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Jack Haldane was employed as a legal intern with Deakin University's in-house legal team, the University Solicitor's Office (USO) in 2010. Jack shares about his experiences.
The journey to become a Legal Intern began when I saw the position offered in an e-mail from the Law School and applied. After braving interviews with staff from both the Law Faculty and Solicitor's Office I was successful in gaining the position.
My work experience background, before I began the internship, had been with Legal Aid, a Community Legal Centre and in a commercial firm where I worked in employment law. The opportunity to gain experience within an in-house legal team was something I had been very keen to do.
I was hoping to gain understanding of how in-house legal teams worked, gain real exposure to areas of law I had not previously worked in and continue to develop the skills I have been learning during my law degree.
The major distinction between the University Solicitor's Office and a regular law firm is that the Solicitor's Office only has one client, Deakin University. However, that one client is a huge and diverse organisation. This means that the legal matters that arise are varied, interesting and plentiful.
My role in the office is to assist the lawyers in responding to the different enquiries that find their way to the office. This has included providing research briefs, creating legal precedents for future agreements and reviewing contracts and providing draft advice.
Deakin also has an amazing array of internal policies, and much of my work has been to apply these policies to proposed contracts and ensure that the contract does not contravene any of the internal policies.
It has been very gratifying to be able to apply the theoretical knowledge I have accumulated during my studies in a real and meaningful way in the workplace. It has been a great opportunity to accumulate and develop the practical legal skills necessary for career in law.
I was privileged to have been given a large amount of responsibility which allowed me to experience the challenges of file management, responding to the changing needs of clients and to gain a greater understanding of the role that is played by the in-house lawyer.
I would like to sincerely thank the staff of the University Solicitor's Office for the friendly and supportive environment they created during my internship. Not only has it been a great place to work, but the staff have shown a genuine interest in my studies, providing assistance when I needed it.
If the opportunity arises, I encourage all law students to apply for the Legal Internship at University Solicitors Office. I have learnt so much here, and know that you would too.