first day of my internship, Li Jing from the CRCC Asia team introduced me to my supervisor, who then introduced me to the CEO. During my internship I was given a number of projects to work on. The first was to compare and contrast Intellectual Property Rights in China with Intellectual Property Rights in the United Kingdom. The project was challenging as I knew virtually nothing about Patents, Trademark and Copyright Law before I started my research, but I felt a great sense of achievement when I completed the project before the deadline and I had learned a vast amount about this complex area of law.
My internship was quite diverse and varied and I was even presented with the opportunity to lecture Chinese lawyers at 8 am every morning! At first this was very daunting, as I had no previous lecturing experience. I briefed Chinese lawyers on English contract law and English company law. I gained a vast amount of legal experience as a result of this project. I was given a certain amount of freedom when preparing my lecture notes and so I decided to incorporate my business degree into my lecture notes. I taught the lawyers a Harvard Management Course, which explained the meaning of business terminology concepts, used by businesses in the west. I explained how businesses currently operate in Europe. I was also tasked with preparing a marketing strategy exam for Chinese lawyers. There was a great sense of achievement on my behalf when the Chinese lawyers provided excellent academic answers as it became apparent to me that the lawyers understood all of the business concepts. I had learned the theory of business and the theory of law at university and as a result of the lecturing I got to experience how Chinese law operates in practice.
I spent two months in a legal environment full of highly educated and extremely motivated individuals who were perfectionists when it came to completing projects and reaching deadlines. From the start of my internship I was given high levels of responsibility and autonomy to work on interesting projects with the assurance that if I had any queries any one of my work colleagues would be eager to assist. My colleagues were all very friendly and everyone made a genuine effort to converse in English with me.
The internship has permitted me to develop my research, drafting and lecturing skills to a very high professional standard. It has also provided me with a valuable insight into Chinese law and it has been an incredible experience. CRCC Asia organises a number of events for interns to attend and these events are very sociable and enjoyable. They organise for interns to visit Peking University and this event is very interesting as interns get to converse with Chinese students. CRCC Asia have recently established new links with a migrant children’s’ charity in Beijing and as a result of this new link, interns are offered the unique chance to volunteer and teach migrant children art and sport. Working with the Migrant Children’s Foundation was my most rewarding cultural experience in Beijing.
My future objective is to join an international law firm. My internship helped with my technical legal knowledge whilst working as part of a professional team. The legal experience I gained in Beijing will definitely enhance my resume and I believe that the Beijing Internship Program has increased my chances of securing a legal career with an international law firm. As a result of participating in the CRCC Asia Internship Program I have made contacts that will help in my pursuit of fulfilling long-term career goals. I would definitely recommend the CRCC Asia Beijing Internship Program, especially if you like challenges and you would like to work in an interesting, diverse and cultural environment.