ASLA Woman is the female wing of the Association of Lawyers in Italy. My internship was the second time of it being organised.
3rd February 2017 – 2nd August 2017
About Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante
Nana Adjoa Adobea Asante is a young Ghanaian lawyer and social entrepreneur interested in inequality and gender diversity issues. She is an associate at JLD & MB Legal Consultancy, a top tier law firm in Ghana. She is the founder and director of an Non- Governmental Organization (NGO), the Social Bridge. The Social Bridge engages in a number of social projects; providing education and medical care for street children, a successful nationwide peace campaign in violence prone communities during the election in Ghana in 2016.
The "Leonesse d'Africa (Lionesses of Africa) project comprised 3 months internship each at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and NCTM Studio Legale, both in Milan. It also involved a one semester course in Sustainable Development and International Anti-Corruption as well as Negotiation, Mediation and Sustainable Dispute Resolution.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
I was assigned to the corporate department in which I assisted with due diligence reporting, review of shareholders agreements and bylaws, legal research and paralegal assistance for a corporate malpractice investigation. As part of my experience, I was paired with an associate who was responsible for my integration into the firm and assistance with any legal questions I had. I participated in reformative activities such as gender diversity meetings and corporate meetings. These meetings exposed me to the gender inequalities faced by female lawyers in Italy as well as insights into pertinent aspects of Italian law. The members of the firm were very inclusive and welcoming; they were happy to help and to interact with me.
NCTM Studio Legale
From May 2017 to August 2017, I worked with the corporate department of NCTM. I was paired with a partner who exposed me to many opportunities and was always willing to involve me in transactions. I conducted due diligence reporting, drafted legal documents and witnessed the closing and signing of two transactions. Notably, I co-authored an article on digital platforms which was published in the International Bar Association article. I got the opportunity to visit NCTM Brussels and assisted with lobbying activities at the European Parliament. I had the opportunity to participate in plenary sessions at the European Parliament where I was able to speak and make known the need for the EU to equip Africa with the tool to take charge of its own development. I also gave a presentation to the firm on the touristic, economic and social aspects of Ghana. I was able to experience other aspects such as office aperitivos, exposure to intriguing art pieces and cultural interactions.
I was exposed to the international landscape of anti-corruption laws and practices. The classes were interactive and educational; discussions were made into international anti-corruption treaties, case law and possible solutions to alleviate corruption. There was a guest speaker from the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, who gave us insightful information about the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The class consisted of members from different countries; thus we shared anti-corruption experiences and details of corruption scandals from jurisdictions such as Germany, France and Nigeria. I greatly enjoyed the course and graduated with a 30 cum laude.
The course equipped me with dialoguing skills and taught me the art of negotiation. The class engaged in simulations to sharpen our negotiation and mediation skills. Dispute resolution techniques were discussed and experiences were shared from various jurisdictions. The class was also exposed to the psychological aspects of human behaviour that influences dispute resolution. It was very enlightening to study the human brain and the biological and behavioural aspects. I thoroughly enjoyed the course and graduated with a 30 cum laude.
Upon arrival in Italy, the ASLAWomen team met us with smiles. We were chauffeured to our place of accommodation and given general information on getting around Milan. We then had lunch with our mentor, Cristina Fussi. ASLA was involved in our experience through occasional meetings with our mentor as well as other events. These events included a social gathering with members of Young ASLA. I was also involved in moot preparation of the Bocconi team participating in an international moot competition. As part of the program, we met the anti-corruption agency of Italy, ANAC; ANAC gave an insightful exposé on its mechanism of operation and policies implemented to fulfil its mandate of anti-corruption. The meeting was very educative and gave me ideas on how to contribute to the anti-corruption landscape in Ghana. As part of the anti-corruption experience, I gave a presentation on anti-corruption in Ghana to members of ASLA.
I was exposed to the multifaceted phases of the rich Italian culture, art, historic sites and tantalising food. I also got the chance to visit many countries all over Europe. I made very good friends and establish long term bonds. My interactions with Italians and citizens of different countries improved my perspective of globalisation and culture.
In general, my experience was a great one. It developed me professionally, socially and intellectually. However, there was an initial problem with accommodation which was gradually resolved. I believe that the full details of the lodging arrangements and assigned law firms need to be fully disclosed in order to better prepare the participant.