Law Reform Commission launches annual access internship

Law Reform Commission launches annual access internship

The Law Reform Commission has launched an annual access internship aimed at promoting wider access to entering the legal professions.

Following a successful pilot in 2021, the law reform body said it had decided to play a part in widening access by running the internship, open to final year law students, on an annual basis.

Leanne Caulfield, a senior researcher who devised the internship, said: “It can be difficult for candidates from lower socio-economic backgrounds and candidates with disabilities to gain the practical experience required to establish themselves on career paths in law. They lack connections, they lack confidence and they lack social and cultural capital.

“Their disadvantage is often compounded by financial strains and the fact that, for many students, there is no family history of participation in higher education. Paid, accessible work experience opportunities are therefore particularly important for students from lower-socio economic backgrounds and students with disabilities.”

Interns will gain practical experience, undertaking focused legal research work as part of a project team, with one-to-one mentoring from the Commission’s legal researchers. The internship will provide experience of working in a legal environment and the opportunity to gain knowledge regarding the various career paths open to law graduates, including careers in the public sector.

The scheme’s inaugural access intern, James Donohoe, ended his internship on a high note with an offer of a position as a judicial assistant at the Courts Service.

Mr Donohoe said: “A legal career can often seem unattainable to those from less affluent backgrounds or to those that did not take a direct route into law. I do not think that I could have asked for a better internship.

“I was encouraged to carry out the type of work that I have never had the opportunity to do and the level of detailed feedback I received has benefited me immensely. It will stand to me for the rest of my career.

“The access internship has encouraged me to apply for jobs that I would never have considered before and helped to shape my career objectives. The access internship has the potential to help many graduates who are struggling to begin a career in law but may just need an extra bit of support.”

More information about the access internship is available from the Law Reform Commission website.

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