Students matched with consultant lawyers to undertake paid legal work
A virtual law firm has launched a two-month internship that pays postgraduate law students from Queen Mary University of London to provide junior legal support.
In what is believed to be the first of its kind, the new programme sees two students from Queen Mary’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) join nexa law, an alternative business structure whose 75 self-employed legal consultants work remotely, with some even based overseas.
According to the firm, the experience and interests of interns are matched to consultants’ different areas of expertise — including commercial law, family and private client work. “There are no hypothetical scenarios for our interns to draft dummy documents — all the work is for real clients on real matters,” Matthew Dunne, solicitor and business development manager at nexa, told Legal Cheek.
Interns will complete at least £100 of paid legal work per week, or five hours, paid by the consultants they work for. However, the first cohort of interns, who are due to complete the programme this month, are said to have exceeded that income within a number of weeks.
Though the first two participants had already finished their courses, the programme, which operates on a rolling basis, is also open to Queen Mary postgrad students wanting to work during their law degree.
As well as being an opportunity for student to get to grips with real legal work, it also benefits the consultant lawyers who, unlike traditional law firms, lack the support of trainees and paralegals. According to Dunne, teaming up with a London-based university also made sense because “in normal times” without COVID-disruption, they would invite interns to meet with consultants who work from firm’s office hub in WeWork at Waterloo.
Dunne also revealed that the firm hopes to eventually expand the internship in line with its 2021 plans for growth. “We hope to be able to take four or five interns at a time as the programme becomes more established,” he said.
Jacqueline Steinmetz, the employer engagement, internships and mentoring coordinator at CCLS, added:
“This new connection with nexa law offers our students and graduates greatly valued work experience. Whilst gaining a broader spectrum of practical legal skills through hands on work, I’m excited to see that nexa law opens opens the doors for opportunities beyond traditional legal internships, which is especially important in current economic climate.”