2019, LMR Edition, Issue 0
Law school. You've made it. To get here you’ve endured the LSAT, sat countless exams, and submitted innumerable assignments. If, like me, the thought of a few dozen more doesn't necessarily fill you with excitement, you've come to the right place.
One of the many strengths of the Melbourne JD is the high value MLS places on practical and vocational training. Every JD student should at least give some thought to applying for the Law School's Legal Internship subject (LAWS50059 for those playing along at home). The subject allows JD students to receive credit for undertaking a vocational placement in a relevant legal or legally-adjacent workplace. These internships can take place during semester or over your break, taking you anywhere from Collins St to Canberra, Williams St to Washington.
As I write this, I’ve been interning in a US Congressional office on Capitol Hill for the last five and a half weeks as part of the Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program. Aside from offering an incredibly unique work placement opportunity, UCWIP has been far from just another internship - in every respect.
First off, unlike most internships the program offers a full-time workplace experience that allows for a fuller and more immersive experience than many other placements permit. Although we’ve each had thoroughly unique experiences in our individual offices, they’ve each involved a rich and diverse range of opportunities. These have ranged from drafting floor speeches, writing memos, attending legislative and policy briefings, shadowing legislative staff and sitting in on meetings.
Beyond the office, we’ve been the beneficiaries of a great host of other opportunities as part of the program. We’ve met with legislators, current and former Ambassadors, consular staff and officials, renowned political commentators,journalists, and many others. We’ve had the opportunity to sit in as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, witnessed judicial nomination hearings, and visited the impressive Law Library of Congress.
Most significantly, UCWIP has been as much an opportunity for personal growth as professional. Living together with eleven other Australian interns has been an integral element of the UCWIP experience, and a source of constant camaraderie and friendship. It’s at best a tired cliche, but there is no doubt in my mind that these people have become not just peers sharing an incredible ten week journey, but friends for life. In fact, I can’t imagine not having shared this experience with this amazing group of people.
Our weekends have been filled with visits to a number of the historic sites of great inflection points in US and global history like Philadelphia and Gettysburg. We’ve toured the United Nations in New York, visited the White House, and (surreally) walk the halls of the Capitol on a daily basis.
Now that I’m here, I can’t believe that I almost didn’t apply for the program when I was in your position at this time last year. If any of the above sounds of any interest at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out in search of answers to questions or for other advice. Even if it doesn’t, chances are that there’s a different internship pathway that might be more your speed and I strongly encourage you to seek it out.
Xavier is a Second Year JD Student
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