By: Sai Dharshini. V, Associate at JSA Chennai
How I learnt about Europen Centre for Career Education
As a final year student of the LLB (Hons) course at School of Excellence in Law, Chennai, I was looking out for multiple avenues to enhance my resume and gain experience in varied areas of the legal profession.
I often use Lawctopus as a medium to search for such opportunities and on one such occasion, I stumbled upon an opening to take part in an International Essay Competition which was conducted by the European Centre for Career Education (click here). The Essay contest was demarcated into three categories; for students of Law, Business and Architecture.
One global winner from the Essay contest from each of these categories was eligible to receive a scholarship for one of the summer courses offered by the Centre, which included a complete waiver of the tuition fee for the designated course.
Intrigued by the essay contest and the course structure, I learnt more about the Centre and their summer programs. Apart from their International Business and Architecture courses, The European Centre for Career Education conducted summer programs in two different branches of law, namely the Traditional Law and the New Technology Law Program.
The essay contest was an opportunity to take part in the New Technology Law cohort, which was scheduled to be held at the prestigious Charles University at Prague, Czech Republic, during the months of July and August 2019.
Winning the Essay Contest and the subsequent procedures
On applying to the Essay Contest, I was asked to write on the topic, ‘The Most Pressing Social Issue in Your Field’. As a student of law, I have often been astonished by the scores of cases remaining unheard in Indian courts and I have earnestly believed that delayed justice is one of the most pressing issues that had affected the society at large.
I embarked upon writing the essay on this issue, which was subsequently adjudged the winning essay and won me a ticket to one of the most ravishing experiences of my life in so far.
A skype interview, visa procedure and several days of packing followed. Through all these processes, I was ably assisted by the efficient staff members of the Centre for planning my trip, accommodation and other necessities.
As it was my first international experience, I was faced with the challenges of language and several other aspects of travelling solo. This made me both excited and anxious as I had to venture out of my comfort zone and explore newer opportunities in an unfamiliar territory.
The European Journey
I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I state that this program turned out to be the doorway to the realization of my professional dreams. Prague welcomed me with open arms and it instantaneously felt like another home. I was provided with excellent accommodation in the heart of the vintage city.
I had a couple of days to settle down before the program commenced and this gave me sufficient time to slowly get to know the city and my roommates.
People from different parts of the world such as China, Turkey, Europe, UK and even Nigeria had enrolled in this program.
Being an extrovert made it much more easier for me to make friends (I wouldn’t say acquaintances as I had truly made friends for a lifetime in such a short span of time!) and I distinctly remember how each and every conversation turned out to be stimulating and thought-provoking.
Our conversations helped us learn more about other countries’ law, culture, food, and even languages.
The Course structure and Internship
The New technology and Business law cohort was structured in such a way that it would encompass regular sessions at the Charles University for 3 weeks and an internship in one of the globally acclaimed law firms and Companies such as DLA Piper, Clifford chance etc. for the subsequent 4 weeks.
The internships that students get were based on a transparent ranking structure, which included a test at the end of the three-week course.
The course itself was divided into three tiers and consisted of subjects such as Corporate law, Competition law, M&A, Banking & Finance, AI Regulation, Public Speaking/Job Interview Skills, Contract Law, IP, Data Privacy and Dispute Resolution, to name a few. The lecturers were experts and pioneers in their fields and were often from top law firms from across the world such as C/M/S and Allen Overy.
The teaching materials and PPTs were provided to us a day in advance and we had the opportunity to select our classes by registering a day prior.
Since the students were from different countries, the classes were thoroughly engaging, informative and were often filled with frequent interactions with the lecturer (we even had extra points for being interactive and won goodies for being the most participative in class!).
The memory of being seated in a law class amidst knowledgeable students from across the world at a prestigious university overlooking the gorgeous Vlatva River and being lectured by some of the most amazing people I have had the privilege of knowing (some of whom, like the program head Mr Tomas, are still in touch with me and would gladly address if I had queries in any field of law) is something unique I would hold close forever.
This course was followed by an internship and based on my test ranking, I got selected for an internship at the in-house legal department of the toy manufacturing giant, Lego. The sheer experience of interning at one of the world’s most reputed companies was mind-blowing.
I was bestowed with one of the finest and most caring mentor, Ms. Jitka Pinosova, who was the Senior Corporate Counsel at Lego. In the following weeks of my internship, I was provided with multiple opportunities to conduct presentations on Indian laws to their employees.
I also learnt the functions of an in-house corporate counsel, European and International labour policies (as Lego had a well-functioning toy manufacturing factory at Kladno, which we had the privilege of visiting), Drafting of NDA agreements and an insight into the European work culture.
During the final week of the internship, we even conducted a market run to various Lego Shops across Prague, to check for trademark infringements of Lego products!
Most Cherished Memories
Some of the biggest memories from the course would include the luxurious opening reception which had reputed people from across the country taking part in, the riverside valedictory ceremony, the endless laughter (thanks to the Hindi-Chinese-Turkish language sessions with my classmates), the lifetime friendships forged, the field visits to other parts of Czech Republic such as Kutna Horra.
The Kingdom come game at a real castle with the forest treks, the daily internship drives from Prague to a nearby adorable town called Kladno to work at Lego , weekend visits to nearby cities of Europe such as Berlin and the enchanting beauty of Prague coupled with the amazing legal sessions.
These memories made the two months at Prague, the most rewarding and worthwhile experience of my lifetime.
How the Course helped shape my career
On my arrival back at India, the experience not only enhanced my legal knowledge and resume but also played a pivotal role in securing a placement in one of the top law firms of India. I was able to apply for jobs with much more confidence and felt more comfortable talking about my experiences in the interviews I attended.
I earnestly believe that as students of law, curiosity is our biggest weapon and we need to constantly strive to get out of our comfort zones. After all, the experience is the teacher of all things!