Compare and contrast Legal Internships

I wish all law internships in the states were like my internship in Bosnia. At first they stated they needed me to sign a contract about the amount of hours I would work every week and an agreement that it was volunteer work so I wasn’t getting payment and I was a little concerned that it was going to be super strict. But then, on my first day, one of the attorneys told me the contract says six hours a day but she thinks that might be too much to do in one day so we could change it to four hours a day if I wanted. In the states, most internships are for at least six hours a day, usually more, on top of taking classes. Not to mention, I have been working there for over a week now and haven’t signed a single piece of paper. The attorneys are just like “oh we can have you sign it next week.” In the states, I would not have even been able to start working until all the paperwork was signed, including hourly contracts, employee confidentiality contracts, etc., especially for a legal agency.

The agency is open 9 am – 5 pm, so I figure if I have to work six hours a day, I will get there at 9 am so I only have to work until 3 and then have off the rest of the day to be outside and do things. Then yesterday, one of the attorneys comes in at 9:20 and asks “Do you get here right at 9 am every day?” Actually, I got there at like 9:02 and I felt late because in the states you are expected to be at your internship and prepared to work by the time you are “supposed to be there.” So to be a better intern, I got there at 9:12 today.

Also, did I mention lunch is included in those 6 hours. Today I brought my lunch so I just ate it in the office. So then I was told by one of the other attorneys. “You can go to lunch. You need to go outside. Go walk around. It’s a pretty day outside.” When has any legal intern been told “take a break, and count it as part of your hours.”

Before l left today, one of the attorneys asked how I was sleeping, because, for those of you who don’t know, our hostel is right across the alley from two of the most popular bars in town. So I told her Sunday it was loud but last night I slept fine. Her advice to me was to just join them at the bar and party every night so then I will sleep well every night when I go upstairs.

So Cheers to the USA v. Belgium game and an internship that wants you to stay up late, to come in late, to take breaks, and doesn’t make you spend hours upon hours signing pointless paperwork!!!



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