Category Archives: Law

Alumni Profile: John Rhodes (LLB Law Degree)

Name: John Rhodes

Nationality: British and German

What did you study at the University of Exeter? LLB Law

What year did you graduate? 1973

What country are you currently working in? Switzerland

Tell us a a bit about your time at Exeter, why did you choose to study here?

I chose Exeter for several reasons: mainly because the course involved foreign and European laws. Exeter was at the forefront of teaching European law and at that time also taught French law. Very few Universities were as forward thinking. I knew I would be using my languages in my career. Secondly, Exeter’s surrounding area is one of the most beautiful in the country and I did not fancy being in an urban sprawl, having been brought up in London. Thirdly, it’s a long way from anywhere!

What did you enjoy most about studying here?

The friendliness of the teaching staff (although Professor Parker was a bit scary) and the size of the University, in those days only 4.000 students!

Did you use the Careers Service while you were at Exeter? If so, how did they help you?

No, I didn’t need to, I made my own enquiries.

Your career,  what have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?

I became a Solicitor and found a firm in London which needed German speakers. (That was not so easy as most just wanted French speakers for their Paris and/or Brussels offices). The two firms I found both made me offers of articles and I accepted one. I became a Partner in that firm, and eventually Head of the German Department (we had offices in Hamburg and Frankfurt). I ran the Frankfurt Office for a while. I was with that firm for 32 years and then, when the firm’s fortunes waned, decided to look outside the box and joined a commercial and international firm in Zurich. Now I know why I studied trusts at Exeter!

What do you enjoy most about your work?

I advise on English law in a Swiss law firm. The Swiss lawyers come to for advice on their English law/English language cases, litigation, arbitration, contracts and I advise clients who may have business or assets in Switzerland who require assistance -company/commercial or tax/trusts.

How have your University of Exeter studies helped in your career?

Everything one learns at University has some relevance at some point. I never thought trusts law would come to so important for me. Of course company law and commercial law were the backbone of my career. Criminal law was fascinating in the first year but of little practical use as it turned out.

Do you have any advice for current students wishing to pursue your career?

If you are a German speaker, do get in touch with the British-German Jurists Association who will guide you towards those firms, all round the country, and abroad, who will be most interested in giving you articles, or a summer placement.

What are your plans for the future?

I am nearing retirement age. Luckily, or unluckily, I can work as long as I wish…..

Do you have any tips or advice on being employable?

I used to interview prospective trainees. Ensure your CV has no spelling errors and that your referees know they are your referees (I once received a very poor reference from an academic – he said he neither liked nor trusted the applicant!). Make sure the CV includes all hobbies and extracurricular interests. If you speak a language, say so and mention how fluent you are. Particularly if your grades are mediocre, you have to sell yourself in some other way.

Student Case Study: University of Exeter

Name of Student:  Amelia Southern

Degree Subject: LLB Law

Job Title: Animal Behaviour Intern

Company Name: University of Exeter

Type of Internship: Student Campus Partnerships (SCPs) 

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

To assist with masters’ students’ research.

What outputs and outcomes did you deliver for your employer?  

Helped collect data and analysed videos for the publication of a master’s student’s project.

What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

There was a situation where the video analysis software was not showing consistent measurements. To overcome this, I tried to find alternative video analysis software. As a result, we found a better software that we used for the duration of the project.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

To begin some of the equipment we were using did not stay in place so we found alternative ways to fix the equipment so that it would not move.

Skills Learnt: 

  • IT
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Problem Solving

Attributes Developed:

  • Confidence
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“I thoroughly enjoyed my internship and felt that I learnt a lot from the experience. From day one I was assisting with data collection and helping with data analysis. I enjoyed participating in the project throughout and found it exciting so see all the developments taking place. I really enjoyed being part of the research team and learning new skills such as video analysis.”

Employer Case Study: RAMM

Name of Organisation: RAMM

Description of Organisation: RAMM will enhance people’s quality of life. It’s a place of discovery which encourages everyone to be curious. RAMM uses its local and global collections to connect people to the world and inspires them to shape a better future.

