“My experience at JUSTICE was both fulfilling and enjoyable, and one from which I gained a huge amount. After graduating from university, I wanted to experience as much of the legal system as I could. Of all my opportunities, JUSTICE was unique in the breadth of issues on which it focused and the quality of the work that it produced – it was the perfect place for me to sharpen the full spectrum of skills I will need to succeed as a lawyer, and on a variety of issues which really matter. JUSTICE was described by the late Lord Bingham as “the legal conscience of the profession”, but I think it is more than that. Not only has it helped build and develop a strong skeleton of a legal system through which good decisions can be made, but it has highlighted those issues at the heart of the system and guided them through the courts and Parliament. The effect working at JUSTICE has had on my understanding of, and appreciation of the law is remarkable.
I was fortunate enough to be at JUSTICE as it devised a new strategy to enable it to respond fully and effectively to the present challenges the justice system faces. I was able to fully contribute and directly influence the invaluable work JUSTICE was doing and I was encouraged to offer ideas at every opportunity. I left the organisation with a real sense of ownership and pride over the work I had done there. I would whole-heartedly recommend all within legal society to get as involved in JUSTICE’s work as they can, be that as a member, a supporter or a volunteer. In particular, for lawyers just starting out, JUSTICE offers an unrivalled opportunity to sit side-by-side with eminent lawyers and help construct the system in which they will make their careers.”
Alastair is now an Associate at Clifford Chance LLP
“During the 5 months at JUSTICE, a large amount of my work was on a post-conviction case as part of a Third Party Intervention, which was heard at the Supreme Court in my final week. I was also entrusted with legal research around the controversial Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, finding evidence and case examples to illustrate problems with the proposed changes to compensation for miscarriages of justice. The internship also encompassed a variety of talks, grass roots organisation meetings, events, conferences and lectures in Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, luxury hotels, top law firms, the Inns of Court and even the University of Edinburgh! This brought about some fantastic networking opportunities – I met the Lord Chief Justice, top barristers and solicitors, some well-known NGO and pressure group directors, MPs and even the odd celebrity. However, it wasn’t all glamorous. I also delved into the JUSTICE archives, shifting several large boxes of material and dusting off about thirty Annual Reports to comb through for a case trawl. But the end result contributed to our Supreme Court Case and a couple of anecdotes in a footnote to a policy briefing. They were very important ones I assure you…
In all, the hands-on policy work provided an excellent basis to build a legal career. The internship itself has given me much-improved insight into how the law really works – and more importantly, how it might be challenged – in practice. I’m hugely grateful to everyone involved in facilitating it.”
Naomi is now a Research Associate at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford