Traineeships in the U.S.

If a Referendar elects an internship in the U.S. for its Wahlstation, he or she must perform and observe various activities during the internship which are designed to provide the intern a general, but thorough overview of the U.S. legal system and experience with the different issues that shape the organization and practice of law in the United States. The supervising firm should task   the Referendar with performing a broad array of legal and business related research assignments, while supplementing these with training in the foundational techniques of legal research in the U.S., such as shepardizing case law, etc.  Because a Referendar is sent to gain a general overview of U.S. legal practice, he or she should participate mainly as an observer aimed at gaining insight into the American case law  and practical issues such as office-management.

The typical training can be briefly described as follows:

  • Reading jurisprudence/case law/legal documents to learn specific legal and commercial terms.
  • Instruction on the legal structure, American case law and methods employed in its drafting.
  • Methods of conducting U.S. legal research, including work in a library setting.
  • Attendance of lectures on legal, political and economic issues being offered by groups such as the German-American Chamber of Commerce, local bar associations or the American Foreign Law Association etc.


It is preferred that the Referendar be assigned to one attorney or a small group of attorneys, e.g. a German practice group would be ideal. He or she should report to the assigned lawyer/group on a regular basis. Indeed it is difficult to quantify how many hours should be devoted to „instruction“ and „on-the-job-training“ as the two are interwoven and depend on sometimes hectic schedules. However, an applicant and supervising attorney should expect that the training includes ca. one hour of personal contact per day. The Referendar should spend the rest of his or her time in the office performing tasks associated with its on-the-job training.





Translation/localization courtesy of the Accuracy Legal and Financial Language Services LLC,