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Working remotely? How about interning remotely?

A report on our first remote Internship with BRYTER.

The current pandemic has had a far-reaching impact on the student community, as it has on the whole of society. Like many other students, our travel and work plans for this semester changed dramatically. The majority of internships and work experience which had been long planned were, at best, postponed or, at worst, canceled. So we were particularly pleased when we were informed that our upcoming internship at BRYTER would go ahead fully remote! We had come across BRYTER as participants in the 2nd Freshfields Legal Hackathon in October 2019 where we were impressed with how easy it was to use. So the decision to apply for an internship followed shortly after we found out about the internship. After a very structured but fast application process, we became part of the BRYTER team.

As the name of the program suggests, BRYTER’s internship operates entirely from home. All we needed was a working computer and the confidence to ask questions! BRYTER is a remote-first company; while it currently has offices in Berlin, Frankfurt and London, its operations are fully geared towards supporting its people working from home or elsewhere.

Jana Behtke: `Working remotely requires you to communicate clearly with the people you work with, as you’re not able to just walk by their office or wait until someone asks if you’re doing ok. This fosters a proactive and self-driven culture at the company which was inspiring to witness.´

What does it feel like to work in a remote-first company?

Enjoyable! Surprisingly, we never felt lonely. Like in other internships, you have a supervisor (a ‘BRYTER buddy’) who delegates tasks to you. At the start, it can feel a bit strange to just call, Slack or text someone if you have questions or problems. But very quickly you realize that everyone is happy to help and is almost expecting you to contact them whenever you need.

The Corona pandemic and the fact that our internship took place during the quarantine obviously meant that we never met the people we worked with face-to-face. But with each virtual coffee break and during the company’s first virtual quarterly onsite, we felt like we definitely got to “know” many people in the company.

What did you do as a remote intern?

There were lots of different tasks for several business There were lots of different tasks for several business units to get stuck into as well as learn from. Much of what we did as interns related to BRYTER’s building platform: after a brief introduction to the platform, we were tasked with building modules. As our knowledge of the platform grew, we also helped with building pilots (modules that are based on prospective customers’ wishes to give them a sense of how BRYTER can support their various business cases). We were even given the opportunity to support customers and prospective customers during virtual and onboarding workshops. Alongside that, we carried out research for the business development and sales teams as well as assisted the legal team on business as usual matters.

Noemi Simon: `My sense is that working in a tech company never gets monotonous – every week, if not every day, there are new features to be discovered and utilized for the next application your customers will be working on.´

What did you learn during your time with BRYTER?

The remote internship gave us a chance to gain a practical insight into areas of law that we haven’t come across before, which will certainly be useful when we return to law school. It was also a fantastic experience in remote working, especially during such a challenging time as the quarantine period. Within a matter of days, each intern became part of an international remote team.

We also learnt new skills; chiefly, how to build digital products and the way to break down issues arising in particular subject matter areas into logic structures and decision trees. This way of thinking became habitual after a couple of days and will definitely stand us in good stead in the future as we look to pursue a career as a lawyer. It was also the first experience we had of working in interdisciplinary teams and one we very much enjoyed.

But perhaps most importantly: given that many of the people working at BRYTER are former lawyers themselves, this internship offered an amazing opportunity to catch a glimpse of a less common career path for lawyers, albeit one that we can see more lawyers transitioning towards as the impact of legal tech grows.

Legal Tech isn’t covered by most university courses despite it clearly being more and more important to our industry. We think that will change. This internship at BRYTER encouraged us to think even more outside the box and to broaden our horizons.