Faculty Graduates Share Their Experience With Students about to Begin Internships

Faculty Graduates Share Their Experience With Students about to Begin Internships


Graduates of the Faculty of Law attended a special panel discussion and shared their experiences with undergraduate students at the Faculty. The diverse panel offered students a glimpse of life in different areas of the legal professional, from the public sector and academia to major law firms.


Many young people choose to study law because it is a promising field that includes numerous interesting career opportunities. But a young student who only recently came through the doors of the Faculty does not necessarily have a firm idea of his or her future in the profession.


Later on, as the time approaches to begin interviews for internship, students face increasing pressure to choose their professional direction. The in-depth studies at the Faculty give them some idea of the various areas open to graduates, but nevertheless there is a significant gap between academic theory and practice in the field. In order to address the students’ concerns and anxieties, the Faculty, the Association of Law Students, and the Alumni Club organized a special evening at which six graduates discussed their professional paths since graduation. The graduates explained the decisions they made and their consequences, helping to clarify what it means to “really be a lawyer.”


The Faculty has many distinguished graduates, including judges and prominent attorneys who have reached the pinnacle of the Israeli legal profession. However, it is far from easy for the average student to imagine the path that leads from constitutional or property law classes to the position of Supreme Court president. Accordingly, it was decided to focus this time on graduates who are in the middle of their careers and still have a long professional future ahead of them. With this in mind, the title of the panel was “A Decade On,” and the participants were graduates who completed their undergraduate studies at the Faculty 10 years ago. The panel members still have a clear memory of their own undergraduate days, on the one hand, but can already speak from several years’ experience in the field.





Diverse fields
It is no secret that graduates of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University enjoy numerous and diverse options. Indeed one of the problems that faces graduates is not a lack of options, but the large number of possible choices, and the sense that each one will determine the course of an entire career. Accordingly, an effort was made to include on the panel graduates who could represent the range of options open to the students. The encounter presented a wide variety of areas of employment, including private law, public law, and academia, alongside graduates who chose to leave the legal profession and move into management or politics.


Despite the warnings of fierce competition in the private market, three of the panel members explained that there is still hope, and that law graduates – particularly from the Faculty – can look forward to a promising future. Two of the panel members, Attorneys Lior Mimon and Shai Tamar, are currently working at two of the leading law firms in Israel. Attorney Mimon, who works at S. Horowitz & Co., explained his daily routine: “Every weekday morning I take my two young daughters to kindergarten – a ‘job’ I refuse to do without. As for the professional side, I can’t really say that there is any fixed routine. The combination of major clients who are leaders in their field and extensive and complex cases means that every day brings interesting new tasks. One day is rarely the same as the next, and I think that’s one of the main advantages of litigation work in a large law firm. Your days are busy, but at the same time interesting and challenging, and of course it is very rewarding.”


Attorney Maya Lasser-Weiss, who is now responsible for legal advice in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance, discussed her own experience. She emphasized the interesting nature of work in the legal advice offices of government ministries and described the active involvement of attorneys in these offices in shaping reforms, issuing important economic tenders, introducing regulation in diverse fields, and so forth. “I feel fortunate to have been given an opportunity to be at the center of public activity on a daily basis and to be a partner in processes that are significant for every citizen in the State of Israel.”



The lively discussion among the speakers highlighted the different paths they took from the same starting point. Equipped with a degree from the Faculty of Law, they all enjoyed impressive offers of internships, but each one soon branched out into a different direction. Attorney Avi Gruber discussed the difficulty in finding work as a private attorney in a very large market and explained why he eventually decided to enter the world of politics. “For me it was all clear from the outset,” Attorney Ilanit Shai-Farber countered. “After graduating I began to work in my family’s construction company. I now serve as the company’s assistant executive director.” Attorney Maya Lasser-Weiss recalled that even during her undergraduate studies she had been attracted to the areas of constitutional and public law. These interests led her to choose a preliminary internship in the field of local government law, followed by an internship in the Petitions Department of the State Attorney’s Office and a position in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance.






Diverse opportunities
The Faculty students were fascinated by the panel and eager to hear about possible future directions. Unsurprisingly, most of the students in the audience were in their third year of studies, just a few months away from their first major career decision and their internship interviews. However, the audience also included second-year students who are beginning to shape their future through the courses they choose, as well as first-year students who only began their studies a few weeks earlier.


After the participants were invited to ask questions, several students began to express their fears. A common and understandable fear is that the market is saturated and excessively competitive. Attorney Mimon commented: “The statistics show that the proportion of active lawyers in Israel relative to the population size is indeed high by international standards. But you have to take into account the highly-developed appetite for litigation in Israel, which leads to a large number of legal proceedings and high demand for lawyers. From my own experience I can tell you that the market is crying out for outstanding lawyers. Graduates of the Faculty are in high demand in our firm, and I’m sure the same is true in other leading firms. The market believes that you have the potential to become excellent lawyers thanks to your impressive personal profile and the high-quality training you are receiving.” Mimon was quick to qualify his comments, however: “Of course, from the moment you are accepted by the firm, your future and your success in the field depend solely on you. You bear the burden of proof.”


After the panel’s comments and the question and answer session, the students left with plenty of food for thought about their professional futures. While the students were dispersing, the panel members stayed behind to chat. In addition to offering some pointers to the young students, the evening was also an opportunity for a mini-reunion and for an exchange of experiences. “The period of studies is a very meaningful and special one,” Attorney Mimon later commented. “While you’re in the middle of it all you sometimes forget that this is a wonderful time, and not just a period of preparation for legal practice. I will never forget my experiences during my studies at the Faculty.” 


Other students asked whether they should begin in a private firm before moving to the public sector, or vice versa. The panel members were in agreement that such transitions are not necessarily problematic, but they warned against indecision. “I can’t claim that from my first day at the Faculty I knew what direction I was going to take and what kind of internship would be best for me,” Attorney Mimon confessed. “I only formulated my decision at a later stage after I had been exposed to different courses at the Faculty and elsewhere, and after talking things over with friends who have experience in the field.” Attorney Lasser-Weiss emphasized that the diverse nature of her position in the legal office of the Ministry of Finance, which includes work in the fields of contracts, tenders, and the preparation of legal opinions, is a valuable asset for other positions in the public sector and elsewhere.