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International opportunities are available to anyone keen on chasing them. My route to securing a summer placement in Hong Kong started by simply taking the initiative to talk to International Students.
Keele University is rich with students from Hong Kong, so it was easy for me to fire away with questions. I covered all the preliminaries, such as living and travel costs and then asked for any recommendations. I used this information to then go about securing a summer placement.
I took the initiative to get into contact with a barrister, popular for helping many other students, at Gilt Chambers [one of the largest sets of Barristers’ Chambers in Hong Kong]. I figured I would get a more complete picture of the legal profession that way and this proved to be the case. The flexibility of the occupation enthused me to start with them, as I believed they would be more responsive to my queries.
This line of logic proved effective as this opened doors, which enabled me to further benefit from the opportunity in Hong Kong. I also managed to secure a placement at a Law Firm, Huen & Partners upon completion of the mini-pupillage at Gilt Chambers.
While on the mini-pupillage at Gilt Chambers the workload varied, from assisting on opening submissions to researching cloudy areas of law and even drafting advice letters.
Barristers, on receiving instructions from solicitors, detail what is most significant for them to best advocate their case in court. A case I assisted on which made the news, was a father/son dispute over various properties.
The titles were registered by the father in the son’s name to hold on trust for six brothers but the son claimed them all for himself. I assisted on much of the research on the maxims of equity that came into play here. I was lucky to see this case from start to finish as with some others.
However, at the summer scheme at Huen & Partners the client atmosphere was more prominent here but the workload did not vary much. At both places, the law consulted spiraled from: Contract law; Company law; Equity and Land law. However, I found that correspondence letters to clients was generally not as detailed here as it was at chambers.
Advice letters required me to summarise in simplistic terms, a most likely outcome. Letters written varied from instructing clients on materials needed as evidence, to advice letters on business decisions.
To make best usage of my time there, I made a list of firms that offered seats in Hong Kong on the training contract. In line with my ambitious approach I walked into the offices and on one occasion was lucky to meet and speak with, a human resources advisor at Linklaters.
An opportunity like this is intended to develop the skills you need for approaching the legal profession. Do not shy away from chasing these opportunities. I learnt a great deal about my strengths and weaknesses but most of all, I learnt that this is the profession for me and I do have what it takes to succeed in Hong Kong.