This article has been written by Mridul Tripathi who is currently pursuing BBA LLB from Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies. This exhaustive article is an attempt to carve out an idea of work you will be provided if you intern at a tech giant.
Ever wondered while reading the news of a lawsuit being booked against a big technology giant like Facebook and Amazon how is it like to intern at these companies? With a cut-throat competition at marketing and an effort to not leave any stone unturned to gain an advantage to become the best, these companies walk on thin ice when it comes to violating the regional laws.
With resources enough to procure every new piece of technology or the ability to change the way people perceive things, these companies are backed by a strong battery of lawyers to help them grow.
The ubiquity of these companies makes it an implication that there would be lawyers backing them up in whichever continent they are present. An internship at these top technical giants is very high on demand and is the best in the market. This article lays out the kind of work you’d expect to get if you manage to secure an internship at the technological giants. It also deals with the experiences and states the different ways to secure an internship.
Work Provided in a Legal Internship at a Tech Giant
A tech giant might choose to maintain an in-house legal team in one place or to outsource their legal work to the best of the law firms already present in the market, at another. They create a pool of jobs in order to fulfil their need for lawyers and as I already mentioned, they need a strong cavalcade to make their projects legally secure and ready to be rolled out in the market along with fighting the ongoing lawsuits. Amazon, for example, hires lawyers such as Senior Corporate Counsel, Associate General Counsel, Contracts Managers and Legal Assistants for roles to support their businesses.
The ever-evolving nature of a company’s businesses makes it a requirement for it to have lawyers who are equipped with legal knowledge of the regulations of the land. One can expect to get work related to technological regulations. There is a huge array of laws such as laws relating to consumer and media regulations, data protection, payments matters and advertisements whose application is involved during different projects in the company. One can also read some of the past lawsuits(some examples have been mentioned later in this article) that could guide one in understanding the nature of work that could be assigned.
For example, Amazon is on the project of making flying drones deliver the goods at people’s doorstep. In this scenario, the knowledge of the aviation laws would come in as a requirement to answer questions like what is the permissible limit to fly drones, regulatory land laws and other related knowledge would come in handy. You can expect a question thrown at you out of the blue about Artificial Intelligence and the levels to which its usage is allowed.These companies try to find answers to unanswered legal quandaries and create history or precedents. The legal problems created by the usage of technology or its implementation in future should be your goal to analyse and answer as you will be assisting the lawyers trying to find a way to implement and resolve. Expect research works and a high-intensity, rapid-paced environment wherein you should be capable of confidently communicating your inputs.
Assistance in reviewing and drafting technology-related licensing agreements and contracts, responding to bid-proposals and various legal requests from third parties and users, in management and preparation of court action and are some examples of the work assigned to an intern.
Make Sure you have the Required Skills
First of all, you need to have some big guns ready in terms of knowledge about technological advancements, new trends and technological jargons. As you are applying at a technological giant, your basics should consist of an in borne affinity towards science and tech. Now, your legal knowledge would be applied in relation to the activity or project you are assigned. For example, a need for good application of laws related to intellectual property arises, if you are interning at Facebook and there comes up a lawsuit that entails issues regarding author’s original rights pertaining to his facebook post.
Tech giants are also known for big pre-litigation settlements so if you identify yourself as an expert negotiator or you have a necessary skill set required for negotiation, you can take up the baton. Solution-based thinking and an analytical attitude to find solutions faster is a must. One needs to hold on to his composure and be stable in the fast pacing environment around him. You should also be good at communications and have leadership qualities, many leaders at Amazon started as interns.
Prerequisites to Apply for an Internship at a Tech Giant
Apart from the abovementioned skills, your CV and portfolio need to be as brief and crisp as it could be and should contain the best of your achievements. Many have recommended sending a one page CV. They prefer students with past experience of internship at tier-one law firms or in media and technology companies, some of the tech giants have mentioned this in their internship announcement.
Fluency in English and a regional language (depending upon the project) is a must. You need to prepare yourself for multiple rounds of telephonic and in house interviews. Good preparation is necessary to get through these interviews. Your CV needs to clearly show an area of interest and you should be well prepared to answer questions related to laws.
No matter how many experiences you come across you cannot say that there is sure shot advice for securing an internship at a tech giant other than you just being confident, having authority over what you have mentioned in your CV, and a particular skill set.
