A Day in the Life of a Leader-in-Training
Legal briefings, litigation, and international law are not terms usually heard on a high school student’s spring break - but for refugee youth participating in IRC’s Leaders-in-Training (LIT) program, legalese became a highlight of their holiday.
On Tuesday, April 26, nine students from the IRC in New York’s Refugee Youth Program experienced an exciting day of career exploration at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP, a leading international law firm with offices in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The career day sought to expose students to life at a law office, while possibly sparking their interest in a legal career.
The visit to Freshfields started off with a large breakfast and a “mini Law School” session, during which students received a crash course in the American judicial system. After that, students learned about various Freshfields departments that lawyers depend on: paralegal, public relations, and finance. To fully engage the students present, a mock case involving Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga was presented and the Leaders-in-Training were asked to assemble briefing books for the trial. When the race to line up evidence and paperwork ended, the entire staff at Freshfields joined the LITs for lunch in a magnificient conference room overlooking Central Park. Students received one-on-one attention from Freshfields staff and chatter about countries of origin, special talents, and hopes for future careers abounded.
As lunch finished, students prepped for the afternoon’s mock trial - a time to act out all that they had learned throughout the day. With the help of some of Freshfields’ top lawyers, students were divided into two teams and spent 45 minutes devising their arguments and delineating roles for the “Court Room”. After thoroughly reviewing their cases, students gathered to present their cases to a “Supreme Court” made up of Freshfields’ senior staff. While both teams delivered persuasive arguments, the judges’ long deliberation determined one group as the winner.
The Freshfields staff worked hard to create a memorable day for the Leaders-in-Training program, and the students were extremely appreciative for the invaluable experience and attention. While the purpose of the visit was career exploration, for many students, it became career confirmation. At the end of the day, only one complaint was heard: “Why can’t we start working here now?”
A heartfelt thank you goes out to all of the staff at Freshfields, especially to Viktoria for putting together such a wonderful and truly educational program.