Review on Structured Attachment Programme
|Support & Guidance|
|Environment & Location|
|How Rewarding Was It?|
"The internship programme at ZICO is very different from what you'd expect or understand of legal internships. It's actually called the Structured Attachment Programme (SAP) and is the only one of its kind among Malaysian law firms, which probably explains why it also operates on a very selective basis. We were told that only 18 people were picked from a number of 120 applicants. The SAP has been running for 8 years now, and it includes tasks, projects, day trips (to Parliament, Legal Aid Centre, Bar Council) and lectures. All of these are spread out over 20 days and laid out in a schedule, so you pretty much know what to expect day to day. But it still retains its flexibility because the activities aren't set in stone, they can be shifted around when the need arises. The 18 of us are split up into 4 groups, and each group has its own set of 2 partners and a few trainee associates who oversee, help and guide you. You develop very close relationships with your group because you spend a lot of time and rely on each other as most of the work is group-centric. At the end of the internship, there will be a competition between groups. There are several categories in terms of what you have to do and the judges are senior partners so it was all very thrilling, but I won't divulge further. There is also a farewell dinner, with its own little surprises. So there's plenty of fun throughout the internship.
"The internship generally met my expectations. It faltered on several points, such as lack of live experience and very little attention and supervision by the assigned group mentors but overall, it was a fantastic experience. Reviews are held everyday and delivered by interns named in the schedule, so each of us have a chance to speak about our day and the internship as a whole. Criticisms and compliments were given, and the programme was constantly evolving according to those comments, so it's a fascinatingly organic process. I didn't have a particular mentor, because we completed tasks and projects in various departments, and our group mentors weren't very involved so I can't say that it was crucial. But it definitely leaves an impression on you based on whether or not relationships and connections are built with the partners, associates and trainee associates you encounter, not necessarily work with. What you gain from the SAP is you really learn what ZICO is as a firm, including its people and its culture. They are an incredibly friendly and approachable firm. Another major thing you take away from the SAP is how the Malaysian legal arena is, including the legal profession and its relationship with the political framework of the country and the ASEAN legal industry.
This internship is definitely suited for Malaysian law students, but it's also geared towards Malaysian non-law students who are considering entering the Malaysia legal profession. ZICO has a lot going for it in terms of reputation and recognition among Malaysian law students. Many students ooh and aah when they hear its name. But the best way to really understand whether or not the hype and the glitz about ZICO is true and deservedly so is to get yourself plugged into the firm for a period of time and find out for yourself.
Don't just take what you hear as a given fact. So if you're wondering about what ZICO is like (being Malaysia's largest firm) and if like me, you're trying to decide if you want to return to practice in Malaysia and where to ply your trade if you do, then the SAP will help you collate more information to make up your mind.