My name is Junzhuo Shi, one of the two students who participated in the CIBEL program this year. I am enrolled in the Juris Doctor program and had already finished two years’ study by the end of 2019. This should be my third year but unfortunately, I have taken program leave due to the COVID-19.
I have noticed this program by email at the end of last year. The idea to get engaged in one of the leading international firms is very attractive as we all know that vocation schemes and clerkships in such firms are very highly sought after.
At that time, to be honest, I hoped that such a program could improve my resume and assist me in clerkship applications this year (if I can be admitted). In the meantime, I wanted to know how my language skills and Chinese background can contribute to those firms in practice. I knew if I could have conversations with the lawyers whose practice extends to business or clients in China, I would understand more about my potential and abilities in the market.
The application lasted more than a month (from the initial stage to the final round). The round I enjoyed the most was the final interview with HSF’s lawyers and partners. I was five minutes late (negotiating with the security guard who blocked the building under COVID-19 policies). However, no one blamed me. Actually, they were all very understanding and down-to-earth. We shared lots of jokes on Australian case laws, and discussed the complicated China law system and the differences between the civil law system and the common law system.
For this program, I was able to work in the HSF Beijing Office as restrictions had lifted. Basically, my daily activity included two parts: one was to participate in all skype meetings and webinars which were scheduled in advance; then I also needed to complete the work assigned to me by the Energy team on daily basis.
I felt that everyone in the office was very genial and welcoming. There was always someone around who was willing to offer help no matter I was having trouble with my work or just wondering how to use the coffee machine in the pantry. Particularly, I was very grateful that the Energy team in Beijing had tried to get me engaged in their practice as much as possible, even though I was staying for only two weeks. I still remember that for one virtual meeting, my laptop was having trouble with the sound. My buddy Jie Li offered her laptop to me and let me join the meeting together with her. After the meeting, she also spent some time clarifying the practice of an international law firm and kindly shared her suggestions for my career development. I appreciated this very much as I knew at that time she was also occupied by other pieces of work.
During this program, I gained a valuable hands-on experience on the legal work at HSF. It was really eye-opening to know how the lawyers prepare documents for a certain transactions involving parties from multiple jurisdictions. It was also fascinating to investigate how the different offices of HSF work together and how the lawyers interact with the clients and other intermediaries during certain M&A due diligence. Before this internship, I thought my preference in future would be the dispute related practice. However, now I think I should be more open to all the opportunities because there are too many areas that I don’t know. I highly recommend this program to all the law students in UNSW as it is a good opportunity to gain insights before the clerkship application process. If I have any suggestions, that would be to relax and enjoy – it is meant to be an exploration, not a big exam!
Many thanks to CIBEL and HSF for holding the joint program, building up this valuable bridge between the campus and the firm for the students with a China background. Thanks to Associate Professor Charlie Weng for your efforts in the selection process. Especially, I want to thank HSF for hosting me in their Beijing office, being so considerate for all the uncertainties caused by COVID-19. Thanks Jemma Rowe and James Keane for leading me through the whole program. Also, thanks to all my dear colleagues in Beijing – Monica Sun, Calvin Ho, my buddy Jie Li, Yunfei Guo and Yilin Pei.