International SA and Externships

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International SA and Externships

Postby TaipeiMort » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:29 am

I apologize if this information has already been asked, I did a forum search and couldn't find the answers I was looking for.

I am very interested in eventually practicing some type of international law in China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. I am an incoming 1L at a T6 school and would like to have a legal internship in one of these locations this summer. To share more about myself, I am fluent in Chinese and have worked in several different business contexts in China including contract negotiation, consulting, and organizational financial management. I'm wondering if there is a clear path to international summer employment, or if I will have to create one myself.

So far, I've heard a lot more about international externships and SA positions. Would an international SA position be something uncommon? If it is common to have summer SA positions internationally, is the salary anywhere close to what you'd find in the US?

I currently feel my best bet to finding a position may be to focus on utilizing my existing network. However, if there is a better method to finding these positions, I'd be more than happy to use it.


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Re: International SA and Externships

Postby vyelps » Sat Aug 07, 2010 1:16 pm

Use your existing network. 1L SAs are tough but you have work experience in this area. No one I know got international SAs this past summer. See if any of your previous employers have connections to law firms in the regions you want to work in. I'm sure that your prior employers have in-house counsels or work closely with local firms. They may be able to hook you up with something for at least part of the summer.

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Re: International SA and Externships

Postby Antipodean » Sat Aug 07, 2010 2:49 pm

With our on-campus interviewing about to begin I noticed a moderate number of firms will be interviewing at Columbia for offices in East Asia. A quick check of our OCI data shows 7 firms interviewing for their Hong Kong offices, 4 firms interviewing for their Beijing offices, and two firms interviewing for their Shanghai offices. These are mostly US or English multinationals looking to expand their Chinese presence, and you have precisely the kind of resume that they like to hire. I imagine that this is typical of T6 schools.

In short, you should be well-situated to find long-term work in this area.

As to whether you'll be able to land an internship 1L summer - that'll be trickier. International opportunities are advertised for 1Ls, and I have a friend who's spent the summer with a firm in Japan, so I know it's possible to get these kinds of roles outside of your existing network. Still, I would advise tapping your contacts to find out more info on possible openings that you might not hear of through your law school.

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Re: International SA and Externships

Postby bwv812 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:04 pm

Last edited by bwv812 on Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: International SA and Externships

Postby lostmyname » Sun Aug 08, 2010 9:40 pm

I agree with the above -- unpaid or nominally paid internships are common, whereas paid internships are uncommon. Big firm 1L internships in Chinese offices are fairly rare -- moreover, the generally accepted path for US qualified people is to pick up a few years of American experience before lateraling over to China. As you may or may not know, US qualified practitioners aren't permitted to advise on Chinese law as Foreign Legal Consultants, but rather, advise on the relevant aspects of American law to whatever deals they're working on. There are some posts on Above the Law's Asia Chronicles about this.

However, I do think it's really useful and helpful to learn about Chinese firms' practices by interning at a local Chinese firm in case you decide to pursue a career with these firms, and also to get a sense of what your Chinese firm counterparts work on if you work in an American/UK firm in collaboration with Chinese attorneys. The biggest locally managed firm in China is King and Wood (金杜), but I suggest also checking out ALB Asia to get a sense of the big Chinese and western firms in China. As you look for a summer internship, you're welcome to PM me to bounce any questions about local firms' reputations -- I worked in the industry a couple of years ago, so I might be able to give you some feedback/inside info.

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