In an increasingly globalized world, understanding how law is practiced in different countries is indispensable. This comprehensive perspective is especially important in New York City, where many cultures and traditions interact on a daily basis. The opportunity to experience the practice of law in such a location provides many benefits and invaluable learning.
The Foreign Internship Program (FIP) at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP enables attorneys worldwide to spend several months at a prestigious New York City law firm. Celebrating its 100th year, Patterson Belknap is an independent law firm of 200 lawyers who develop long-standing relationships with clients in a variety of practice areas, ranging from corporate law to complex commercial litigation to art and museum law. Its lawyers consistently receive high levels of recognition; in 2018, the Firm was listed among the top 20 United States law firms on The American Lawyer’s “A-List”. In addition to excellence in performance, Patterson Belknap prides itself on its collegial atmosphere. Its variety of resource groups – Out at Patterson, Patterson Attorneys of Color, and Women Lawyers at Patterson – demonstrate its commitment to providing a culture of welcome and support. Finally, the Firm maintains a strong dedication to service. For each of the past 15 years, 100% of its lawyers have participated in pro bono work, allowing it to establish a familiar presence in the communities it serves.
Patterson Belknap’s high performance level, respectful environment, and willingness to serve create an ideal platform for its Foreign Internship Program. Nearly 30 years old, the FIP offers both junior and experienced attorneys from different countries the opportunity to work and live as New York City lawyers. Patterson Belknap has welcomed interns from almost 20 countries across Europe, Latin America, and Asia. The program is unique in a variety of ways, notably the deep and individualized immersion of its participants into many areas of the law and the continued relationships between the Firm and participants, long after they depart.
Acceptance into the program is contingent on high academic achievement and fluency in English. Candidates, who may or may not hold an LLM degree, usually have at least four years of experience practicing law and receive formal sponsorship from their firms to participate in the program. If admitted, participants intern at Patterson Belknap for three to four months, with the opportunity to extend their stay in order to complete any remaining matters before returning to their firms. Throughout their time in New York City, interns complete substantive work in a wide spectrum of legal areas, including litigation, arbitration, pro bono work, and corporate deals. Because Patterson Belknap hosts only one intern at time, participants receive a high level of individualized attention. The knowledge and experience they gain, however, is not limited to technical legal matters. Interns are invited to social events, which provide valuable chances to network with other city-based lawyers.
The skills and experiences provided by the FIP prepare interns to return to their firms with a greater understanding of the legal field in New York City, as well as a deep connection with Patterson Belknap. The relationship works symbiotically; interns bring their New York City contacts to their firms, and Patterson Belknap lawyers build relationships and gain local intelligence on new markets. The strength of the experience also links interns to one another, even if they haven’t met in person. All of these contacts form an ever-expanding network of high-performing international lawyers.
The impact of interning with Patterson Belknap cannot be overstated. Past interns report that their time in New York City was pivotal in terms of their career prospects and personal development:
“I joined Patterson Belknap as a foreign intern in September 2014 and was immediately involved in a variety of capital markets and private equity transactions. I also had an opportunity to assist other Firm attorneys in the areas of antitrust and corporate-related matters, including M&A transactions and government contracting. It was an incredible experience for me and helped, in part, shape my career upon returning to Switzerland. Not only I was able to learn and closely work with some of the best lawyers NYC has to offer, but I also made friends for life.” – Anna-Antonina Gottret, Esq. of Kellerhals Carrard
“Patterson Belknap uniquely combines being a large organization with professionalism and an amazingly friendly work environment. Straight away, the entire staff gave me the feeling of being part of a family. The assignments and clients were highly interesting, and the opportunities for networking and forming personal friendships were unparalleled. I am very grateful for this exceptional experience, which I would recommend to anyone. I only wish I could have stayed longer.” – Asaf Beck, Esq. of Isrotel (previously of Yehuda Raveh & Co)
These testimonials demonstrate the power of practicing law in New York City and connecting with lawyers around the globe. Patterson Belknap is committed to building the knowledge and networks of its foreign interns, and this dedication continues to yield concrete results. To inquire further into the Foreign Internship Program, please contact Michelle W. Cohen, Patterson Belknap’s Chief People, Diversity and Professional Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.