Volume 3, Issue 1, (Originally Published on Monday 4 March 2013)
Second-year JD Melissa Peach spent six weeks of summer interning for international legal firm Herbert Smith Freehills in Jakarta, Indonesia. This is her story.
It’s a country with legal issues as diverse as its ethnic groups, whose status as a foreign investment darling sets the stage for a range of corporate dramas. Located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, you maneuver through the crowd vying for a spot in the lift, and finally make it to your floor.
Work begins, and you negotiate your way through cases, contracts and documents. Remember how hard it was to master legalese in English? Do it in Indonesian.
Deadlines are coming up. These documents are urgent. You’re so engrossed in your projects that you forget to take lunch. You look at new laws, old laws, corruption and current affairs. You begin to see people, places and events through legal eyes.
You see inequality, but progress; degradation, but development; corruption, but morality. This place is a paradox. You stay late and work weekends with the other lawyers, who always maintain a positive, upbeat attitude, reminding you that it’s okay to have a sense of humor.
Time flies until the very end, where you look out at the Jakarta skyline as you clutch your drink in your hand, dazed and mesmerized by the beauty and insanity of the city.