Name of Employer: Sophie Harbour

Job Title: Engagement Officer (Skills Development)

Internship Scheme usedGraduate Business Partnership (GBP) 


“Our intern’s main responsibilities were coordinating the Lost Words Exhibition, ‘What’s on Guides’ and coordinating our school visits programme. He also provided administrative support such as, organising meetings, minute taking, raising purchase orders, providing a central point of contact for the Audience Development Lead.

Our graduate was also a massive help when providing marketing assistance, including researching websites, writing copy, email marketing, implementing marketing campaigns, uploading content to websites. He assisted with the execution of events and activities within the museum and art gallery to include Gerald’s Birthday and the Lates events.

The research skills our GBP gathered from RAMM’s Customer Relationship Management System and booking system as well as from visitor surveys and other sources was completed to a very high standard.

The student was a great member of our team for the 18 months of his internship. He approached his role with enthusiasm and commitment and always had a fantastic ‘can do’ attitude. He also brought a different perspective to our organisation which was really useful when thinking about marketing and social media to our wide range of audiences.”

Student Case Study:  Colab- Resilient Women’s Project

Name of Student:  Jane Curmi

Degree Subject: BSC Sociology and Criminology

Job Title:  Resilient women project intern

Company Name:  Colab – Resilient Women’s Project

Type of Internship:  Access to Internships (A2I)

Description of Company: As an integrated cross sector wellbeing and innovation hub our goal is to improve lives by improving the context in which support for change occurs, as well as delivering meaningful and relevant services. Supporting people with complex life situations and multiple disadvantages, such as mental ill-health, homelessness, domestic and sexual violence and abuse, substance misuse, (re)offending and poverty we focus our support around recovery, belonging, rehabilitation and wellbeing.

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship?

Support the facilitation and delivery of a range of initiatives, working with the team to support women in the Criminal Justice System and those with complex needs, support resilient women’s project navigator scheme to offer direct pathway planning to women in the Criminal Justice System, support the delivery of resilient women financial abuse project training sessions, supporting the women’s sex worker project, take part in team meetings, learning opportunities and presentations, write findings and recommendations for future development as part of my placement requirement.


What was your biggest achievement on your internship?

I was asked to support the women’s sex workers project; the resilient women’s project was awarded Tampon Tax funding to undertake a further scoping exercise which would include gaining the views of women themselves and were awarded a really small pot of funding. The aim is to inform health and other social policy makers of what the needs are and how women want them to be addressed, with a view to looking at how to further support women in this situation. I was asked by the project manager to look over evidence that was already collected to familiarise myself with the project. I done this and I also spent some time researching recent literature on the subject, then worked out a plan of how the project aims could be met. I researched links that could be involved in the Exeter area and composed various emails and sent it to links that could have some knowledge of women sex workers in the Exeter area. this received a response from SWARM in London who gave me a contact link in Exeter University. I arranged a meeting with my manager, the contact and I. This meeting was successful and provided the resilient women’s project at Exeter University.

What did not go so well on your internship? How did you overcome any challenges?

In general, my internship was very successful, the only thing I can say that did not go very well was when I was co-facilitating a course and a women turned up half way through the course and asked to take part. I felt that on instinct I should let her join the group. however, when reflecting afterwards I should have asked a senior member of staff as the women who attend these groups have multiple complex needs and I felt I may have let someone join and the situation could of changed and I would not be able to handle it. I discussed my feelings with my manager afterwards and came to the conclusions that in the future when a women turns up and the course has already started that she not be allowed to participate for the safety of the other attendees. This made me reflect on making quick decisions, I will in future be aware what the of making quick decisions and what the repercussions of that may be. 

Skills Learnt

  • Ability to Work Under Pressure
  • Organisation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Customer Service
  • Leadership

Attributes Developed

  • Creative thinking
  • Confidence
  • Initiative
  • Perseverance
  • Motivation

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector?

“Colab is a dynamic place to work, I have thoroughly enjoyed my placement and I have been given work opportunities and experience I would not normally have access to. This internship has provided me with the experience I need to complete my studies and further my career.”

Employer Quote:

“Jane has been an exemplary student whilst working with the project.  She slotted into the team really naturally and went above and beyond the objectives set when needed.   I would like to thank Jane and the University for enabling this really interesting internship to take place.”