How to Apply/Different Modes of Application
If it seems difficult to secure an internship through an online application because you can’t find an option to apply on the site, you can opt for referrals from the employees or mail your CV and statement of purpose directly to an HR employee by contacting an ex-intern. These tech giants hardly come out with any official announcements of requirements for legal interns but one should keep themselves posted to their sites for any such notifications. Companies such as Google also run Summer programmes akin to that of an internship, where you get to know about the working environment or learn something new/ a new skill.
Internship Experience in Tech Giants
Many interns have defined their experience at the tech giants such as Google as unmatched and life-changing. By the end of the internship, people go back home with the experience and skill set that they wouldn’t have been able to acquire on their own. At other companies, the interns have described their experiences as overall good. Majority of the interns have reported being treated at par with the employees of the company during the period of the internship. These tech giants are also known for holding ‘Q&A sessions’ that consist of big names in the company interacting freely with the intern and solving their queries.
Most companies also provide a stipend for the work done. In one of the first-hand accounts by the intern, it was mentioned that Facebook even throws themed parties by the end of the internship, so it is going to be a fun-filled ride, along with working very hard while you are at a task. The company is also known for paying the expenses or taking care of food, housing, travel and other issues so that the intern completely focuses on the work assigned. You can also visit these sites to read up more about the internship experiences:Amazon jobs and facebook internships.
Experience of Working with the Team on a Whole
One thing that one can be sure of is that one will be under the guidance of the most talented and bright lawyers while you intern under them. It is an energy-filled work-oriented yet a casual setting. The company wants the best of your performance and to ensure this it provides the best of the environments. There is no formal sartorial protocol to be followed and you can even take your dogs to some of their workplaces (Amazon, Seattle). After reading many experiences over the internet you will derive that the teams are uplifting and supporting. The interns build a long-lasting bond with their co-interns and get to learn a lot from their team managers.
In many reviews, you will find that the company of the people that students surrounded themselves with has changed the way he used to perceive things and has provided exponential growth. Everyone in the team believes in supporting each other, helping the intern to realise his true potential and provides a conducive environment of positive psychological environment that further boosts his productivity.
Some of the Most Famous Lawsuits faced by the Tech Giants
Here are some examples that shed some light on the different type of suits faced by the law firms to understand the legal nature of the work that you could be provided with at a tech giant:
- Facebook recently lost a legal battle related to the Cambridge Analytica Scandal. The company was accused of flouting the concept of consent of the users by providing a third party allowance to analyse facial data without any prior authorisation. The data allegedly was also used to influence voting behaviour during elections throughout the country.
- There is an ongoing legal battle against Apple, Dell, Microsoft, Tesla and Alphabet (parent company of Google) over using child labour in Congolese Cobalt Mines. Cobalt is used in manufacturing computers, alloys for jet engines and gas turbines, lithium-ion batteries, mobile phones etc.
- A class-action suit emerged against Amazon for its ‘prime’ services as it was alleged that it falsely advertised its services, as well as the users, were charged without an authorization
- Google faced a lawsuit back in 2010 that got settled recently in 2017 over its ‘Street view Project’. Google was alleged to have broken not just federal wiretapping laws but it was also alleged that the software developers intentionally embedded software that took out the personal information such as emails and passwords through wifi networks in over 30 countries.
- Alibaba paid a hefty $250 million to settle a lawsuit on committing fraud over securities. Alibaba had met the Chinese Administration for Industry and Commerce 2 months prior to its initial public offering.
- A number of design and utility patents were copied by Samsung from Apple and the 7 year-long battle of prestige ended with Samsung paying a whopping $539 million to Apple in the settlement.
- Sony and Microsoft were sued by Immersion for patent infringement for using vibration functions whose exclusive rights were with Immersion, in their gaming controllers. Where Microsoft settled out of court and ended up buying 10% shares in the Company, Sony went on fighting and paid around $91 million in the end.
- Apple sued Qualcomm for using its dominant position as a supplier of smartphone chips and unreasonably high pricing of the essential utility patents, on the other hand, Qualcomm alleged Apple of stealing its patent technology. Qualcomm got $4.5 m out of the settlement and will be providing 5G modems to Apple in future.
As difficult as it may sound, don’t stop yourself from applying for an internship with one of the tech giants. Many have called ‘hardly anybody getting selected’ as a myth. With the right preparation, you can ace and ensure a legal internship at these companies.
With an abundance of operations in almost every field, a problem or a suit might pop up regarding any of the services provided by the company. The work provided only ends up in honing the skills of an intern as you work amongst the best.
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