Originally from Luxembourg, Nelson Vanderfelt is a student of the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.). He feels his experiences at IE University have been fundamental in getting his internship and completing it successfully.

IE University encourages all students to partake in internships throughout their studies, not only to gain practical experience prior to graduation but to confirm their interest in a specific area before committing to a post-graduation role. Nelson Vanderfelt made the most of IE University’s network of support and landed himself a competitive law internship.

Nelson spoke to us about why he’s interested in pursuing a career in law, his internship at the top global law firm Allen & Overy, and how he feels IE University helped him both secure his internship opportunity and thrive during it.

What is it about a career in law that entices you?

While this may sound rather cliché, law has fascinated me since a young age. I was always very invested in the analysis and understanding of the moral compass which makes up our world and transpires through the legal profession. It is this sense of understanding right from wrong and “fighting” toward a defined end goal that particularly attracts me to the profession. 

A career in law also allows me to develop a sharp, valuable knowledge of the world around me while offering me the opportunity to work in an international, communal and productive environment.

Where did you intern and what was your position? 

I had the incredible opportunity to intern at the law firm Allen & Overy in Luxembourg. I was based in the tax department of the firm and was responsible for conducting legal research to provide clients with valuable and precise advice on the various tax-related questions that they presented. My day was mostly spent working either independently or with the other members of my department. Allen & Overy did an excellent job providing an interactive internship experience, especially as I was able to move around the office to receive IT training, assist in client meetings and interact with other interns.

How did you hear about this opportunity and why were you interested in applying?

I found out about this internship opportunity directly from Allen & Overy’s network. Prior to my studies at IE University, I completed a shadowing internship with one of Allen & Overy’s tax partners, which has helped me stay up-to-date with the firm’s opportunities ever since. 

Allen & Overy does a fantastic job at breeding an atmosphere of inclusion and attachment to their firm. This makes recurring internship opportunities a true way to explore various departments and teams while being eased into the firm’s spirit year by year. I was particularly interested in applying as I believed a truly professional experience would enhance and solidify the knowledge I acquired over my past two years at IE University. Specifically, exploring the realm of tax law, which I had not yet studied, would give a great kickstart to the course I will be completing in my third year.

How do you feel your IE University experience helped you secure this opportunity?

I believe that my IE University experience not only assisted me in securing this internship but also in being able to complete it successfully. The career development training offered by IE University is a fantastic way to build a strong resume that stands out from the rest. 

The true international atmosphere that IE University breeds also allows you to present yourself as a valuable candidate when applying for a world-renowned and established law firm such as Allen & Overy. Finally, the knowledge I gathered from my immersive courses allowed me to be a valuable addition to my team, especially as I understood and could complete the tasks put in front of me.

What would you highlight about this experience?

While the professional environment of the firm was incredible and definitely stands out as a highlight, I believe the people who surrounded me are what made my experience at Allen & Overy so memorable. Not only was I able to meet dedicated and inspiring professionals, but I also made friends who I will certainly have for the rest of my life.

The collaborative and synergic atmosphere encouraged by the firm is refreshing and welcomed in a legal world that is usually known to prioritize individual work and personal accomplishment. Also, the importance placed on having a work-life balance is what made Allen & Overy such a wonderful law firm to work for.

What did the selection process consist of? 

The selection process for Allen & Overy usually starts in September, so I would suggest applying early. Once they pull their top candidates, they conduct interviews and make their final selection.From my personal experience, as I had never studied tax law prior to my internship, I was asked to follow some basic online courses to help me grasp the fundamental concepts. I would advise potential applicants to apply for a department that interests them, especially as the firm is keen to enable its recruits to discover areas that they are passionate about or want to delve into more thoroughly. It is essential to be somewhat knowledgeable of the area of law which makes up your assigned department, so being proactive is key.

Would you recommend your experience to future Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) students?

I would highly recommend an internship at Allen & Overy for any aspiring law student looking to gain instructive and hands-on experience in a large yet welcoming law firm. Allen & Overy counts an impressive network of firms all over the world and as a result, remains accessible from many different big cities. I had a fantastic experience and look forward to potentially working with Allen & Overy again in the near future.