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Thai Law Insights

Summer Internship at CSBC Law Offices: Perspectives from a Foreign Second Year Law Student

Supawit (Zen) Kitisook (2016 Thammasat Legal Intern)

What is it like working at a law firm? This question has undoubtedly been asked by hordes of law students over the years, myself included. What is it like working at a law firm in a foreign country? That’s a question probably asked exponentially less. One internship at CSBC Law Offices later and both questions have now been answered to me.

As a foreign student who just concluded his second year of law school at Thammasat University’s International LLB program, I was still quite clueless on the minutiae of what working at a law firm entailed. Prior to the start of the internship I was quite apprehensive as this was my first professional foray into the legal field; while I may have studied in Bangkok for the last few years, I was afraid that the cultural differences and language barrier would be too vast for me to mesh well with the attorneys at the office.

Thankfully however, this was not the case. I was welcomed with open arms by a distinctly capable cast of seasoned attorneys and staff members; under their guidance I was able to learn new and interesting legal knowledge. I also gained invaluable hands on experience which helped me understand how to better apply legal concepts learned in class to real life situations. Each day brought a new work ranging from translating legal articles and contracts, contract and document review, legal research, contacting government ministries, and corresponding with clients. One of the more unique cases I had the pleasure to assist in involved a mixture of tax and public international law.

During my internship I also had the opportunity to visit the Central Labour Court. During my visit it became clear to me that a major characteristic of the Thai legal system was that laws were often legislated to aid in reaching specific social goals and create equity between various parties. An example of this is how Thai labour law tends to favour employees because they are generally perceived to have less bargaining power as opposed to employers. Another example of this are the various laws governing foreigners wishing to live or work in Thailand. This overt use of law as an instrument to foster equity is not as common in the US; when Thailand’s enormous wealth inequality is taken into consideration this use of law is a seemingly essential tool for the nation’s development.

Overall, my internship at CSBC was extremely enlightening both professionally and academically. The contrasts between Thai and American law was extremely interesting to explore and discuss with the associates at CSBC. I concluded the internship with a clear understanding of what working at a law firm abroad is like along with a better idea on what fields of law I should focus on. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to CSBC Law Offices for giving me the opportunity to take part in a truly unique learning experience and for the guidance they gave me over the course of the internship.