Work Experience, Referendariat Wahlstation and Praktikum
We frequently receive enquiries from people about internships. Generally we welcome applications from law students or trainee lawyers from other countries with excellent English skills. Successful candidates will be working closely with Andrea Woelke.
In any case, please apply with a full CV and a covering note setting out why you want to apply for an internship at this firm and what knowledge, education and skills you can offer. You can email your application or send it by post. In any case, please do not forget to provide Abitur/”A”-level/baccalaureate and university exam results and your full address, email address and telephone number. Please also state for when you are available for an internship.
We will give preference to applications from those applicants who are specifically interested in the work I do and the client base I specialise in. You will find more information on this website.
Below is information for:
German Trainee Lawyers (Referendare)
We prefer applications for a four-month seat (Wahlstation) from those who will not need to take time off to revise for their exams (“tauchen”). For you to get a benefit out of your internship, you will need to have excellent English language skills. Preferably you will have had English at school to Abitur level, preferably at “Leistungskurs” level. We will consider applications from those who have perfected their English in other ways and will in any event conduct a short Skype interview in English, which will give us a good idea about your level of ability.
Since you are unlikely to have much, if any, training in English Family Law, you would not be able to assist in drafting documents or advising clients direct. Your tasks would be observing and supportive including legal research, observing client meetings and court hearings and a wide variety of office support jobs, while observing my work throughout.
Improving your English
If you feel you could benefit from improving your English, I suggest the following in addition to formal classes, courses and private tuition:
- Watch English (rather than US) films choosing English as the language, maybe with subtitles for the deaf at first, if you find accents and dialects difficult to understand. You can also watch BBC TV news online for free.
- Read English newspapers. You can do so online, e.g. The Guardian.
- Listen to English talk radio. You probably can listen to BBC World Service on short wave and in some areas on FM or AM. You may also be able to pick up British Forces Broadcasting Service 2 (BFBS) in some areas of Germany on FM or AM. In any event you can listen to BBC Radio online, e.g. BBC Radio 4, which is a talk station.
- Read books introducing the English legal system and English family law. I suggest you buy a good law dictionary and also material that is published in England rather than your home country.
Living Costs in London
Unfortunately since you will be unlikely to be able to take considerable work off us and we will spend time introducing you to our work, we will not be able to pay you any extra allowance over and above your salary from the German Government.
You will therefore need sufficient funds to maintain your stay in London. Please consider that it is difficult to find short-term lets and accommodation can be of low quality in shared houses used by backpackers, working holiday makers and the like, which is where you would most likely find something for three or four months. You may have to stay in a hostel for a couple of weeks until you find a place. Some websites you may want to check out:
- Gumtree: flatshares for foreign students, working holiday makers etc.
- Zone2Stay: Specifically accommodation for German-speaking interns in London
- St Christopher’s Inns: They have aprivate youth hostel in Borough
You will also need to travel from where you are staying to the office. The further out from the centre of London you live, the more you have to pay for your travelcard. You will find more information on the Transport for London website. We also suggest you try the journey planner to work out how long it would take and how many times you may need to change to travel to work before you commit to live in a particular area.
As a rule of thumb areas where you may find accommodation that is cheaper tend not to be on the underground network, but on the overland trains, which tend to be less frequent or regular, but may still provide a service every 10 or 15 minutes. For London Bridge, areas on the Northern Line (Clapham, Balham, Tooting) tend to be more expensive than areas on trains (New Cross, Lewisham, Peckham). You may also want to see whether there are convenient night buses to the area so you can get back after a night out.
Please also remember that general food shopping, going out to bars, clubs and drinks in pubs etc. is more expensive than in Germany or elsewhere in Europe generally.
It may be difficult to open a bank account here because you will need to satisfy the bank of your identity for money-laundering regulations and you will have no track record in the UK. HSBC provides a Passport scheme, which should make this easier.
German Student Interns (Praktikum in den Semesterferien)
I would generally only consider short term (less than 3 months) internships when there is a gap between Referendare. This is because it will take you considerable time to get familiar with the office and the work before you can achieve a benefit from the internship. We will exceptionally consider applications from those students who are taking part in a programme where they are learning English and English law as part of their university course (e.g. at Münster University) and whose English is exceptional.
All the other considerations set out above for Referendare also apply.
English Law Students
If you are a law student and want to have an insight for a short time into family law, please apply with your individual skills, training and why specifically you are interested in this firm.
I am not currently considering applications for internships from school pupils or “A”-Level students.
12 May 2016 by Andrea Woelke