Using the law to help New York student interns get to college
Since 2007, Freshfields has provided summer internships through Legal Outreach, a non-profit organisation, to prepare urban youth from underserved communities in New York City to be admitted to college.
The programme uses intensive legal and educational programmes as tools for fostering vision, developing skills, enhancing confidence and facilitating the pursuit of higher education.
Annually, more than 50 Freshfields staff and attorneys from around the global network come together to produce a week-long internship that centres on a corporate law case study.
The most recent case study involved an international contract negotiation between Canada and China on the acquisition of giant pandas. The China and Canada teams of students entered into a multi-issue contract where New York associates led teams to advise the students on negotiating the terms of the agreement.
Preparation for negotiations required the students to conduct due diligence by interviewing Canadian lawyers in New York and lawyers in Freshfields’ Beijing office. The rigorous assignment culminated in a presentation to their respective country boards consisting of Freshfields partners.
Additionally, the programme provided professional and cultural experiences including a meeting with United States Second Circuit Court Judge Lohier, a learning expedition at the Central Park Zoo and an evening on Broadway to see the play To Kill a Mockingbird.
Diversity and passion
The students spoke of the experience being the ‘start of their careers’, stressing how impressed they were with the firm’s diversity and with the passion that everyone at Freshfields has for their profession. Many students expressed a desire to consider a career in law. Indeed, after 12 years of participation, 100 per cent of Freshfields’ Legal Outreach student interns have gone on to four-year colleges in the US.