Insight: a JustRight Intern

We recently partnered up with the University of Glasgow’s Employability Programme to welcome a group of interns into our JustRight Scotland team.  Lily Braunholtz joined us in December 2018 on a placement funded by the excellent Santander Universities UK.  Here’s what she had to say about it!

How did you hear about us?

Like many students experience, I have found reaching the final year at university exciting but also rather daunting, and thoughts about future plans and which career path to follow are sometimes a bit overwhelming. From early on in my legal studies, I knew that my interest and passion for my degree was rooted in social justice and equality. As I considered my post-graduate plans, I wanted to gain some experience working for an organisation that held these values central to their work.

I first heard about JustRight Scotland at an event organised by the University discussing internships and opportunities to work in social justice. Their emphasis on collaborative work with other NGOs and Scottish firms, and the range of projects they work on stood out to me as being an invaluable place to intern. I was particularly interested in their Scottish Migrant and Refugee Centre, as immigration is an area of law that I wanted to learn more about in practice. After seeing an opportunity to work as an intern with JustRight through the Santander Internship Programme on the University website, I applied and was delighted to be offered the place.

What kind of work do you do?

Following an interesting and thorough training day, highlighting the sensitive nature of JustRight’s work and elaborating on some of the legal issues we are likely to encounter as interns, I started with them in early December 2018. Each week I am instructed by a solicitor to carry out tasks such as corresponding with clients, interpreters, Tribunals and Expert Witnesses. The work I help with is largely in relation to their Scottish Migrant and Refugee Centre, however cases of human trafficking and exploitation also feature in the cases I encounter. Every day has been different and the tasks I carry out vary hugely, from helping compile objective research for a client’s asylum claim or appeal, drafting letters to the Home Office, helping compile bundles of productions to go to Court and investigating very specific points of law. From the very first day in the office, everyone has welcomed me as a member of the team and has been kind, supportive and put up with my questions!

The importance of the work JustRight Scotland does is always at the forefront of my mind when I am in their office. The serious nature of the cases and the many barriers asylum seekers and victims of human trafficking face in the UK’s complex immigration system make the work at times challenging and frustrating. But the positivity of the team at JustRight has been inspiring to see. The impact of the support, advice and legal representation they offer to those who are most vulnerable makes it a hugely rewarding place to intern.

What’s next?

Working for JustRight Scotland has not only taught me professional skills that I will certainly use in the future, but it is also an experience that has helped me better understand the incredible reach of a small organisation. I have learnt more about the use of strategic litigation, ways the law can be used to promote policy change, and how collaborative work with outside organisations can help facilitate access to justice.

I have recently been accepted to study a Masters in International Migration and Refugee law in Amsterdam this September, and look forward drawing on the knowledge and experience I have gained as an intern for JustRight Scotland there. It has been a truly rewarding internship and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to work with such a hard-working, professional and progressive organisation.

We’d like to thank the University of Glasgow and Santander Universities for their initiative, and of course a huge thanks to Lily for her outstanding work – we wish her all the best for the next chapter!