Radha Chauhan, third-year LLB Law with American Legal Studies student

Birmingham City University operates the largest UK to US internship programme in the UK called American Legal Practice (ALP). As part of this module, I had the opportunity to intern in America for nine weeks. The ALP module is a different and unique programme offered by the university for Law students and it was definitely a factor that influenced my decision to study here. I chose to study ALP as I knew an internship would be a great way to gain experience in the legal profession on an international stage and widen my academic and practical experiences. I would also have the unique experience of living and working in the US.

Between June and August 2014, I interned at a Judges chamber in the Chancery Division with Judge L. Curcio in Chicago who specialises in Mechanics Liens. Mechanics Liens is an area of law relating to the security interest in the title to property for the benefit of those who have supplied labour or materials to improve the property.

During my internship, I undertook a variety of tasks. These tasks included a combination of research, analysis, drafting and both oral and written communication. I was using Lexis Advance every day in order to find relevant cases, which I then used to justify my points of view and I saw my writing style and structure change as I continued to produce memos which were considered by the Judge. Cases focused on Mechanics Liens; however, there were many sub issues that arose which meant the work I carried out was always varied. For example I wrote memos on areas of law such as prevailing parties, motion for summary judgment, fraud and the conversion of tools. My main task while interning was working on the final opinion memo with the Judges’ clerk. I was given the responsibility of writing sections of the memo such as the breach of contract for each party, the witnesses and the claims and defences. These were all new challenges for me, however I relished the opportunity.

Alongside my internship I was also able to appreciate and explore the city of Chicago, which definitely made my interning experience more enjoyable. I lived in an American dorm on the University Center campus and living in student accommodation was the right decision as it was a great way to meet new people. There is a lot to see and do in Chicago, it is a brilliant city and just like New York, Chicago has its own landmarks. The Bean, the Sky deck, The Cubs team, the Buckingham Fountain the beaches, Millennium Park, Grant Park and, of course, Lake Michigan. There was always something to do.

My internship will have a lasting effect on me. It has refined my research and analytical skills, given me the confidence to engage with legal professionals and has improved my oral and written communication. It has also broadened my horizons as I had the opportunity to live and work in a different country and I have gained first-hand experience in the largest legal system. It was a challenging and unique experience; however it has confirmed my desire for a career in law and has shown me that I am capable of achieving it.

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