Experience report from Dr. Mark Lye
In November and December 2016, I completed part of the legal clerkship (administrative station) in the state of Hesse at the law firm BridgehouseLaw LLP in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The nature of the tasks received depended on the nature of the current mandates. The following tasks are just a few of the many interesting activities.
There were many tasks in the area of American inheritance law such as drawing up wills and living wills. There were also some mandates in which a German citizen (mostly tourist) suffered a car accident in the USA and now sought compensation. The peculiarity of the damage claims that I had before me was that these accidents occurred in Florida, which, as a so-called "No-Fault State", brought with it peculiarities in the liability issue. There were a large number of mandates linked to German or European law, Such as a product liability matter due to defective sports equipment purchased by a French national in the USA, which required the application of the Rome II regulation. Furthermore, a particularly exciting UWG matter had to be dealt with under German law, as it made sense for tactical reasons to file an application for interim legal protection also in Germany. At work, of course, the administrative law was not neglected (after all, I was in the administrative station): In addition to immigration issues in the corporate context, research was also carried out in the area of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania tax and the Land and water law required.
All in all, it was a “colorful bouquet” of legal tasks that arise in everyday business. A very special plus point was that I was actually involved in the work and my results were used further. I had the feeling that we were working on a solution together and that my work was not limited to mere additional work.
• Team and working atmosphere
BridgehouseLaw LLP is a small to medium-sized law firm. The team at the Charlotte office consisted of about 10 people. Every single one of them was very friendly and had the necessary degree of humor to make the work pleasant. During the lunch breaks, everyone ate together in the conference room, although everyone was of course free to eat independently. Everyone in the office tried to give me as many insights as possible into different areas, whereby special interests were also taken into account. For example, I had the opportunity to attend court hearings. The tax law seminar in the local brewery and the Christmas party, which took place together with the Atlanta office, were special experiences.
• Personal enrichment
I was able to learn a lot about the American business world and its culture, which differs significantly from the German in some areas. The legal work also has a completely different approach, which is largely due to the common law system. I learned a lot about American legal practice and enjoyed comparing it to German legal practice. I was able to discuss these differences with my colleagues in interesting discussions.
I can recommend doing a position at BridgehouseLaw LLP to anyone interested in a position abroad. For me, it was a great experience with experiences that I like to remember and helpful experiences that will accompany me in the future.