At my internship this summer, I have been lucky enough to find a great mentor. My internship consists of shadowing a solicitor. I accompany him to court and sit in on client consultations on a daily basis. The solicitor who I shadow has been a great mentor and I have already learned so much from him. Before I started my internship, I knew that this solicitor had a great reputation as one of the best lawyers in Ireland. However, I didn’t realize just how well-respected he is. When he walks into the courtroom his clients flock to him. He makes sure he addresses every concern that is brought to him even if he is in a rush. The most important thing I have learned from the solicitor I work with is the importance of building rapport with your client. Without mutual respect and trust, the client may not trust you and therefore give you all of the information that you need to represent them as best you can. Additionally, if the client does not trust you for any reason, they may seek representation elsewhere. One way that I have noticed that the solicitor I work with builds rapport with his clients is speaking to them simply, asks them how they are doing, and tells them about his life. For example, one night he went to a concert and the next day he was showing his clients videos from the concert and asking them if they knew the music. Not only does the solicitor I work with respect his clients, he always goes the extra mile for them. For example, if a client is sentenced to time in jail, he always makes sure to see them before they are taken to prison to see if they want any family contacted or if they need anything. He will call whoever the client requests and is very patient when they get emotional or ask loads of questions. Before I started this internship, I only knew how to deal with a certain type of client. Interacting with clients involved in criminal cases on a daily basis has taught me how to deal with a much more diverse group of people which will not only help me in my future professional career but also in different situations I may find myself in in my personal life.
Besides teaching me about the legal profession, the solicitor I work with has also taken the time to teach me about the Irish culture. During our lunch breaks or on our walk to court he’ll tell me about Irish history, Irish sports such as Gaelic football and hurling, and fun facts about Ireland. Not only has this information been so interesting to learn, it has also helped me better acclimate to the completely new culture I have immersed myself in.