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Legal Practice Internships in Cape Town

Legal Practice Internships in Cape Town

Excellent research and analysis skills are essential for lawyers in any field, working to understand legal issues and decisions in detail. Legal Practice internships in Cape Town are intended to expose interns to opportunities related to such tasks, in real-world contexts, where professional lawyers can offer interns with an overview of how the legal system works in South Africa. Their clients are diverse but the majority of cases can be related to representation of refugees.

Internship Highlights:
  • Learn about legal cases and challenges from a South African perspective.
  • Gain insight into how professional lawyers can work in representation of refugees.
  • Build your resume with practical experience related to legal research and administration.
Type of host organizations:
  • Law firms / solo practitioners
Fully hosted experience from $2149
Includes accommodation
Typical schedule: Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Go on safari & discover wildlife
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Legal Practice internships in Cape Town are suitable for students and recent graduates with at least one year of relevant college/university study in a related field, such as Bachelor of Laws, LLB, Political Science, etc. A commitment to research and administrative related activities is required.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Attorney, Lawyer, Employment Law Associate, Law Clerk, Court Interpreter, Legal Manager, Legal Advisor, Process Server, Arbitrator, Barrister, Legal Secretary, Licensed Conveyancer, Paralegal, Solicitor, Chartered Accountant, Civil Service Administrator, Human Resources Officer, Data & Research Analyst, Human Rights Officer, Child Protection Advisor

Internship details

If you’re preparing for a career in law, you’ll know that gaining valuable exposure to different learning experiences will enrich your knowledge and worldview. In this competitive environment, it’s essential to develop practical skills to elevate your classroom learning. Ready to bring a career in law to life? Internships in Cape Town provide exposure to opportunities for developing stronger research and analytical skills, cultural intelligence, and confidence.

This is an in-country internship which includes accommodation. Click here to explore remote Law & Human Rights internships, which you can do from home.

The scope of your role as a Legal Practice intern will be impacted by your chosen duration, as well as your level of experience. Short term interns (one month only) can expect to obtain an overview and understanding of the South African legal system, which may especially pertain to representation of refugee clients. Longer term interns, who have scope to contribute for several months, will likely have broader opportunities to (for example) assist with research related to active cases, assist with appeals, and attend court cases in an observational capacity. (Attendance of court cases in an observational capacity is always subject to availability, regardless of the internship duration). For different examples of previous intern experiences, see “My Human Rights & Law Internship in South Africa” and “Advocating for justice and social inclusion on my Human Rights Law internship in Cape Town”.

For this internship, you will need to bring your own laptop and expect to collaborate directly with your project leader in order to coordinate tasks and planning, since priorities may change from one week to the next. This collaborative approach helps you to become more integrated within the placement.

In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of your experience will focus on settling in and gaining some introductory knowledge, as you will not “hit the ground running”. Rather, you should start with learning about the placement to gain an understanding of what you can build upon, develop, learn, and contribute. Ensure that you ask questions and provide feedback during the introductory period, so that your supervisor understands how you’re progressing. This will help them to better understand important details, such as how quickly you learn, what you find challenging, what you find interesting, etc.

Career Benefits

Legal Practice interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Support research related to representation of clients.

  • Updating files, filing, typing up legal correspondence.

  • Shadowing and/or assisting with client meetings, interviews, and court cases.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Gain understanding of legal practice issues and challenges in South Africa.

  • Learn from an experienced local supervisor.

  • Increase your practical understanding of logistical and administrative requirements.

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

South Africa photo gallery

What recent interns said about their experience

JP
Johanna Ponce
February 2024

I enjoyed the internship as it made me realise more about what a solicitor would do, which in a few years i would be doing in the UK. I did a lot of practical work; not only theory, which I really enjoyed as a law graduate. I had a lot of practical experience which will be very useful for me.

...
AC
Ana Cano
June 2023

The Human Rights Law internship in South Africa greatly empowered me because I realized that I am actually made for a career in law - it gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture, provided me with fulfillment, confidence, a sense of purpose and expanded my worldview. I met with real-life clients, handled legal cases and went to court - these are experiences that I’d never get from a textbook! The internship also taught me how to adapt to situations quickly and working with different kinds of people allowed me to acquire social skills that are useful in the workforce. I felt so welcomed from the beginning and fostered friendships with my colleagues and other interns as we created our little family outside of our countries and supported each other.

