William and Mary Law School

Farewell Beijing

Tomorrow is my last day in Beijing.  I am torn somewhere between excitement and regret to be returning home. Although I am ready to begin my 2L year and see my friends and family again, leaving my coworkers and friends will not be easy. But not to worry. I have received threats, warnings, and pleas from various people reminding me about the importance of making my flight.

This week went by in a blur. Mostly, I have attended meetings answering questions on my two reports, as well as meetings with the Director on his plans for pro bono and his future plans for Zhicheng Public Interest Law. I have learned a great deal from him and am so truly, truly grateful I had the opportunity to work with him. In law school, my professors have taught me how to use the law, cases, and models to craft arguments to various legal questions. The Director taught me to use these same tools to identify challenges and create solutions that impact entire communities. Working with him has also given me considerable experience thinking on my feet. Where some mentors might discuss your work with you to give you feedback, the Director preferred to take me to meetings with other organizations and help him answer their questions about my research reports. It was surprising, but I really enjoyed the challenge and the back and forth dynamic of working with him and other groups to find solutions to certain issues. Additionally, he often discussed with me his long term plans, which helped me better understand what I needed to accomplish with my small projects. He is a creative and thoughtful attorney, with incredible intelligence and foresight. I have enjoyed working with him. He promises to come meet me the next time he visits the United States.

Additionally, this week I visited a client with two lawyers and two of the other American interns. We went to the country side to bring them their settlement agreement and set up a payment account. The case involved an accidental death. I cannot disclose the details, but the difference here from the U.S.  in settlement amounts and procedure surprised me. For instance, in a case with contributory negligence, they assigned a certain percentage of negligence to each party but instead of then using that to find the amount for both, they separated the case into two parts. One party gets their amount from the settlement. But now the other party that paid can still sue the party they just paid for that party's percent of negligence. I am not entirely sure if this is standard procedure, or just the result this particular settlement.

The rest of this week has been spent saying goodbye. Every day a different group of people at Zhicheng have invited the interns to lunches and dinners all week to say goodbye. On Friday we are all going to a buffet together to say one last farewell. It's the intern farewell party. Which is a little funny, as only two of the interns leave this week. Next week two more leave. And the last intern doesn't leave until September. But I think this reflects the incredibly tight-knit environment at Zhicheng Public Interest Law. Working here has been an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to all the people who made this opportunity possible for me. I would also recommend this internship to anyone interested in China or international law.