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Inaugural Intern at the Guernica Academy, Miss Chelsea Leonard, Blogs About her 3-Month Experience

Guernica Academy Blog

I have spent the last three months working as a legal intern for Guernica Academy. I worked remotely, three days a week. As a recent law graduate, I was hoping to gain legal experience before commencing the BPC.

I have learned more than I ever imagined. I had prepared myself to be completing monotonous tasks, but I was immediately encouraged and given the opportunity to get actively involved in cases. Following cases from researching and identifying the claim/s to drafting documents. It has been a very rich and fulfilling experience.

Throughout the internship, the work has been incredibly varied, I have had the opportunity to assist in drafting skeleton arguments, grounds for Judicial review, INTERPOL red notice challenges, advice on quantum, and preparing background research into articles of the ECHR, jurisprudence, and statutory authority.

The biggest task I had, and one I was very lucky to be involved in, was to conduct legal research on International Court of Justice jurisprudence citing violations of the UN Torture Convention which contributed to preparing a case against the Syrian government.

Gaining insight into the historical and political development of countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Libya has been incredibly eye-opening and has allowed me to engage with an area of human rights that I had very little knowledge of before starting with Guernica.

Coming from a low-income background it can be difficult to undertake mini-pupillages and other forms of unpaid experience to gain exposure within the legal industry. Financially, being able to afford travel to and from Chambers and dedicate hours to unpaid work is not possible for many, myself included. It is incredible that Guernica37 recognises this, and not only that but has taken active steps to bridge the gap for students from low-income backgrounds.

I have gained countless invaluable transferable skills. This experience has been vital for both personal and professional development and has given me a competitive edge going forward in my legal career. I am grateful that the internship was also shaped around me and what I wanted out of it. What skills I wanted to develop as per my career goals. Without a doubt, Guernica has equipped me with the skills required to be successful as I move to the next stage of my professional life.

The barristers at Guernica are incredibly inspiring, dedicated, and hardworking; the fact that Guernica do a lot of pro-bono work speaks volumes as to their values. This experience has proved invaluable in informing my career path, and I feel even more motivated and passionate to pursue a career at the criminal bar.

I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone with an interest in criminal and human rights law to apply. I cannot begin to express my gratitude to Guernica for this opportunity and for making me feel welcomed and supported from the very first day.


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