Northern Michigan University student Ashley Foster of Buffalo Grove, Ill., experienced an internship that allowed her an up-close and personal view of the Irish legal system. She spent most of the summer near Dublin, working primarily at Alice O’Reilly Solicitors and occasionally at Holohan Solicitors. Both are firms specializing in criminal, personal injury and civil law.
The biochemistry major hopes to one day work in a forensics laboratory. Her internship duties ranged from client prison visits, consultations and hearings to routine tasks such as organizing case files, answering phones and typing letters and e-mails.
“I think one of the best parts of my internship at Alice O’Reilly Solicitors was the fact that I went into work every morning not really knowing what I was going to be doing that day,” she wrote in an essay about the trip.
Foster first learned of opportunities in Ireland from an NMU International Programs representative at a spring job fair. She passed a series of interviews leading to the internship. Foster said she was able to draw comparisons between Irish and American law and their judicial systems while working closely with clients.
Foster’s only regret was her relatively short stay in Ireland. She tried to absorb as much as possible in three months, exploring parts of the country, visiting family abroad and taking side trips to Spain and England. But the internship enabled her to gain practical experience and an international perspective. The combination might give her an edge in the job market.
“It opened my eyes to working in a different environment and learning to interact with different kinds of people,” she said. “I developed a close working relationship with three lawyers at the firm. When I left after three months, I cried.”
Foster appeared to have left a lasting impression on them, too. She was asked to stay at the firm. Her parents told her she needed to finish her degree first, but Foster is determined to go back after graduation.
“I never really had a desire to go to Ireland, but I’m so glad I did,” she said. “This whole experience in general is one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life.”