Inside the Linklaters virtual programme
Linklaters launched their virtual internship experience programme in August 2019, providing greater accessibility to legal work experience than ever before.
This programme for 16 to 18 year-olds – the first of its kind – was introduced by Linklaters, a multinational magic circle law firm, on Forage (formerly InsideSherpa), a platform for virtual internships.
The virtual internship saw over 1,000 students enrol in the first 24 hours, rising to over 18,000 during the pandemic.
The Linklaters virtual internship experience provides an insightful opportunity to convert theory into action. There is no application process and you can enrol into the internship all year round through Forage.
Enrolling onto the virtual experience I was able to step into the shoes of a magic circle law firm intern and have first-hand insight into a regular day at the firm, albeit without the pressure of meeting deadlines.
The internship is divided into six modules, each providing insight into various service areas offered by the firm.
Module 1: researching the firm, to state its suitability for mergers and acquisitions
It’s ok to take your time when researching the firm.
Although there are no deadlines for each task, it is recommended you complete them within the stated approximate time limit. It took me around 60 hours to research the firm, placing them under the microscope and examining their strategy and employment history.
This gives you a chance to have a closer look into the work ethic of the firm, helping you to provide more accurate answers.
One of the most vital benefits this internship provides you with is enhancement of your legal skills and application of knowledge, while allowing you to make mistakes. This is why the internship modules come with model answers and allow you to edit your work as many times as needed.
Module 2: drafting a due diligence email
Due diligence is a process to analyse the soundness of an enterprise. As the consortium in the case study has agreed to partner with Linklaters, it wants to be sure of making the acquisition a successful one.
In order for this to happen, it is crucial that you understand this task, so you can conduct the right research and provide a concise answer to the module, as the process is expensive and time consuming.
Start by understanding the general concept of what is involved in the due diligence process, and apply your knowledge to answer the question. This would later be accumulated in a due diligence report.
Module 3: creating a voicemail on commercial dispute resolution options
It is essential to understand commercial dispute resolution options:
- alternative dispute resolution (ADR) (includes negotiation, mediation and arbitration)
- litigation (court-based option to formally solve disputes)
Most importantly, you must understand the difference between them. In case you are not familiar with the options, I suggest you learn the processes for both. Then, use your persuasive skills to reason your way through the suggestion. Be precise, sharp and confident, and most importantly, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
If you intend to work in ADR, it’s likely you will enjoy this module the most. It gives you a working insight into the area and allows you to develop your communication skills for face-to-face interactions with your clients.
Module 4: errors that can be identified by artificial intelligence (AI)
This can be a tricky one. You have to read a sample non-disclosure agreement and highlight any errors and suggest if those errors could be corrected by AI.
It is crucial you can identify mistakes and align them with an AI point of view. You need to have a strong eye for detail, an in-depth knowledge of how AI is used in legal terms, and what it will be able to catch when it proofreads a document.
Module 5: share price agreements (SPA) execution requirements and electronic signature
This task was a particularly difficult one for me, because I had no clue what the execution requirements for a SPA were.
However, the internship is not here to test your legal knowledge, rather your approach to a problem that you will probably know little about in advance, using the documents provided to help you.
Make good use of the documents provided under the module’s resources, as these are all you need to provide a clear-cut answer.
When going through these documents, continuously question the relevance of the data with the task at hand. If the data does not aid the execution requirements of the SPA, it does not require further investigation.
When considering the e-signature of the SPA, it is also crucial to be familiar with the company hierarchy, as you need to specify the authority who will grant the e-signature.
Module 6: final email to the client on fees charged
You are required here to specify the final amount of fees charged and the reasons for exceeding the pre-decided fee amount based on a trail of emails. Here, your analytical and drafting skills must be on point.
When analysing, you must be eagle-eyed to spot and account for the reasons where the fee has crossed beyond, or remained below, the estimated amount. By now, you should be a world champion in drafting accurate emails and tailoring them according to the seniority level you are communicating with.
Finally, always proofread all your answers before submitting them. Post-submission, compare them with the provided model answer.
It is also good to keep up with what Linklaters are doing, through attending events or even becoming an ambassador post-internship.
Completing the internship and keeping up to date with the firm increases the chances of gaining a training contract with them.