Sixth Form Work Experience – Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton


“There is no doubt that without first hand experiences, learning is less impactful. Theory is all very well, but it is only when one is required to put theory into practice that it really comes alive. It was Dr Maria Montessori who said: “Only practical work and experience lead the young to maturity.” This belief sits at the heart of the Montessori philosophy of education and is relevant for all ages, not just for the very young. It is particularly relevant for teenagers as they transition into independent young adults and start to plan for their next phase.”

Elizabeth Kelleher, Head of Business, Economics and Careers, Cranleigh Abu Dhabi

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton says:

We believe that in today’s competitive economy, it is crucial that students make completing an internship a top priority.

Choosing a career path is challenging and making the wrong choice of university degree or vocational study programme simply because of a misperception can be a damaging and costly mistake. Working in the real world is very different to how it is portrayed in the movies. It is almost impossible for young people to really understand the highs and lows of a particular industry or profession if they have not had an opportunity to experience it first-hand.

A further benefit of relevant work experience is the competitive advantage it gives over other candidates applying for the same position. Evidence of a meaningful period of time spent as an intern strengthens a résumé, demonstrating to interview panels that the candidate has tenacity, initiative and ambition. Practically speaking, internships provide students with skills and experience that they cannot acquire in a school setting.

Our programme is designed to introduce students to as wide a variety of tasks as possible, exposing them to different departments with the firm. This is the best way to provide insights into the breadth of the legal profession, and also into what office life is like.

During Mohamed’s time with us, he worked with all of our administrative departments and was actively and diligently involved in the projects and tasks assigned to him. He researched, compiled, tabulated and analysed data and supported the Finance Manager with filing. Mohamed was trained on our client database to allow him to update client records, and he assisted team members with planning, organisational, technical and professional tasks. Finally, he prepared and presented reports, was able to work on policies and procedures and used his interpersonal and communication skills to respond to a wide range of requests for information.

Gada Gad El Mawla, Office Manager, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP

Year 12 Intern says:

During my time at international law firm, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, I was able to gain experience in a number of different areas of the business. I started with simple jobs such as restocking the printers with paper and helping with filing.

When I became more familiar with how the office operated, I transitioned to working directly with one of the lawyers, who set me weekly tasks that required me to seek guidance from various different executives and then report back to them. These tasks included online research, data analysis, client database management and some work on policies and procedures.

I was given my own desk and treated professionally as a member of the team. I was expected to manage my own time and take responsibility for completing the work given to me. Being one hundred percent accountable for my workload meant I had to learn to become more focused and avoid distractions which was definitely a learning curve. It also forced me to divide my time carefully to make sure I was able to complete the different jobs I had to manage within the deadlines I had been set.

I really benefitted from the discipline of the working approach at the firm. I have learned that attention to detail, timeliness and delivering on your commitments are non-negotiable aspects of being a useful and respected member of a team. These same skills will also be important for me when I go to university as I will be totally responsible for my own learning and ultimately, my own success. 

Even though it is not my career ambition to become a lawyer, my time at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has really helped me to know how to act and what to expect within a professional work environment and that is extremely valuable.

Year 12 Intern, Mohamed