King & Wood Mallesons (Hong Kong) internship report - Katrina Fong
King & Wood Mallesons (Hong Kong)
7 January 2013 – 1 February 2013
Outline of my internship
My four-week internship was at the King & Wood Mallesons (“KWM”) office in Hong Kong where I sat in the Dispute Resolution practice group. Across the board there were eight clerks in my internship period, and we were all from Australia. The internship started with a two-day induction program where we learnt the technology and research skills which would enable us to get through our placement. We were each assigned a supervising Partner, Development Coach and Buddy to oversee our work and ensure that we had an effective support network throughout the four weeks in Hong Kong.
The tasks we were allocated as clerks varied widely and really depended on which lawyer was assigning the work. Some of the clerks were asked to produce research memorandums whilst others were sent to court and asked to write a report from their observations. In my team, the three clerks (myself and two others) assisted in updating and editing the Hong Kong Civil Procedure “White Book”, drafting judgments for the Hong Kong University Moot Competition, preparing document bundles to be used in court proceedings, and of course, countless research tasks.
Apart from these team tasks, I was also asked to work independently on two major projects. The first task involved developing a three-hour seminar on Hong Kong’s new Competition Ordinance which was presented to the Hong Kong Securities and Investments Institute. The second task was to assist in the production of a two-hour presentation on “condition precedent” clauses in insurance contracts which was presented to the Insurance Institute of Hong Kong. On both these projects, I produced a PowerPoint presentation with accompanying notes, and drafted case studies with model answers which could be presented at the seminars.
About my host organisation
KWM is considered to be a leading law firm in the Asian region. It has 21 offices globally including offices in Australia, Hong Kong and China. The firm is made up of 380 partners and 1800 lawyers worldwide and prides itself on being the only firm that can practice Australian, PRC, Hong Kong and English law. The Hong Kong office can be broadly divided into three main practice areas: Corporate & Securities, Dispute Resolution and Banking & Finance.
Total cost of my internship experience
• Flights Melbourne to Hong Kong return: $1300 (mostly covered by Law Faculty Student Mobility Fund and Monash Abroad Travel Scholarship)
• Accommodation: Stayed with family
• Other expenses (food, public transport): $1200
Who will suit this internship
The internship is probably best suited to those in their penultimate year of study. I think that the internship is a good opportunity for those students who have a keen interest in (or are seriously considering) starting their legal careers outside of Australia, particularly in the Asian region. However, the firm also encourages students to apply if they wish to gain international experience (regardless of where they want to start their careers).
Advice for others wanting to apply for internship
My advice would be for students to submit an application! From my experience, the firm was very keen to have Australian students onboard as clerks (remembering that my clerkship group were all from Australia) or even trainees in the future.
As the applications open very early in the year, it is also a good chance for students to secure an internship before the Australian clerkships open up. The process itself is easy and straightforward to get through – just a couple application forms and a Skype-call interview. The interview is very conversational so don’t be afraid to be yourself!
One of the other things to think about is whether or not you want to become qualified to practice in the Hong Kong jurisdiction. The path to qualifying in Hong Kong is quite different to Australia and the firm is likely to ask whether you will consider putting yourself down for a traineeship contract opportunity in future.
The best experience of my internship came in the last week of the placement when I was invited to attend the Competition Ordinance seminar I had been working on for one of the counsels. It was such a rewarding experience to see how I had contributed to a project and how my work had been interpreted for use in the presentation. Generally however, I really enjoyed getting to work alongside the KWM team, particularly the trainee solicitors who took a real interest in the clerks. I also enjoyed the amount of responsibility and independence I was given, and the variety in the work I was delegated as a clerk.
About Katrina Fong
Katrina is currently undertaking a combined Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws degree. She has completed four years of study and am about to embark on her final year of study. Entering into the final stages of her degree, she felt it was important to start gaining practical legal experience and ascertaining which firm might be the right platform to start her legal career. She felt that the internship would help her to discover her interests and decide what areas she would like to specialise in later on in her career. Having participated in the Monash Prato Law Program in 2011, she realised the importance of having an international perspective when analysing commercial and legal issues and hoped that completing an internship in a foreign jurisdiction would help to develop her international lens.