...
PM
Patricia Mayaya
January 2022

My long term goal is to become a Human Right Officer. This internship contributed towards this goal because it showed me how human rights officers advocate for justice and fight for the underprivileged. I came into this experience looking for personal growth, and this internship has done just that. I have proved to myself just how reliable, intelligent, professional and confident a woman I can be. I was able to see regardless of how the world wants to perceive me, I am an intelligent, beautiful black woman who has the right to go and be anywhere I choose. This internship showed me how worthy, intelligent and capable I am of doing big things. More importantly, it has pointed me in the right direction for my future. During the internship, I contributed by sharing my ideas. I could speak freely and suggest ideas and activities that could help better the organization. It gave me the opportunity to meet wonderful women from across the world. Working with them, hanging out with them and all the laughter we shared was truly amazing.

...
EH
Emma Henderson
October 2019

I had an amazing time during my three- week internship in Cape Town! I got to work and enhance my CV whilst also fully immersing myself in the culture and activities available there. The food markets and restaurants in Cape Town were amazing. I also had time to travel and relax and unwind. I was truly an amazing experience and I would 100% go again! I got to work in a human rights office for refugees and was given a tour of Cape Town. I did a hike up Table Mountain and took a road trip along the coast of South Africa to Cape point... we even stopped at the beach and I got to try my hand at surfing! The local tour guide was amazing and really friendly.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

Academic credit available for all internships

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.

Learn about course credit

Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $2,149 Equivalent to $76 /day
5 weeks $2,320 Equivalent to $66 /day
6 weeks $2,517 Equivalent to $59 /day
8 weeks $2,859 Equivalent to $51 /day
10 weeks $3,514 Equivalent to $50 /day
12 weeks $3,858 Equivalent to $45 /day
16 weeks $4,654 Equivalent to $41 /day
20 weeks $5,340 Equivalent to $38 /day
24 weeks $6,027 Equivalent to $35 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • All meals
  • All in-country transportation
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
  • A deposit of $499 (approximately 499) is required to secure your internship
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Cape Town begin every Monday and interns may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 24 weeks. (Exceptions to start date availability may occur when start dates are closed due to public holiday disruptions or if the program has already reached capacity). Fewer internship positions are available during late December and early January, due to the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee. The accommodation is covered from the Saturday night before the Monday start date. Interns are asked to arrive on the Saturday before their Monday start date, to allow sufficient time over the weekend to rest and become oriented before beginning on the Monday. The last night of accommodation that is covered by the Program Fee is the Friday night of the final week, leaving interns to depart on the Saturday morning. Extra nights of accommodation can be pre-arranged upon request and paid for separately.

All participants fly into the Cape Town International Airport (CPT), in order to receive their airport pick up and be transported to the accommodation by a pre-arranged driver. Upon arrival to the accommodation, interns are met by a local team member, who will greet them and assist with settling in. Note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

Orientation typically takes place on the Sunday before the Monday start date. It covers important details for the internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. Interns join their placement on the following day.

If you are planning to spend time in Cape Town prior to your internship and will not require an airport pick up, we can arrange an alternative pick up from another location within the central city.

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Accommodation and WiFi

Internship placements are spread throughout Cape Town’s main city center and surrounding suburbs. Accommodation arrangements will be confirmed, once your internship placement has also been assigned. In most cases, accommodation will be situated in the upmarket suburb of Newlands, enjoyed for its leafy surroundings, access to hiking trails, the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and proximity to the beaches of Muizenberg and the CBD. Alternatively, accommodations may also be situated within the Observatory district, known for its student-friendly atmosphere and convenient proximity to the University of Cape Town.

Interns are accommodated within shared lodging, making it easy to connect with fellow program participants. Interns can expect to share a room with another intern (of the same gender). Bathrooms are also shared with a hot water shower and western toilets. WiFi is available and is also accessible at nearby cafes and restaurants. All accommodation provides cooking facilities.

It is important to note that an accommodation bond is requested at check-in. The cost of the bond is US$150, so you must budget for this. However, this bond is fully refundable to you, upon your departure, provided that inspection has been completed to confirm that you have not caused damage to the property or a need for extensive deep cleaning.