Devon and Cornwall OPCC -Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation: Devon and Cornwall OPCC

Description of Organisation:  The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is a non-political, impartial organisation and its head of paid service is the chief executive officer. The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is a separate organisation to Devon and Cornwall Police. It fits into several categories such as strategy, policy and performance, Criminal justice, commissioning and partnerships, collaborations, and national activity as well as, many more. The Police and Crime Commissioner is to be the voice of the people in policing.

Name of Employer: Andrew Kirchin

Job Title: Communications and Engagement Manager

Internship Scheme used:  GBP

Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter


We employed an intern to work within our office of the police and crime commissioner. The GBP became a valued member of the team very quickly and showed her worth. She worked hard in the workplace and made a great impact on our organisation. We were very impressed with her work so we have extended her internship with us and we would also like to offer her a full-time contract too.

This is the third intern I have brought into my team and, in all the fifth into the office. All have made a fantastic impact, and all have been offered a full-time roll as a result. Bringing in bright, ambitious individuals has changed the dynamic of the office for the better in a way I have seldom seen in the public sector.

I would just like to say that, yet again, the standard of applicant we attracted through the University’s Graduate Business Partnership was outstanding. All three passed the threshold for appointment at interview. We were very impressed with the way the chosen candidate presented herself. She was a credit to whatever work the University does to prepare students for this next stage of their lives. I would highly recommend the University of Exeter’s internship team and we will continue to use this brilliant service.


Devon County Council- Employer Case Study

Name of Organisation: Devon County Council

Description of Organisation and Role: Devon County Council is the county council administering services across Devon. The members are elected every four years to reflect the electorate of each county division. Most being nominated by the large national political parties.

The main purpose of the internship was to support the Democratic process of Devon County Council to assist in ensuring those processes are carried out in accordance with statutory requirements and the Council’s Constitution and procedures and also with the promotion and encouragement of public involvement and participation through, for example, webcasting and social media.

Name of Employer: Karen Strahan

Job Title: Head of Democratic Services

Internship Scheme used:  GBP

Graduate Business Partnership (GBP) – Employment Services – University of Exeter


We recruited an intern to work as a Democratic and Scrutiny Support Officer. He worked on a task group which researched air quality and congestion in Devon. This included producing a report with innovative recommendations targeted at improving air quality and congestion. The report attracted media attention with the Chair undertaking a radio interview, based on the work done by our brilliant intern. Our student became a very important part of our team.

I believe quite passionately about giving young people the opportunity to start their careers and give them a platform to move onwards and upwards. At present there was no vacant full-time position to offer so I made the decision to go through the intern process for a second time.

As a newly appointed manager, I was keen to explore the opportunities offered by the GBP. The fact that I am about to undertake a second placement is testament to the GBP and the calibre of candidates that apply for the positions. The experience was very positive, support from the University of Exeter is excellent and also a fresh face joining the team is always good to shake things up and look at how we do things differently. I recommend hiring an intern, ours was timely and smart and made a positive contribution to our organisation.


Insight, Intelligence and Communications Intern – Southampton City Council

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I conducted a preparatory briefing on the Brexit White Paper which is circulated to senior staff and councillors of Southampton and completed a task concerning the mapping of public sector and third sector services that tackle serious violence in Southampton in order to inform the council’s decision to bid for Serious Violence Strategy funding. I created a local needs assessment that included current statistics regarding violent, knife, and hate crime, domestic abuse, reoffending rates, comparing the data nationally with statistical neighbours and per individual wards. Additionally, the needs assessment included data on looked after children, deprivation areas and school absences to coincide with the strategy’s youth prevention priority. I reviewed an annual report that records the progress of the actions that respond to the Youth Justice Strategy. From this report I deduced whether the action will remain for the forthcoming year or whether full progress had been made and thus a new action would take its place.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I realised my potential within the policy team and have definitely decided this is the career for me. Specifically, I actually aided the team with their work, especially with the creation of the local needs assessment and thus my internship was beneficial for everyone!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I efficiently completed each task quicker than expected thus, freed up the teams work to do other tasks.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Problem solving, strategic planning, focus of goals and outcomes

