Students report on summer internships abroad
July 9, 2010 — Classes are now underway at Duke's summer institutes, the Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law and the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law, which draw law students from Duke and other U.S. law schools, as well as internationally trained lawyers from all over the world. Many Duke Law students precede their studies at the Hong Kong and Geneva institutes with internships at law firms and nonprofits in Europe and Asia, often working under or in positions arranged by Law School alumni. A number of students sent reports on their progress back to Judy Horowitz, associate dean for international studies, and Jennifer Maher, assistant dean for international studies, who offer their thanks for alumni efforts.
- Sergio Garcia-Belmonte JD/LLM '12 — Geneva
- Vivian Chow JD/LLM '12 — Tokyo
- Allyson Gaiser JD/LLM '12 — Geneva
- Caitlin Ludwigsen JD/LLM '12 — Seoul
- Jessica Marczyszak JD/LLM '12 — Osaka
- Shiyao Liu JD/LLM '12 — Beijing
- Justin Bart JD/LLM '12 — Bologna
- Matt Peters JD/LLM '12 — Beijing
Sergio Garcia-Belmonte JD/LLM '12 — Geneva
June 8, 2010 — The internship has been great so far. After my first day, I emailed all the partners I was hoping to work with offering my services and I have been going non-stop ever since. I am really enjoying it and everyone I have had the opportunity to work with has been extremely nice.
I was able to work with Guy Vermeil [LLM '89] for several days, helping him comment on a draft licensing agreement. Among other things, he had the other American intern (from Georgetown) and me prepare a chart outlining the termination rights for each party to the agreement. He seemed very pleased with our work and invited us to the meeting with the client to discuss that section and others.
I have also gotten the arbitration exposure I was hoping for. I am currently working with Mark Barmes on an employment litigation before the ILO Administrative Tribunal and have to prepare a statement of facts for our rejoinder to the complaint we received. I got to go to the meeting with the clients on this one as well after submitting a summary of my recommendations to Mark to help him prepare for the meeting.
In addition, I am working on an office memorandum on a question of American law for an arbitration before the ICC that Daniel Tunik is leading on. It's about a steel purchase and sale dispute between a Swiss and American company, so there are some great conflict of laws issues to tackle.
I also feel that the people I have worked with are happy with the work product they receive from me and have rewarded me with more work. Thus, I am doing my best to leave behind a good impression of Duke. I will definitely thank everyone I have worked with for the opportunity.
Garcia-Belmonte is currently enrolled in the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law
Vivian Chow JD/LLM '12 — Tokyo
June 10, 2010 — I am just finishing my third week [of work] with Usui-sensei [Takayuki Usui LLM '03], and the time has really flown by. The experience has been great thus far, and I can't thank you enough for your help in making the internship possible.
The projects that I have been involved with here are all in the cross-border transactional law sector. Some of the financial terminology and concepts are new to me, but Usui-sensei is a great teacher and has been extremely patient in explaining some of the more complex financial schemes or providing me with the literature to help me gain a basic understanding of whatever topic we are covering. I have also been able to attend many of the project-related meetings -- both internal and with other law firms — which has also been a great way to understand how contracts are drafted, negotiated, and redrafted.
This internship has been an even better fit for me personally than I had expected because I have been able to work on deals relating to China, which is the geographical sector I hope to focus on in my legal career. The larger project that I have been involved with relates to a loan agreement for some buildings in China, and I have been asked to research Chinese mortgage law and other related issues.
Since I'll be traveling to Beijing to visit friends for a week before Hong Kong, one of the bankers has offered to help me set up a visit with one of their property managers in Beijing for the building that is being financed by the bank. Hopefully I will also have a chance to visit [the law firm's] new rep office in Beijing (its first overseas office), which just opened in May.
The lawyers at [my firm] have been extremely gracious in speaking with me and answering my questions about their work, about their career paths, and about Japan. I had a chance to meet several former Duke LLMs, as well as one of the [firm's] attorneys who will be coming to Duke for his LLM this coming fall (and participating in the Hong Kong institute). I also had lunch with a Duke alum who joined [the firm] as a foreign attorney about two years ago after working in New York for several years. It was great to see how strong the Duke network is, even 7,000 miles from home.
Tokyo itself has, of course, been great. I love the food, the culture, and the transport system, and even the weather has been kind to me for the most part.
All the best,
Chow is currently enrolled in the Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law in Hong Kong.
Allyson Gaiser JD/LLM '12 — Geneva
June 9, 2010 — Everything is going really well so far. I am enjoying my job [with an international nonprofit] and working both in and out of the office. I've mainly been working on researching pre-trial detention practices in the East African and Asian countries we work in. I've finished several little projects and am focusing on researching and compiling a module detailing both the international standards and the domestic practices for pre-trial detention for my last two weeks.
Thanks so much for your concern and your help with securing my position.
Gaiser extended her internship past its initial six-week term; she continues to work on projects in addition to her current studies at the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law.
