STEP

Use ELSA STEP traineeships to get international work experience! The next round of applications will open in fall 2019.

The Student Trainee Exchange Programme (STEP) is an international internship programme organised by ELSA. STEP offers law students and young lawyers with valuable opportunities to work abroad. The purpose of the internship is to promote legal education and understanding by offering international internships and receiving trainees.

During your traineeship, the local ELSA team will help you with various practical matters and help you get to know the local culture. So you do not need to worry about finding an apartment, obtaining a visa, or any other practical matters.

Reasons to apply to a STEP traineeship

  • Free: only an ELSA membership is required
  • Easy: just submit an application form online, with the help of the Finnish STEP team
  • Always get help: The Finnish STEP team will help you with the application, and the STEP team in your target country will help you with practical matters and offers social programme
  • Diverse opportunities: there are dozens of countries and legal fields available in STEP
  • All in one: get relevant work experience, learn to know a new culture and new languages, and travel around the world
ELSA STEP traineeship meant for me simply my dreams becoming true - I got a trainee position in a dream team of a company I respected. This experience taught me so much about work as a legal counsel in an international tech company, threw at me unbelievable challenges and made me stronger in every possible way. Also, it gave me the chance to experience life in another amazing country and meet people who have now a special place in my heart.

Getter, a STEP trainee in Finland

About STEP traineeships

STEP traineeships range from two weeks to two years, but generally last a couple of months. There are traineeships available to all students at all stages of their studies and also to recent graduates. Most of the traineeships are paid, and the salary is often relative to the cost of living. There are plenty of traineeship opportunities across Europe and, for example, South America. There are a number of placements in various sectors of employment such as courts, international institutions, universities, and law firms. There are 200–300 internships per application period, so everyone will find a suitable traineeship to apply to.

Discovering STEP traineeships

Traineeships application periods take place twice a year for one month at a time. Traineeships start all year round, and many law students have gained their first work experience e.g. as a summer trainee via STEP. Traineeships are published in March–April and October–November at the application page.

Check out the traineeships available after they have been published on the application page website. Once published, you can use the search functionality to find the training places that are best for you! You can apply to up to three locations per application period.

STEP application process

Applying to STEP traineeships is easy! You can apply to STEP if you are a member of ELSA, whether you are a law student or a recent graduate. If you are not yet a member, you can join us now online!

Traineeships are published in due time at step.elsa.org

  • Use the search functionality to find the traineeships that are best for you
  • Choose 1 to 3 traineeships to apply to
  • Make sure your CV is up to date, and write motivation letters to the traineeships
  • Submit the STEP application form at step.elsa.org during the application period
  • Send a transcript of studies and other certificates (if applicable) to our STEP team for verification
The STEP team at your local group goes through your application. You will be informed when we have forwarded your application for international processing.

Traineeship providers may hold interviews on a common schedule. However, many employers choose not to hold interviews.

The applicants will be informed of the results.

  • Enjoy your traineeship!

Read the instructions for filling out the application form, and if you have any questions, please contact our STEP team. If you have even the smallest question about the application form, it is worth contacting our STEP team. The application form contains a prompt to contact your local STEP representative before submitting the application; however, if you have discovered the instructions and read them thoroughly, it is not necessary to separately contact us before submitting your application.

For STEP traineeship providers

ELSA local groups are responsible for finding STEP traineeship providers in their area. The Student Trainee Exchange Programme benefits both the employer and the trainee. ELSA manages marketing, filtering the applications and is responsible for all practical arrangements: we help trainees find an apartment and a visa, and provide the trainee with social programme. The employer, in turn, defines the content, duration and criteria of the traineeship. For example, traineeship criteria may be proficience in German or French, or extensive knowledge of corporate law or EU law. The trainee, on the other hand, gets international work experience during the traineeship, and enjoys the opportunity to get acquainted with your corporate culture.

We search for STEP traineeship providers twice a year – in the spring we search for traineeships in the fall, and in the fall we search for traineeships in the spring and summer. The employer can adjust the length of the traineeship as required. The typical period is 2–4 months. The trainee is usually paid a salary relative to the cost of living (in Finland generally about 1,000–1,500 € / month). However, the choice of salary is at the discretion of the employer: the employer signs the employment contract with the trainee independently without the intervention of ELSA, so the program is very flexible. For more information on STEP, please visit the program website. If you are interested, please contact us!

International Focus Programme

The International Focus Program (IFP) offers ELSA member countries the opportunity to focus on a current issues during a pretermined period. The current IFP theme is Environmental Law (for the period from 1 August 2016 to 31 December 2019). The idea of IFP is to raise awareness of a particular internationally important theme. The purpose is also to bring the ELSA network together, as everyone is committed to organising events related to the theme. The IFP is particularly visible every spring during the IFP Week, which brings lots of events to ELSA members and other students. The 2019 IFP week will take place between 8 and 14 April 2019.

ELSA will decide the 2020 IFP theme soon, stay tuned!

Read more about IFP

Read about the 2018 IFP Week in Helsinki (in Finnish)

Contact us

If you have any questions about STEP, please contact the national or local STEP representatives.

ELSA Finland:

Janna Järvinen

Vice President for STEP, ELSA Finland

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ELSA Helsinki:

Roosa Junttonen

Vice President for STEP, ELSA Helsinki

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ELSA Joensuu:

Anna Ollila

Vice President for STEP, ELSA Joensuu

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ELSA Rovaniemi:

Kaisa Isokotamäki

Vice President for STEP, ELSA Rovaniemi

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ELSA Turku:

Otto-Pekka Leikkonen

Vice President for STEP, ELSA Turku

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