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Confidence, cultural awareness, logical thinking

HR Administrator – Fugro GB Marine Ltd

What were your main roles and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

Uploading vacancies to our website, intranet, and job boards, organising the recruitment mailbox and ensure hiring managers receive all incoming applications, arranging interviews and tests, as well as inductions, by liaising with candidates and managers, receiving all right to work documentation, CV’s and new starter forms and filing these appropriately, drafting letters to employees and new starters for salary reviews, contractual changes and promotions, navigating and where required, updating, company processes for recruitment and resignations, coordinating leavers, including confirming any final payroll deductions and booking exit interviews, creating contracts for new starters and inputting contractual changes to our systems for current staff, handling rejections, offers, queries, and the day to day requests for the HR Department.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

I learnt a lot of information about the HR sector – developing skills in contracts, documentation and the importance of attention to detail in relation to this, and generally improved the formulation of processes and strategies to aid efficiency!

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I have eased the pressures on a very busy HR department, allowing HR Advisors to actually complete their advisor work rather than administrative tasks. I have also noted necessary changes to previous procedures in admin, making processes more user friendly and less time-consuming.

What skills were you able to develop through the internship?

Communication, organisation, focus on goals and outcomes

What attributes were you able to develop through the internship?

Commercial awareness, motivation, personal awareness

First Steps Scheme Student – CMS Legal Services


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

During the scheme I was placed within the Real Estate department of the office. I was allocated a trainee ‘buddy’ and a associate supervisor from the department. They both provided me with tasks throughout the week which included;
– researching the tax implications of reverse premium payments and producing an advisory memo on this,
– drafting tenancy agreements and drafting variance clauses into leases,
– ‘buddy checking’ documents for cross referencing errors as well as legal definitions.

When not working in the department I took part in many skills sessions, including sessions on presentation, networking and negotiation skills. I also attended a conference on ‘Innovation at CMS’ which was very informative, and was given a talk by current partners at the firm on their career journey. At the end of the week we had to deliver a presentation, mine being on why Diversity and Inclusion is so important to CMS.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement would be delivering my presentation at the end of the week. I had practised and perfected my presentation over the course of the week and as a result, the delivery went very well. I managed my nerves and was able to put the presentation skills I had learned in the workshop earlier that week into practice.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

I was able to release the workload of my trainee ‘buddy’ by completing tasks on his behalf, such as the buddy checking and drafting I mentioned earlier.


Vacation Scheme Student – Eversheds


What were your main duties and responsibilities during the course of your internship?

I was a Vacation Scheme Student at Eversheds’ largest UK office outside of London where I sat in the Real Estate and Company Commercial practice groups and within the Commercial Real Estate and Banking teams respectively.
My duties were similar to those of a Trainee Solicitor and the work I was involved with in the REPG included analysing leases, calculating and completing a SDLT return as well as drafting various documents to complement a lease such as a Lease Report and a Rent Review Memorandum. In my second week in the CCPG, my work was in the most part vastly different, although there was some crossover with Real Estate in the form of the property securities that banks would take on their loan agreements. During my Banking seat, I aided the completion of multiple transactions by creating and updating the supporting documents required such as the Completion Checklist, Shareholder Review and Completion Statement as well as drafting vital transaction documents including various Deed of Confirmations for both Borrowers and Guarantors, Fee Letters and a Legal Opinion.

What would you say was your biggest achievement over the course of your internship?

My biggest achievement over the course of the internship would be noticing and pointing out a mistake in a contract that would have made it unenforceable and thus preventing the firm from issuing a bad contract on behalf of their clients.

What benefits did your internship bring to your employer?

During my second week, there were multiple transactions that were due to be completed that week and as a result of my presence, I was able to share the workload with the team and therefore relieve pressure on them and get the deal through the door with plenty of time to spare.

Did you encounter any problems during the course of your internship and if so, how did you overcome them?

There were some initial problems with my understanding of particular legal terms used within the practice groups as I had never come across them before in my studies which are far less practical. By finding a glossary of terms and constantly taking notes throughout the scheme, I managed to overcome this barrier by being pro-active and seeking to learn the new terms so that I was then comfortable using them in an everyday work sense.