Erica Sanders

September 2014
Please briefly describe where you worked this summer and what you did.

This summer I interned at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce (The Court) in Paris. It was a truly amazing experience that has given me valuable training and even more valuable connections. Among other things, my work at The Court involved analyzing arbitration requests, drafting documents for Court sessions, and conducting research on arbitration law and policy.

What did you learn that was related to your studies in Law?

To be honest I can’t recall any truly “law-school-related” moments.  What made work so fun was that it was very DIFFERENT from law school. It was great having the opportunity to read and analyze submissions/arbitral awards. It was very hands-on.  At McGill, I’ve had the gift of learning from professors who are the crème de la crème of the international arbitration community. At the same time, there is nothing like real-world practical experience, which is exactly what I got at The Court.

What did you learn that was unrelated to your studies in Law?

It was really nice building friendships with the other interns. It was interesting to watch our dynamics. During work we were 100% business, but then after work we transitioned into more carefree versions of ourselves. I think sometimes law students think they must build a proverbial brick wall around themselves when it comes to relationships with colleagues, and to an extent that can certainly be true, and perhaps often necessary. At the same time, this experience showed me that appropriate friendships can be found in workmates.

What are you taking with you from your summer into the academic year?

The most valuable thing I will take with me from my summer experience is a reaffirmed confidence in my abilities as a future lawyer. The Court was supportive of my development as an intern, but at the same time gave me room to work autonomously.  There was no hand holding. I was accountable for my work and for my results, which made the positive feedback I received all the more rewarding.

Anything else you want to add?

I would like to encourage students not to overlook unpaid opportunities. I may not have received money for my work, but I have certainly been rewarded. The connections I built and experiences I gained have opened up fantastic opportunities that I would have missed out on had I only focused on the financial side of things.

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