Neasa Ní Bheaglaoich and Niamh Connolly, Interns

By Elizabeth Devine, Sunday, 5th July 2020 | 0 comments

At CLM we have been lucky to have the support, albeit remotely, of some excellent interns over the last few months. Their contribution has been invaluable, particularly during the Covid-19 emergency, when our services were in such strong demand.

Neasa Ní Bheaglaoich, Intern

I worked with CLM for four weeks as part of my placement module at UCD. The internship was incredibly useful as it gave me practical experience and gave me an insight into the work of a law centre such as CLM. I worked on research projects and policy work, tasks that gave me an insight into real-life issues that I would not have experienced in my college work. I was treated as one of the team and made to feel that my work was appreciated and important. The internship allowed me to learn and develop professional skills while learning more about the legal field, something that will stand with me in the future.

Niamh Connolly, Intern

My main motivation for applying for this placement was to gain some real, hands-on experience working with an organisation that provides equal access to justice for all groups within society, especially those who have been excluded or marginalised.

Throughout each of our calls with mentors and any tasks we were presented with, it has been made abundantly clear that the core of the work CLM are engaged in is based on the premise that everyone in society is deserving of access to justice. From the outset, CLM have been willing to allow Neasa and I to engage in their day to day work and encouraged us to get the most out of each task we were presented with, allowing us to learn on our feet and to gain invaluable experience.

Each day Neasa and I prepared what was called the ‘Daily Update Email’ which involved sourcing news articles that highlighted pressing social issues and were of relevance to the work of CLM. In the preparation of the daily update email it really felt that Neasa and I were contributing to the work of CLM and that we were engaging in tasks that actually benefited the organisation and the clients they represent. This task gave me a real sense of what working in a collaborative team would feel like where the work of everyone is important and appreciated and highlighted the need for a flow of information between everyone in order to provide the best service to clients.

Neasa and I took part in two staff meetings with the team which I think highlighted to both of us the need for a strong relationship of trust and support between each member of staff. The welcoming nature of the team from the outset made me feel at ease and meant that I felt comfortable asking questions or requesting clarification on a research task.

Overall, my placement with CLM has been a positive albeit challenging learning curve. Each day I was presented with tasks where I didn’t necessarily ‘know’ what the answers were, hence, this experience has undoubtedly improved my ability to use my problem solving skills in diverse situations that I have not encountered before, a skill that is clearly imperative in the lives of legal practitioners.

I am grateful to the whole team at CLM for the encouragement they have given Neasa and I from the outset. The past four weeks have given me an insight into the nature of working in a collaborative team, where each team member is supportive of one another and where the work of everyone, even an intern, is valued and appreciated.

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