This summer here at Padhraic Harris & Co Solicitors we had the pleasure of welcoming Guilherme Oliveira as an Intern in our office. At the end of his experience we asked him to tell us a bit about what he discovered during his time here. His discoveries provide interesting insight into the French, Brazilian and Irish legal systems.
This is what Guilherme had to say about his time in our office here in Galway.
Over the summer of 2017, I worked at Padhraic Harris Solicitors as a Legal Intern and I would like to share a few words about this work experience in Ireland. First, let me introduce myself, my name is Guilherme Oliveira. I am a 24 year old south Brazilian currently living in Toulouse, France.
In 2014 I graduated in law in Brazil and became a Bachelor of Law and Social Sciences. I had my eyes on the old continent (Europe) when I was offered the chance to complete postgraduate degree in International Relations and Political Sciences in the South of France. After completing this I applied to study for a Masters 1 in International and European Law, which I have just recently completed.
Politics in one hand, diplomacy in the other and I found myself trying to solve one of the biggest puzzles of the modern world: EU Law.
Brazil, like France has a judicial system based on Civil Law, however European Law was built to be a harmonic hybrid between Common and Civil Law systems. In order to better understand the theory I learnt in my first year of my Masters I knew that I would need experience. My internship at Padhraic Harris Solicitors was essential to reveal the functional mechanisms of the Common Law System.
Practice gives meaning to theory. My role in the internship involved rotating between two branches of Padhraic Harris Solicitors. Monday and Tuesday, I was based in Galway City Centre at Merchants Road. My responsibilities here were related to the law process itself, the paper file. I could see the different steps of a case in a Common Law System, from answering telephone calls to assisting clients with initial queries to the research of precedents, a new step for me since the doctrine of precedents does not apply in France or Brazil
I often got the opportunity to assist a Solicitor in Court. The experience of having direct contact with the courts has been enriching. Practice complements everything you learn, so it helps to make the theory of Irish law clearer. The oratory of legal English is an art. In fact, I can better understand why European Union law is a hybrid system, Common Law is faster, its oral. We have a certain level of bureaucracy in Brazil that is also present in France. The code gives definitive rules but sometimes removes the power of analysing the individual aspects of each case.
The second part of my internship was based at Padhraic Harris Solicitors’ second office in Oughterard Co. Galway. This was the perfect environment to learn and develop soft – skills . The constant contact with clients and their day-to-day life definitely improves the Office – Client relationship. Calm and hospitable, located on the Main Street of Oughterard, it is a gentle reminder that any legal doubts can be solved easily and most importantly: in person. My past work experiences focused mainly on the formalities in the legal world, with often led to bureaucracy. Padhraic Harris Solicitors recognises the importance of soft-skills and places it at the base of its business. The weeks I spent in Oughterard helped me to change how I see client management and how to connect with clients in a deep and meaningful way.
I am extremely grateful to all at Padhraic Harris Solicitors who helped me throughout my work experience. For their friendly welcome, willingness and patience to teach and explain to me the main mechanisms of the Common Law System. I hope I encourage further similar work placements as I found this experience very helpful to my own personal career.