My six-week Aurora internship placement was with Andrew Collett, a local Adelaide Barrister. When I signed up for the Aurora Internship Program, I thought my internship would directly and solely relate to native title claims. Since native title is an area of law that is only touched upon in Property law, I thought that my placement would involve an overview of what the law is, what native title claims are currently pending and a series of uniform tasks that related to those claims.
The reality of my internship was very different to what I had expected, but it was a far more rewarding, beneficial and enlightening experience than I could have ever anticipated. Rather than being spoon fed information, I was given responsibility and a real opportunity to use the skills that I have obtained at university. I quickly learnt that my skills weren’t as sharp as I had first thought however as my internship progressed I became more confident and competent in what I was doing. Looking back on my time with Andrew, I learnt more practical legal skills than I have in any university law subject to date.
My role involved legal research, attending court hearings, documenting information, drafting statements and preparing other documents. During the six-week internship period, Andrew was working on multiple cases with a variety of law firms in Adelaide; this was a great opportunity for me to learn how the different firms operate and the standard that is expected of me, as a future law graduate.
Each day the nature of the work changed and I was able to gain extremely valuable first hand experience in a variety of different practices such as attending Supreme Court hearings and attending mediation conferences and strategy meetings.
The majority of my work involved working with Aboriginal Organisations who dealt with a variety of issues, including native title. This meant that, while I was not directly dealing with native title claims, I was assisting in the operation of organisations that then dealt with such claims. This put the scale of native title into perspective and helped me realise that a native title claim is bigger than the law governing it and there are many different legal issues that must be processed to allow these organisations to function.
I highly recommend applying for an Aurora internship. I don’t know of any other programs that allow you to gain practical experience while working on a one-on-one basis with a successful barrister, on an extremely interesting component of the law.
Visit the Aurora Project for more information about the Aurora Native Title Internship Program: http://www.auroraproject.com.au/nativetitleinternshipprogram.