The Sheffield Project on the Internationalisation of the Legal Profession
The Sheffield Project on the Internationalisation of the Legal Profession is a joint staff-student research project exploring the globalisation of the legal profession. Selected students studying abroad in their 3rd year participate in a team research project, including a short placement in a law firm in the host country. The Project capitalises on the Sheffield School of Law programme of international exchanges – the largest in the UK with over 60 partner universities in 30 countries and over 100 students involved each year.
The project is coordinated by Dr. Francesca Strumia, and involves academic colleagues working at the intersection of international and commercial law.
2015-16 Academic Year
The Project was launched in 2015-2016, with a four-student pilot team conducting research on three initial questions in Australia (Melbourne, Brisbane) and Europe (Munich, Germany; and Milan, Italy).
2016-17 Academic Year
The 2017 team included nine students working in as many countries (UK, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, France and Australia) on a project titled 'Anti-Globalisation Trends and the International Legal Profession: Perceptions, Impacts, Responses'.
2017-18 Academic Year
The 2018 team included five students collecting data in the UK, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Australia and Germany for a report on Technology: Implications on the Nature of Legal Practice and the Role of the International Legal Profession.
Format and Content
Each year, the project team decides a collective research question and recruits six to eight students to conduct background research and collect data in different jurisdictions. Each student’s research task involves a three-day placement in a law firm in the relevant jurisdiction. During their placement, the student interviews lawyers and staff, and observes selected matters.
Participating law firms have included:
- Herbert Smith Freehills
- Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
- Kirkland & Ellis International LLP
Each year, students prepare a lecture on the project findings and experience, which they deliver to second years in the School of Law on their return. They also produce a written report aimed at the legal profession and academia.
The project offers participating students the chance to develop knowledge on the legal profession through a comparative lens as well as gain research skills and practical experience.