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Law intern suggests program expansion

(China Daily) Updated : 2016-04-11

Zhang Jieying, 25, a doctoral student who specializes in administrative law and the Constitution at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, shared her six-month experience as a legal intern at the Supreme People's Court with China Daily reporter Cao Yin, saying the project was so valuable that it should be expanded to more law schools.

My classmates were very curious when I returned from my internship at the country's top court in Beijing. Many of them also want to be legal interns for the highest chamber, and one peppered me with questions as he prepared his own application.

I had not visited the court before my internship, and my experience changed my impression of the judges. I expected them to be unapproachable, but I found them willing to communicate with me.

To make full use of the internship from October to March, I spent the entire six months in the capital, renting a 10-square-meter room in Chongwenmen for 2,650 yuan ($410) a month. 

An internship at the high court is different from those at grassroots courts. Cases at the top court are complicated and set precedents in the legal industry, which gave me an opportunity to understand the advanced legal concepts with which the top judicial officials contend.

For example, I participated in an administrative case in which a litigant applied for compensation for an improper decision made by a government agency. It was a simple case, but its verdict, still pending, will influence similar disputes, and its result will guide grassroots courts.

The case lasted two weeks. In addition to carefully reading the country's compensation regulations, I identified similar disputes and analyzed them before discussing the case with the judges.

The intern experience also taught me more about how a judicial interpretation is drafted and provided new angles to consider in legal issues. I am keeping in touch with the judges, as I want to further some of the studies that I started at the top court.

I cherished the time in Beijing. If I could change anything, I would make the project better align with the university semester. That would allow the legal interns to thoroughly devote themselves and reduce their time away from the university.