No such thing as over-prepared, over-dressed, or too professional

On Monday, June 4th, 2018, I began my internship with international law firm, Lantai Partners. When I arrived, I was greeted on the main floor of the company by my supervisor Zhang. I followed the instructions I was given and arrived on the 29th floor of their Beijing headquarters. Zhang informed me that this was where the Corporate and Civil Cases were handled. He said a few floors down is the Labor Department and even more floors down (on the 3rd floor) is the International Patent Law office where he and I would be working.

The Saturday before my arrival I went to the office building and practiced going up to the floor I would work on. The first day of the internship I dressed in my black suit and wore conservative colors to try to look as professional as possible. I prepared, dressed the part, and practiced my formal introduction in my head right outside the doors of the floor I thought I would work on. Little did I know everything that I expected was slightly off from reality. Instead of working on the 29th floor, I work on the 3rd. Instead of business professional and dull to neutral tone colors, I found people wear dressy casual to business casual attire with sometimes less conservative colors. Instead of a super quiet and professional environment, attorneys walk around and talk to each other and laugh while also being very productive.

While everything is different than what I thought it would be, it’s much better. My supervisor is incredibly approachable. My colleagues are very nice and occasionally laugh at me and my dorkiness. We have already all gone to lunch together, and I am supposed to plan a KTV trip soon. The partner on this floor that I have met is also very approachable and has tried to understand me and my culture. He joked that because I have almost been here for 2 weeks I should go ahead and start researching American restaurants nearby. He stated that during his trip to America, after the second week, he started to miss foods that reminded him of home. (I can relate.)

There are approximately 600 attorneys with Lantai Partners and the company is still growing. They hire interns regularly and there is one other American guy here by the name of John (I changed his name). The Partner I mentioned earlier pulled the two of us in his office for what would be a VERY uncomfortable meeting, but John seemed nice. I was able to find out that he has been with the firm for about a month now. He had the opportunity to go with the Partner I mentioned before to the Beijing Olympic bid and meet other cool clients since he has been here.

Since I have been here (two days) I have had the opportunity to edit a legal document, work on components of a trademark application, and help prepare for a legal summit coming up that the firm will attend. There has been a lot of reading and editing, but there has not been anything too challenging yet. I am enjoying the people here and my time here. I am looking forward to gaining all that I can from this internship.k3


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