International Legal Summer School – July 2011

Preparing for global practice – gaining an inside view

Students from across Europe attending the International Legal Summer School spent two weeks in Madrid looking at key aspects of global legal practice.

As part of the course, participants had the opportunity to discuss and debate practice issues with partners from leading global and independent Spanish law firms. Such “one-to-ones” enabling them to learn more about partners’ roles as well as to gain an insight into specialist areas of practice such as privacy, debt finance and the corporate elements of cross-border transactions.

“It was interesting to see lawyers in their working environment” (Spanish law graduate)

Students of the course have been invited to visit the local Madrid offices of top firms including Allen & Overy, Gómez-Acebo & Pombo, Herbert Smith and Uría Menéndez.

“It was really interesting to meet such experienced lawyers and to see them in their own working environment”, said Federico Macías, a Spanish law graduate, after talking to Steve Hess, a US Partner, and Charles Coward, a honorary Founding Partner at Uría Menéndez.

Partners at the firms had prepared presentations on hot legal topics that were followed by an interactive discussion about the current challenges of international legal practice.

David Wyles, an international banking and finance Partner, at the recently launched Spanish office of Herbert Smith focused on the development of the global economy and the challenges of doing business in emerging markets. A key role of the law firm lawyer, he emphasised, is to help companies adapt to changing business needs. “For an international lawyer, mastering the English language is the key to accompanying clients around the world,” he stated.

Participants at the International Legal Summer School are therefore demonstrating a clear understanding of the importance of developing both their commercial awareness and of refining their language skills, in order to better launch their legal careers says Sarah Porch, Course Director. “Providing expert legal services goes far beyond merely knowing the law, it also requires strong commercial and personal skills.”

“Now I know how to prepare for an interview” (4th year law student, Lisbon)

The aim of the two week Summer School was to offer a participants a more practical awareness of the demands of international legal practice, and to present a more realistic insight in the requirements of the law firm recruitment process. “I now have a better understanding of what practice will really be like, what law firms are looking for, and how to prepare for future interviews” said Francisco, a final year law student from Portugal.

For more information on past courses please click here.