A summer in the city that never sleeps

When I was at the stage of applying to university, Birmingham City University stood out because of the opportunity to complete an international internship in the United States of America. Being a cultural person, I would take any opportunity to travel throughout my legal and academic career; and now that I have done it – it’s something I would encourage every student to do.

The American internship not only furthers your knowledge in American Law, but also provides you with the skills and qualities that are relevant in the UK legal profession. Between June and August, I interned with a corporate firm in New York formally known as Spears & Imes LLP. The firm largely deals with white collar cases and complex civil litigation. During my internship, I engaged mostly with cases relating to securities enforcement and contractual disputes, although I also contributed to a drug and tax fraud case.

At first, I was unaware of what securities enforcement was all about. It was, therefore, quite challenging understanding some of the relevant law. However, I can now (confidently) say that securities enforcement involves cases where there has been a violation of regulations enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This may include insider trading, stealing a customer’s funds and so on. The area of law is complex, but very interesting. I was privileged to have observed one of the biggest trials to do with insider trading, that being the Rengan Rajaratnam case which took place in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

I followed the trial for the last few days (up until the day prior to the verdict). The defendant’s lawyer was very impressive in the way he presented his arguments and responded to counter-arguments in court. As Senior Counsel for the external mooting team at Birmingham City University, this experience gave me a great insight of what improvements I can make in order to become a more persuasive advocate.

I also undertook a variety of tasks in the office, which included drafting, research, analysing and a lot of reading. An item of evidence I created was used in a trial, which ended in favour of the firm’s client. It was an amazing feeling to be recognised for my contributions in the case and I will always appreciate the firm for getting me involved. Further to this, I undertook a project which took approximately 3 days to complete with a paralegal at the firm. This involved an analysis of documents to then be cross-referenced with a chart, in order to point out any discrepancies. This task was an industrious task; however working with someone who was enthusiastic and supportive kept me going!

As well as the legal experience, it’s important to emphasise that I was able to embrace another culture and lifestyle. Spears & Imes LLP was not only amazing for the experience the firm gave me with regards to my legal skills, but they ensured I enjoyed my time in ‘the city that never sleeps.’ From authentic Japanese food to the best French mac and cheese New York could offer, everyone took me to the best restaurants, recommended the top places, introduced me to the New York addiction of iced coffee and made me feel at home from my very first day.

Outside of my working hours, I converted to a true tourist. There were so many attractions in New York, that it’s an everlasting list. My most enjoyable days were travelling down to Coney Island in Brooklyn, where the sand forced me into the air after two seconds, in an attempt of taking a simple photo. That alone explains the glorious sunshine in the city of New York. The views from the famous Empire State Building and Top of the Rock were mind blowing. You do not realise how huge the city is until you see it from above, as travelling between different parts of the city is so easy via subway. Even riding a bike from Harlem down to Brooklyn is not bad at all – but you just have to be mindful of the rush of taxis and herds of commuters and tourists crossing the roads every few minutes. I was also fortunate to visit New Jersey (which is not too far away) and Rhode Island. As for the first trip, I ventured off to Six Flags Adventure Park and Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s tour, which were both amazing! The latter, was a very relaxed and enjoyable wedding weekend.

Overall, my experience in New York is one I will never forget. It has already made an impact on my legal career with a result of further opportunities gained and increased my desire to obtain a job in the legal profession. I have now completed one of my lifetime goals thanks to the opportunity Birmingham City University offers to their students.

Overall, my experience in New York is one I will never forget. It has already made an impact on my legal career with a result of further opportunities gained and increased my desire to obtain a job in the legal profession. I have now completed one of my lifetime goals thanks to the opportunity Birmingham City University offers to their students.

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