Transportation is not provided for in-country commutes between the accommodation and internship placements, so all interns must budget for this independently. The maximum travel time is typically no more than 60 minutes each way (depending on traffic congestion in the city). In all cases, internship placements will be assigned in consideration of commute logistics and opportunities to ride-share with other interns, where possible.

For convenience and safety, local coordinators can arrange a dedicated shuttle service for ongoing placement commutes (Monday through Friday). The cost for this service ranges from approx. US$150 - US$250 a month, per person, depending on the location of your placement. (On a daily basis, this could be equated to approx. US$6-9 per day). If you want to organize this service, please communicate with coordinators when your placement details are being arranged in advance.

Alternatively, for the use of Uber, it is possible to spend US$10-US$20 per day on rides, depending on where you’re going. Please budget for this, especially if you intend to use this transportation method a lot during weekends and free time.

Meals

It is important to note that internships in Cape Town do not include meals. The accommodation is located within short walking distance to an affordable supermarket, as well as great cafes and restaurants. All accommodation also provides cooking facilities.

You can readily drink the tap water throughout the city. However, it is advised to bring your own water supply when traveling to and interning in the townships.

You should aim to budget approximately US$100 per week for food. If you like to go out frequently (rather than going to the grocery store to prepare some of your own meals) then you need to budget up to US$150 per week, at least (this budget can vary depending on personal spending habits). Note that, when you go to a restaurants, there is a cultural expectation to tip at least 10%.

Activities and tourism

On the weekend, interns have spare time to relax and explore. There’s something for everyone, with nightlife, café culture, music, festivals, food markets, wine tours, hiking, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the continent! Here are some of our top picks for activities around Cape Town:

  • Hiking around Table Mountain National Park, just ten minutes from central Cape Town, is a great option to keep fit and healthy and there are lots of trails to explore for any level of adventurer. Reach the top of Table mountain by foot, or take a return cable-car. Don’t forget to challenge yourself to summit Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head!

  • Shark cage diving is an exhilarating experience - if you’re feeling brave enough! Get eye-to-eye with a great white from the safety of a cage or observe from the comfort of the boat. Most dives cost around $130USD, but shop around and speak to others to ensure you get a fair price (based on the season).

  • The Neighbourgoods Market, located at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock (close to the Observatory district) features over 100 specialty traders every Saturday, creating a weekly platform for local farmers, fine-food purveyors, organic merchants, bakers and distributors, grocers, mongers, butchers, artisan producers, celebrated local chefs, and micro enterprises. Don’t miss it!

  • Kick back and relax over the weekend, with a slow-paced wine tour through some of Cape Town’s loveliest estates. Learn about the history of how wine was introduced to the area and sample a delicious selection.

  • General tours to Robben Island usually depart every day. With a rich 500 year, multi-layered history, the island is visited every year by thousands of people, who learn about important aspects of South Africa’s history.

  • The Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA), is located in a converted grain silo, overlooking the Atlantic on the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. The institution has 100 galleries spread over nine floors and the exhibitions focus exclusively on 21st-century work from Africa and the diaspora.

  • For history-buffs, take a wander through South Africa’s oldest building, the Castle of Good Hope. The magnificent building contains displays of historical and military paraphernalia, an art collection, a restaurant as well as a history of the castle itself.

Essential country information

Capital Pretoria (Executive), Bloemfontein (Judicial), Cape Town (Legislative)
Population 55.91 million
Languages Afrikaans, English, Zulu, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana
Currency South African Rand (ZAR)
Time zone UTC+02:00
Weather and climate:

South Africa is generally temperate, however due to varied topography and oceanic influence, a great variety of climatic zones exist. This ranges from the extreme desert of the Namib (northwest South Africa), to the subtropical climate along the Mozambique border and the Indian Ocean (eastern South Africa). Winters in South Africa occur between June and August.

In Cape Town, the summers are warm, dry, and mostly clear; the winters are long, cool, wet, and partly cloudy. It is windy year round and common to see windsurfers enjoying the surf. Over the course of the year, the temperature in Cape Town typically varies from 48°F (9°C) to 76°F (24°C). The warm season in Cape Town usually ranges from December through March and the coldest months are June through September.