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Speaking English is an important skill for a French lawyer. Many avocats, or solicitors,in Paris run their practices in both French and English, having local and international clients.

After receiving my master degree from La Sorbonne University and having successfully passed the Paris Bar School exam I was looking for a professional experience abroad.

My six-month internship at Eakin McCaffery Cox Lawyers (EMC) has prepared me for future practice as a French avocat.

I was drawn to Australia for its excellent reputation as a country with a dynamic legal market and an enjoyable way of life.  An internship in an Australian law firm is an extraordinary opportunity to improve my English and acquire professional skills.  In my time at EMC I have been involved in many matters and other workings of the firm.  As a result my English has improved to a standard that will be to my advantage for future practice in Paris.  

It has also been a unique opening to many enriching cultural aspects.

Part of my internship comprised attending Court proceedings, mediations and client meetings with senior solicitors. This opened my eyes to the practical distinctions between the French and Australian legal systems but more importantly, it has confirmed for me the two countries’ common foundation in legal theory. Thanks to that common background, I could understand many aspects of Australian law.

I have assisted the partners and solicitors with legal research of Case law and statutes or regulations on specific matters and have drafted documents and emails. The work has improved my understanding of legal notions I was not previously familiar with and added to my legal vocabulary.

It has been a very interesting experience to assist Jennifer Shaw on matters regarding professional responsibility and conduct. Having recently studied the Code of Conduct of the avocats in my final year at the Paris Bar School, I found many similarities between the Legal Profession Conduct Rules in NSW and in Paris and have become more familiar with ethical duties of lawyers in both countries.

Another facet of my internship saw me take up the role of ‘Clerk’. Assisting in the general administration of the firm has helped me to understand the base of the legal work in Australia and the way EMC’s work is organised.

In recent years EMC has hosted four French interns, all from the Paris Bar School. Since November 2016, EMC offers internships of six months directly to the students of the Paris Bar School through the school’s website.

I am very grateful to everyone at EMC for allowing me to have this amazing professional experience in Sydney, and also very glad to see the relationship between EMC and the Paris Bar School set to last.

Rémi Avon