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September 27, 2021
Nam Le, CAS '23
Jingsh Law Firm - Beijing, China
As my internship with Jingsh Law Firm comes to a close and my junior year is just around the corner, I have an opportunity to review my experience and reflect upon its effects on my goals. GRIP, despite a virtual format, delivered a global work experience in a number of ways. My “Law and International Affairs in Beijing” internship lived up to its name by providing a Chinese lens to international legal work and presenting issues specific to China. In reflection, it also deepened my understanding of my future in law.
The greatest privilege of working with Jingsh was doing Chinese legal work that involved international parties. For example, one assignment required me to review an employment contract between a Chinese school and an international employee. The dispute for the client — the employee — was an illegal termination. First, I was able to read through a Chinese employment contract. While it was one of many Chinese documents I had read at that point, it was my first one concerning employment. I then identified all clauses involving termination. When debriefing with my supervisor, she explained the dispute resolution process outlined in the contract. Unlike the United States, in China, the client may apply for arbitration to a Labour Arbitration Committee. She explained that this legal mechanism in China offers workers more leverage in disputes. Not only did this assignment expand my knowledge of legal dispute resolution in China, but it also demonstrated Chinese national values. Constantly reviewing Chinese legal documents and learning about the country’s legal system lent me a virtual, international experience I would not have gotten conventionally.
Additionally, another assignment required me to research how to set up a company in Beijing. The clients, foreign to China, hoped to start a JV in the city. Unfamiliar with the landscape myself, I researched and found different, albeit similar regulations. The most notable areas the government regulated included the media industry, financial investment banking, and telecommunications or the internet. I found the last most interesting because foreign investors are specifically restricted from entering. These complexities presented me with an opportunity to explore laws and regulations significantly different from those of the United States and try to provide legal suggestions. Once again, my internship proved itself to be an international experience by offering a problem that I could not have encountered domestically.
In sum, my GRIP experience consistently positioned me with unique Chinese legal issues and topics. These intimate assignments, from employment contracts to establishing a company in Beijing, confirmed that I like to work with intricate international affairs. Moreover, this internship has taught me that I need not shy away from corporate law — that it can be just as interesting to me as public international law if the environment and work is engaging. I could not be more grateful to the team at GRIP for making this virtual opportunity possible, and to my supervisor for facilitating my growth for the past eight weeks.
The Global Research and Internship Program (GRIP) provides outstanding undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to intern or conduct research abroad for 8 to 12 weeks over the summer. Participants gain career-enhancing experience and global exposure that is essential in a global workforce.