Caitlin Ludwigsen JD/LLM '12 — Seoul
June 29, 2010 — I had a great summer at the fastest-growing and one of the top law firms in South Korea. I worked primarily with the Corporate M&A team, though the firm allowed me to try out several departments, like Real Estate and Arbitration. Seoul is growing as an important international hub of business, so all of the work had a very strong international, cross-border focus. My work included legal research on everything from the impact the new U.K. Bribery Act will have on Asian companies, to a comparison of company formation law around the world. Additionally, I got to work on actual transactional matters, reviewing and sometimes revising contracts and drafting client letters. The firm even had me develop marketing materials for one of its practice groups, which offered an excellent chance to learn more about the practice area and to hone my persuasive writing skills.
June 9, 2010 — I just wanted to write to tell you what a wonderful time I am having at [my firm]. You were right to recommend coming to Korea; Seoul is a fantastic city and I am definitely enjoying the food, the culture, and the sights. The firm has also been very good to me. All the attorneys I have met have been so kind and supportive and very committed to making sure that I am engaged in interesting, substantive work that I will learn from. I will be sad to leave in two weeks, though of course I look forward to Hong Kong.
Ludwigsen is currently enrolled in the Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law in Hong Kong. Sae Youn Kim LLM '07 and an SJD candidate at Duke Law, made arrangements for Ludwigsen's position in Seoul.
Jessica Marczyszak JD/LLM '12 — Osaka
June 30, 2010 — While I was interning I had the opportunity to research and write memorandum on issues concerning cross border litigation between a Japanese and a Greek company. I also analyzed contractual terms for a cross border exclusive distributorship and retail agreement between a Japanese and Korean company and conducted research to help determine what law should govern a contract between a Korean and Japanese company. Also, I had the unique opportunity to give a presentation to group of Japanese lawyers on the American jury system as compared to the Saiban in (the new Japanese jury system).
June 14, 2010 — I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for setting me up with this experience. Everything has been going very well. I have had way more substantive work than I thought I would ever get and it has been a great experience. Also, Mr. Isokawa [Takeshi Isokawa LLM '04] and everyone [in his office] have been very gracious and have definitely gone out of their way to make me feel welcome.
Osaka has been amazing and I have had the opportunity to travel to both Nara and Kyoto already. Next, weekend I am traveling with another Duke student to Tokyo.
Marczyszak is currently enrolled in the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law.
Shiyao Liu JD/LLM '12 — Beijing
June 10, 2010 — I am having a great time here learning about Chinese and Hong Kong laws in the areas of corporate litigation and contracts. I have written company memos, researched international laws, and done some contract editing. I have also gotten to have lunch with this year's graduating Chinese LLMs currently in Beijing. It has been an exciting experience overall, and I thank you for this opportunity.
Liu is currently enrolled in the Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law in Hong Kong. Jiang Weibo LLM '97 arranged for Liu's employment in Beijing.
Justin Bart JD/LLM '12 — Bologna
June 8, 2010 — Italy is fantastic overall, as you might imagine, and I have had some very interesting adventures. Avvocato Prandi [Fabrizio Prandi LLM '02] is wonderful to work for, as he is both courteous as a host and skillful as a lawyer. I will do (and have been doing) my absolute best to make a good impression on him and to keep Duke in good standing for those who wish to come after me.
In terms of work assignments, I have had three main types of tasks. The most interesting [to me] were the opportunities that I had to draft professional letters, in English, to various clients and colleagues around Europe. I wrote a handful of cover letters and information updates to a Polish firm that works in tandem with Avvocato Prandi, I wrote a professional letter requesting/demanding a performance update from a recalcitrant American colleague in New York, and I wrote a letter warning of impending legal action to a Swiss company that had failed to fulfill its contractual obligations in Saudi Arabia. These assignments were obviously the most enjoyable because they actually involved active cases and interpersonal skills.
[I also learned from] the various translation assignments that I received. They consisted of two or three standard form contracts, of varying length, that had to be translated from Italian to English. These were enjoyable because they were almost like drafting contracts from scratch, which I think was good practice.
Now I am reading an old case file, in Italian, in order to spot issues, brief the case for my own knowledge, and then discuss. I get to see how pleadings are written and how professional legal arguments are developed.
Other than that, I went to both the civil and criminal courts to sit in on brief proceedings, which I enjoyed. It was interesting to see how the Italian system differs from our own.
Feel free to give my contact information to anyone who has questions or thinks they might be interested in working anywhere in Italy. I would love to help out like minded students.
Bart is currently enrolled in the Duke-Geneva Institute in Transnational Law.
Matt Peters JD/LLM '12 — Beijing
June 16, 2010 — My abroad experience is going very well. I quickly became part of the antitrust "team" and have consistently had interesting assignments, including preparing a memorandum examining the arbitration of anittrust issues. Furthermore, Mr. Zhang Xuebing [LLM '98] has shown me personal attention, inviting me to lunch and inviting me to attend a speech on arbitration that he gave at the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission.
Thank you once again for facilitating this experience for me. My only regret is that it is passing too quickly (although I know Hong Kong will be an equally enjoyable experience).
Peters is currently enrolled in the Asia-America Institute in Transnational Law in Hong Kong.