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Kalia Internship with LSA 2017

2018-02-26 12:58:54

Kalia Laycock-Walsh interned with LSA’s Women and Young Persons’ Department in 2017. Kalia comes all the way from Melbourne, Australia and did her qualifying law degree there. Her internship at LSA followed her completion of a Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford.

Why did you choose to intern with LSA?

I wanted to intern in a law centre so that I could get some hands-on experience and contribute my skills to a worthy cause. I’d visited Glasgow before I started my masters and thought it was an interesting, vibrant city. I asked around and LSA was highly recommended. As soon as I spoke to Farida on the phone about WYPD’s work I knew it would be a great fit.

How did you find interning with the Women and Young Persons’ Department?

I had a fantastic experience. My supervisors consistently took time out of their busy days to explain things to me so that I could do substantive tasks. This meant I learnt a lot and felt like I was actually contributing to the work of the department. I did first drafts of letters, legal and objective evidence research and prepared summaries. One of my favourite tasks was being the key contact person for an Angolan client. I did a high-school exchange in Brazil and was able to use my Portuguese language skills to schedule appointments and read her letters to her. I would say that is the first time it’s come in really handy (if you don’t count talking to the occasional Brazilian backpacker).

How will the skills and experience you gained at LSA be useful in the future?

I learnt a fair bit of ins and outs of UK immigration law, which admittedly won’t be that useful in Australia. Also, unfortunately for us, we don’t have anything analogous to the UK’s Human Rights Act 1998. However, much of asylum law is drawn directly from the Refugee Convention so that’s very transferrable. In the future I’d love to use that knowledge to get involved in legal challenges to Australia’s shameful policy towards asylum seekers. Although, I’m not sure that’s exactly what the Australian Government envisaged when they chose to fund my internship at LSA.

In addition to legal knowledge I had the opportunity to pick up some of the general skills of the solicitors: managing a matter (or dozens), communicating with clients and other parties, and putting together legal arguments. I got a real sense of what it would be like to work in a law centre, which is great because that is something I am considering doing in the future back home in Australia.

Where to next?

After eight years on and off at university I have finally graduated once and for all. I’m heading back to Melbourne, Australia where I’ll do the equivalent of a training contract at a big commercial firm. They work on refugee rights in their pro bono program so I’m hoping to leverage my experience at LSA to get involved with that as much as possible. In the future I’d like to work at a law centre or practice as a barrister - and come back and visit Glasgow of course!