The following blog post was submitted by 4th year LLB European Legal Studies student, Letizia Corsi.
I am Letizia and I am a final year Law student at the University of Southampton. I am currently working with the in-house legal department of an international engineering consultancy firm called Ramboll.
The work placement will last for 2 months, from mid-July to mid-September and it is primarily based in Southampton, with some occasional trips to the London office. The opportunity was first advertised by the Placements Office.
I decided to apply to this particular position as I was attracted by the possibility of getting legal work experience “with a twist” (that is to say the engineering specialty). The application process was very speedy and I have been offered the position within 10 days from it being advertised. I was invited to a Skype interview as I was not in the country at the time.
My tasks include quite a large amount of administration work, such as managing the legal database, photocopying, and booking meeting rooms. Clearly this is not the most interesting part of the job but it is very useful to understand how things work and to develop valuable skills which will be relevant for a career in law. For example, answering the phone and organising a social team event may seem like trivial tasks, but they may still require a great deal of resilience, organisation and common sense.
The extent of what you will learn from such an internship is entirely up to you. It is up to you to ask questions, and if you are asked to photocopy a 40-page contract, it is entirely up to you whether you decide to read it!
I have soon found out that tasks of responsibility will not be assigned to me unless I actively ask and look for them. This may require staying in the office a little bit longer in order to be able to take on more, and more challenging, work. However, it is definitely worth it!
Within a week I have been involved in tasks of legal research, simple legal reviews and I was even allowed to send my own findings directly to the clients (after they have been checked by a member of the team of course!).
The people I work with are incredibly nice and encouraging, they are always professional but ready to help and answer patiently all my numerous questions. I really feel like part of a great team already! The background of the people in the legal team is varied. Some of the legal advisors are qualified solicitors, some are chartered engineers and some are senior consultants with a great deal of experience behind them. I am constantly impressed by how knowledgeable each and every one of them is in his or her field.
I believe I have been very lucky as Ramboll is a fantastic company to work for. There is a very strong feeling of belonging to the same entity, as Ramboll encourages friendship and positive relationships among employees through numerous events. Everyone is approachable and helpful and I often have a chat with directors and senior consultants.
This experience has been incredibly positive and I would encourage every student to try getting some relevant work experience during the summer. I admit that it may be tiring not to have holidays at all but it is definitely worth it in the long term. If you are as lucky as I was, you will not even notice!
It is important that you do not get discouraged if you are unsuccessful at the beginning: I have applied for months before finding the right internship.
The first work experience is the harder to get, the key is not to be discouraged and to try to improve your CV as much as you can. This is why volunteering and involvement in clubs and societies at university is so precious. You will have the occasion to learn a lot and prove yourself without having to demonstrate your skills at an interview!
Finally, do not forget that we have a fantastic Placements Office and Career Destinations service which are always happy to help. They gave me some valuable advice on how to improve my CV and applications, so do not hesitate to contact them and keep an eye on the opportunities advertised!