Turkey: International Legal Traineeship In Turkey

Last Updated: 27 December 2015
Article by Övgüm Bozdoğan


My choice to gain work experience at Bicak Law firm was a voluntary and completely spontaneous decision. Having just finished my LLB Law degree and commencing my Legal Practice course in September, I thought that it would have been a good to utilise the time that I had on holiday. I researched possible law firms in Ankara and I decided to get into contact with Bicak Law firm due to their domestic and international relations. I was delighted when they responded with positive feedback so promptly.

Ankara in general is a special place for me, having spent most of my childhood summer holidays here, I definitely feel at home and have adapted to the way of life here. The busy and bustling city may be intimidating at first, but I think it adds to the character of Ankara. However, the only thing that I am still not used to is the traffic!

I was not worried about the language barrier either as I am fluent in both English and Turkish. However what did make me nervous was the idea of being in a totally different atmosphere. My worries did not last long when I started my first day at the firm, the atmosphere was extremely friendly and the staff are definitely welcoming and the firm has an 'at home' feel. The hospitality of the Turkish nation is undeniable, and the hospitality that I saw at the firm definitely lived up to the reputation.

During the month of August that I came as a trainee, was the time in which there was judicial recess. There aren't many court cases that took place during judicial recess so I mostly was able to read about cases that were going to resume after the judicial recess. The cases that I read ranged from company, criminal and family law. I learned a lot from reading the cases and seeing the actual procedures and work that went into putting a case together. It was interesting to see the extensive paperwork and evidence that was collected. A particular criminal law case grabbed my attention, where there is a possibility of taking the case to the European court of Human Rights which just showed the vast variety of work that Bicak Law Firm does.

Having studied comparative law, I was able to draw comparison between the judicial systems between the UK and Turkey. I was able to see the difference in the judicial systems by both reading the folders of cases and also when I went to visit the Ankara Courthouse. I was able to see all of the different departments all under one roof. It was a little overwhelming at first as there were countless number of folders and it was obvious that the courthouse could not hold of all of them. However everyone there was organised and worked at a rapid pace. I was introduced to voluntary solicitors who were giving free legal advice to members of the public who could not afford a solicitor. The atmosphere and the people that I was introduced to at the courthouse was again, extremely welcoming and warm.

I was also able to sit and witness a few cases regarding trade law. There was not much difference between the ways in which the cases were dealt with in the court rooms of the Turkish judicial system. The cases that I sat through had witnesses called forth, to declare income and assets, this was particularly interesting as I had never witnessed a case regarding trade law and it was interesting to see the different number of questions that were asked.

I also was able to visit the 'Gelincik' association founded by the 'Ankara Barosu'. This association is designed to help with women who are subject to domestic violence and are in need of help. They have set up a 24/7 hotline in which any victim can call in and they discuss their situation in which if further action is required, they help the victim. There have a number of domestic violence shelters in which they can transfer victims of domestic violence, for their safety. I particularly thought that this association is extremely beneficial as domestic violence is a predominant issue of our society today.

Bicak Law firm offers a wide range of resources and facilities. I was situated in the library where I was able to read books that Prof Dr. Vahit Bicak had wrote regarding the Turkish penal code. This was also translated in English as well, which definitely helped me develop Turkish law vocabulary and also helped me make the comparison between the two.

I think that I would have had a lot more diverse opportunities if my work experience was not during judicial recess, however I do believe that the opportunities given to me were very useful and I feel that I have learned a lot from my time at the law firm. I know that the connections made here are not only for the time that I have been here, but for the time after I leave Turkey.

Not only did reading books, cases, writing reports about marriage and domestic violence help me gain an insight, the successful lawyers; Prof. Dr Vahit Bicak and Av. Ayse Bicak also helped me a lot with the advice that they gave me regarding their own personal experiences in the field of law. Seeing them dealing with clients was also an experience in which helped me gain skills as well.

Overall, I think that my time at Bicak Law firm was extremely beneficial and I am grateful for the people that I have met here. I have had an amazing experience and I am thankful for the opportunity and hospitality that was shown to me. The skills that I have gained here are without a doubt, ones I will take into my future career. It has been a pleasure to work here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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