Cody Humpherys Spent 1L Summer in Big Law Firm’s Australia Office
Cody Humpherys, 2L, spent this summer in Australia working in the employment group of Baker McKenzie’s Sydney office.
Could you describe a little bit about your summer experience in Australia?
During my time working at Baker McKenzie’s Sydney, Australia office, I conducted research, prepared court documents, and took notes during client meetings, mediations, and court proceedings. One of the unique features of my experience in Sydney was the opportunity to perform research for multinational clients. There were a number of projects I worked on where it was my task to survey the laws of several different countries on a particular topic, and provide a comprehensive report which would inform the policy or action of our client.
What are a couple of your key takeaways from the experience?
I was surprised by how much I genuinely enjoyed the work that I was involved in. I looked forward to coming into work every day, and this experience has provided me with a lot of motivation and direction as I move forward in law school and in my career. I can only chalk this up to the power of practical experience. In light of this, I plan to emphasize experiential learning as much as I can going forward (which is easy to do here at Minnesota Law).
I also learned the value of asking questions. The Australian legal system is different from the American system in many respects. If I had not been proactive about getting to know the people I worked with and relying on them when I had questions, my experience would not have been nearly as valuable.
What was it like living in Australia for a summer?
Living in Sydney was incredible. Even though it was winter while I was there, the weather was very mild—it was even warm enough to go for a swim at the beach a couple of times. There were plenty of things to do, see, and eat. Some of my highlights included exploring Paddy’s Market, getting around via ferry, eating fish and chips in Sydney Harbour, and spending a weekend in the blue mountains.
Why did you choose to go to Australia?
I was interested in having an experience in another country. I think a lot of growth can take place when you surround yourself with people who are different from you.
How did you find this particular summer placement?
Networking was the driving force behind this opportunity. I tried to get an early start on this front, and was fortunate to make the acquaintance of a lawyer, via my undergraduate network, who was willing to pass my application materials along to the firm.
How does this summer job connect to your long-range plans?
Prior to my externship at Baker McKenzie, I was particularly interested in employment litigation. My experience at the firm affirmed this interest. Next summer, I hope to work at a firm where I can gain further employment defense experience.
What advice would you offer another Minnesota Law student looking do this or something similar for a summer?
I don’t know that I can offer any novel advice on this subject. I would recommend reaching out to individuals who have worked for firms with a strong international reach, or who have worked abroad. If possible, get to know alumni of the Law School or your undergraduate alma mater who fit this profile. In addition to this, there are a number of firms which host summer programs for American law students in various cities throughout the world, such as London and Hong Kong. This can be another avenue to a summer experience abroad with a global firm.