The work allocated to interns is varied and diverse. It can be mundane. Photocopying, summarizing court documents, etc. And it can be complex. Interviewing people connected to the case, trying to find individuals and carrying out legal research. What all the work has in common is it all contributes to protecting the legal rights of the client concerned.
The work also varies from office to office. Some offices are focussed on pre trail work. During the preparation for trial interns may be working on mitigation for the client or legal research. In offices more focussed on appeals, the work may involve interviewing witnesses or others involved in the case or the defendant themselves.
The attorneys interns support are busy and working under almost constant pressure. Of course, interns help to alleviate this workload. However, initially interns take considerable investment form the attorney in terms of orientation and training. To make this investment of time worthwhile for the attorney Amicus has, in consultation with the lawyers we work with, set a minimum of three months for internships. The feedback from the majority of interns is that they would have preferred to have stayed longer than three months.
Minimum commitment of three months (see previous)
You must have undertaken the Amicus training programme. This programme is run in March and October each year in central London. The training covers such basics as capital trial and appellate procedure, constitutional law, international law and legal research. In exceptional circumstances (such as a previous internship) where an applicant can demonstrate sufficient knowledge from another source, this rule can be suspended. General knowledge of US law without training or experience specifically in capital law and procedure will not suffice to exempt you from this condition.
Up to date driving licence (see below)
Excellent communications (oral and written) and interpersonal skills
Proven ability to take initiative in a working environment
It is a requirement of applying for an Amicus internship that you have a full UK driving licence. The majority of US offices require that you can drive. You may well be required to drive out on case investigations, although often you will accompanied by another intern or an attorney. Hire cars are usually used and a driver's licence is required for the rental firm’s insurance. Public transport in the US is vastly different to that of the UK and you will find it difficult to do anything (even grocery shopping) without the use of a car. You will be significantly less useful to the attorneys if you do not have a licence and we may find it difficult to place you unless you are an exceptional candidate. If you cannot drive, it is important you make this clear from the outset.
If you are accepted onto the internship programme and a placement is arranged, you will be introduced to a former intern from that office who will act as a mentor. Having recently been at that location they will be able to advise on housing and other practical needs.
In addition, many of the offices assist you in finding accommodation. You may be able to rent a room from an attorney, share with another intern, or they may know of cheap accommodation. If you can arrange cheap accommodation in a specific location due to family or friends living there, make this clear on your application so we can see if it is possible to place you nearby.
It is possible to obtain a reduction in the period of pupillage or training you need to complete if you have carried out an internship. This will often only be a short reduction compared with the full length of time you have spent in the US. With regard to pupillages, an internship will only count towards your second six and each application is determined on its own merits. You can make the application to the Bar Council before you leave but it is probably better to do it on your return, as you will then be in a better position to match up the experience you have had during your internship with the criteria that need to be fulfilled to obtain pupillage (see pupillage checklists on the Bar Council’s website: www.BarCouncil.org.uk). For comparable provisions regarding training contracts, contact the Law Society (www.lawsociety.org.uk).
Most firms and chambers are more than happy that their prospective trainees/pupils are undertaking an internship.