Pros: free coffee and tea, office parties, welcoming and encouraging working environment
Cons: sometimes too open and made for distraction
When I started my internship at Mintel Group, Ltd., I experienced a completely different type of work environment. Mintel had offices for their Human Resources and Accounts Departments, which were there mainly for privacy reasons, and medium to large conference spaces for meetings and conference calls. Every other department had an open seating arrangement where employees were encouraged to sit wherever there was an open space. Departments such as Sales, Marketing, IT, and Legal mainly stayed in their designated spaces; however, there were many occasions when employees moved around to multiple spaces depending on the type of project they were working on.
Mintel’s Legal Department consisted of two paralegals and a general counsel who handled any and all legal questions, issues, or concerns. Their main concern was maintaining Mintel’s best interests, particularly from a financial standpoint. Whatever affected Mintel’s bottom line was Legal’s highest priority, as far as managing work load.
Despite the challenging workload, the working environment was welcoming, helpful, and informative. I never felt like a temporary intern, but someone who was a part of a team. The general counsel and paralegals found work for me that would be a learning experience. I worked on a variety of different tasks, and was included in major projects that were believed to be beneficial. Any work I did was valued, even if it was not the highest priority. If I had any questions I knew I could ask someone for help, although a certain level of autonomy was appreciated.
Even though independence was encouraged – more... in general tasks, I had plenty of guidance with more complicated assignments without ever being micromanaged. Each time I was given an entirely new project, I was given an introduction and specific resources and guidelines to follow. When I completed a task I would discuss it with either the general counsel or the paralegals and discuss what the next step, if any, should be. I also interacted with the general counsel and paralegals daily about my own responsibilities and was kept informed of current projects. Everyone I interacted with or worked with was helpful and welcoming. It truly felt like I was an employee at Mintel.
While interning at Mintel, I worked on a variety of different tasks, including projects with the general counsel, both paralegals, and employees from other Mintel departments and offices. With the general counsel and paralegal, I collaborated on a Master Services Agreement. I attended conference calls and meetings, and discussed changes and incorporated those changes into the contract itself. I worked on Non-Disclosure Agreements and reviewed my changes with both the general counsel and paralegals. I reviewed and red-lined the contracts with Mintel changes before sending the edited copies to the Sales contact working directly with the customer. I often corresponded with the Sales contact in order to have a better understanding of what the customer was specifically requesting. I also prepared an end-of-week project report for review by Mintel management and digitized customer contracts while also looking for any duplicates. Finally, my major task at Mintel was redacting and registering Mintel reports with the electronic Copyright Office. I used Mintel’s Copyright Manual to get complete instructions on the process of registration and descriptions on why registration was necessary. I registered reports both monthly and quarterly and kept an updated spreadsheet detailing the required steps.
The hardest part of the job was learning to work in such an open environment. Many times it would prove difficult to concentrate because of multiple distractions.
I enjoyed the unique perspective of working with an in-house legal team. It was interesting and exciting to see the practical side of the law in a corporate setting. Learning about, and taking part in, Mintel’s process of protecting intellectual property rights was also challenging yet enlightening. – less