UNSW virtual connection I Unlocking exclusive internship opportunities at a top international law firm in China

University of New South Wales

Vlog No. 484

As cicadas hums in the northern hemisphere and morning dew sets on windows in the southern hemisphere, the end of Term 2 is fast approaching. 

The pandemic has utterly disrupted the way we teach and learn. It has significantly reshaped the "study abroad" experience, as universities and students experienced the unique challenges of hybrid and remote learning during the lockdown.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNSW Sydney has been committed to delivering exceptional learning experiences, ensuring the quality of teaching, offering support and maintaining engagement with students, particularly those who are learning remotely. 

UNSW Sydney, which has been named the “Most Employable University”, continues to prepare students for their careers.

In a collaboration between UNSW Law & Justice’s Herbert Smith Freehills China International Business and Economic Law (CIBEL) Centre and Herbert Smith Freehills, a world-leading law firm, a paid internship program named the Herbert Smith Freehills CIBEL Asia-Pacific Pathway Program was offered exclusively to UNSW Law & Justice students.

This program enables students to utilise their two-week break between Term 1 and Term 2 to gain invaluable legal experience in a world-renowned law firm and build their network within the industry.

Tracy Gan, a first-year Juris Doctor student who is currently studying remotely in Shenzhen, China, completed her two-week internship in the Herbert Smith Freehills Shanghai Office in May 2021.

She recorded this precious experience in her Vlog. ?


Studying Remotely

Different Time Zone, Same Wonderful Experience

As mentioned in her Vlog, Tracy’s day-to-day interactions with UNSW academics show how attentive and passionate they are in providing the best education experience to students.

In the interview, Tracy recalled a time when she submitted an assessment to a lecturer at 11pm Beijing time and was surprised to receive their response at 5am the next morning.

The lecturer provided detailed feedback and suggestions, accompanied by a diagram to help Tracy better understand the topic. They also acknowledged the parts that were well written.

Tracy found that UNSW academics are keen to build a positive community where students are encouraged to raise questions and share their thoughts, which are beneficial to their fellow students in grasping the concepts.

In addition, Tracy felt that the law academic curriculum of UNSW Law & Justice is well designed. With assessment tasks spreading throughout the term, active learning is encouraged.

Apart from the academic curriculum, UNSW Law Society also organises many extracurricular activities such as remote moot courts, negotiations, and mock client consultation.

These activities not only provide Tracy opportunities to meet new friends, but also allow her to apply the knowledge learned in class to actual scenarios. 

Senior students would often act as judges and provide feedback and suggestions based on our performance in the moot court. These are very precious experiences to me, which made me feel closer to the Faculty.


Internship in Law Firm

Exploring new opportunities in the workplace 

Through this internship, Tracy said that her biggest gain was the understanding of the connections between different legal areas.

For example, she used to think that dispute resolution and corporate affairs were two independent areas. Through this internship, she found that there were a lot of overlaps between the two areas, which inspired her to explore legal matters in different fields such as energy and construction.

Further to that, being a leading international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills handles a large volume of cases which often involve multiple jurisdictions. This experience truly opened Tracy's horizons as a law student.

Herbert Smith Freehills planned the exclusive internship program for UNSW students based on the UNSW Sydney academic calendar, enabling student participation during their term break.

The law firm also assigned a buddy and a supervisor for each intern for the duration of the internship, who provided guidance and support for their work.

During the internship, senior colleagues in the law firm provided me with very clear instructions and explanations. Once I finished my tasks, they also gave me detailed feedback and suggestions, which I benefited a lot from. This internship experience is very different from internships provided in other law firms.

Apart from that, Herbert Smith Freehills arranged for its partners and graduates to share their career development experience with the interns every day.

This has not only provided the interns with invaluable career advice, but also the opportunities to establish useful contacts in this industry.

Colleagues at Herbert Smith Freehills have worked in different countries and regions. Having the opportunity to engage with them has benefited me immensely. As a current law school student, their advice could have saved me from a lot of closed doors, detours and road blocks in the future.


Putting what you have learned into practice

Stand out in the workplace

Tracy believed that the knowledge she gained at UNSW Law & Justice, particularly on private law, was highly relevant to the practical work she did at the law firm. Her studies have greatly assisted her in completingher tasks during the internship.

Apart from the legal knowledge in the curriculum, the practical skills she acquired at UNSW Law & Justice, such as reading and summarising skills and time management also contributed to her success in the internship.

As part of the coursework, we are required to read intensively on law cases, where we have to be able to understand the text quickly while providing a logical summary.

In-class discussions and presentations allow us to improve our critical thinking skills as well as English speaking skills. These practical skills have proven to be very useful in the workplace. 

Tracy told us that this internship provided jointly by the UNSW Herbert Smith Freehills CIBEL Centre and Herbert Smith Freehills allowed her to explore the legal profession through a practical lens, which ultimately enabled her to discover the areas of law that she really enjoyed.

We are very pleased to share Tracy’s journey at UNSW Sydney  over the past few years and are delighted that she has found her passion through this exclusive internship program.

As a first year JD student, I received a lot of help from senior students at UNSW Law & Justice. Inspired by the senior students, I am planning to register and become a peer mentor at UNSW Law & Justice in the following term to assist new students with their journey, making their studies at UNSW Law & Justice as interesting and engaging as mine.

Who says the law is cold? Come to UNSW Law School and be a lawyer with passion! ~ ??‍⚖️??‍⚖️


Photo of Tracy

Thank you to Herbert Smith Freehills for the support and assistance of this internship project and the shooting of the video. For more information about the Herbert Smith Freehills-CIBEL Asia Pacific Pathway Internship Program, please visit cibel.unsw.edu.au/students/internship.


This article is republished from the UNSW Sydney WeChat under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.