By Jinwen Feng, Juris Doctor (JD) Program Student

Aiming to start a career in commercial law, I deeply appreciate the significance of having real work experience, including internships, before entering the industry. But as an international student, I struggled to find any opportunity on a land that I was new to. 

The Asia-Pacific Pathway held by CIBEL and Herbert Smith Freehills offered me direct access to top-tier work experience and first-class training. The program came to my attention through UNSW Law newsletter when I was about to finish the first year of my Juris Doctor degree, and I did not hesitate at all to apply for it because of the reputation of the firm. 

I was surprised by the effort put in by CIBEL and the firm from the beginning of the application processThe application itself was a way of learning for me, and I was very much supported by lawyers and HR staff during the whole process. 

I luckily proceeded to the end of the selection and was offered a place in the program. Even though having to be postponed to Term 2 break, the program still took place on a work-from-home basis with the effort and collaboration of the firm and I was allocated to Project team. 

As a short-term intern, I was treated equally with any other employees and received a working laptop and one-to-one IT training, during which I witnessed how prudent and efficient Herbert Smith Freehills is. I also got a caring buddy from Projects team, who was ready to answer any of my questions and helped me to thoroughly understand the work they do. 

Of course, one of the most important features of the program is to show the strong interdependence of the Asia-Pacific legal market and the firm’s leading role in it, for which purpose I had the honour to attend meetings with partners and lawyers from various HSF offices and have in-depth discussion on the latest legal trends with them. 

Based in Sydney, I was also twice invited to the office at 161 Castlereagh Street where I had a great view of Hyde Park and the harbour. Throughout my two weeks, I not only gained foundation legal skills, including memorandum drafting, but also sharpened my acumen regarding the global operation of law. 

The strong connection between the emerging markets in Asia and the developed market of Australia was originally one of good reasons that brought me to UNSW, and this program offered me much deeper insights into what is happening at the frontline of legal market and what can global-minded UNSW law students do to play a part in this everchanging industry. I definitely recommend future UNSW students who are interested in the Asia-Pacific market to apply for this program. CIBEL along with Herbert Smith Freehills will offer you the best experience to boost your career with their top expertise.