Daniel Greger worked last year as a trainee lawyer for labor law in Luther’s attorney’s office. At the Hamburg location, he has the team around Dr. Volker Schneider supports and has been a member of the team as a lawyer since June 2021. In the interview, he talks about his insights as a trainee lawyer at Luther, his passion for labor law and what it all meant for starting his career.
You were a trainee lawyer with Luther. What opportunities did the law firm offer you, which is why you completed your station here?
My goal for the station in the legal profession was to get to know the legal profession in general and to gain insight into employment law practice in particular. Working in a large law firm particularly appealed to me because I assumed that there I would find the necessary practical experience with a lot of variety and advice at the highest level. I was not to be disappointed with this expectation during my station at Luther in Hamburg in labor law.
On the one hand, this was due to the fact that I was able to accompany very varied mandates and procedures, which showed the range of different needs for legal advice. The clients included corporations, medium-sized companies and a few private individuals, whose different circumstances had to be taken into account. The proceedings were also varied in terms of content, so to speak, everything was included from A to Z: from the applicability of German law to an employee posted to Germany, to grandfathering disputes relating to the employment relationship, to the question of the jurisdiction of the labor court for the existence of the employment relationship of an external manager.
In addition, I was able to work in a highly specialized team, in which complex questions, some of which were still unanswered by the courts, were solved. In addition to all the legal insights, I was able to further develop the handling of the facts described by the client and a precise argumentation.
How did you know which area of law is right for you? Did you try other areas as well before deciding on employment law?
I focused on employment law at an early stage and had already selected employment law for my major. This is mainly because of the social importance of labor law. Labor law directly affects around 40 million people in Germany. For the majority of the population, the content of their employment relationship plays an important role, as they spend a large part of the week performing work, whether in the role of employer or employee.
During my legal clerkship, I wanted to further sharpen my substantive legal and procedural knowledge. This was mainly due to the fact that my passion for procedural law and litigation was awakened during my legal clerkship. Labor law does justice to this in a special way, since legal disputes often arise. Since I was sure that I wanted to work as a lawyer in labor law later on, I completed my specialist lawyer course in labor law during my legal clerkship.
What was a typical working day like for you?
During my time as a trainee lawyer, I was able to provide support in a large number of procedures. My tasks consisted primarily of drafting court briefs and writing memos on legal issues in a wide variety of ramifications of individual and collective employment law. In addition, the integration into the practical work at Luther is an important part of the training, so that I was able to take part in a large number of client meetings. I also found it very instructive and exciting to take part in the numerous conciliation and chamber negotiations before the labor courts. The labor law team in Hamburg alone attended appointments before the labor courts almost every day – as a trainee lawyer, I was able to attend regularly.
How do you deal with the other trainee lawyers, the associates and the partners at Luther?
The cooperation is very respectful and cooperative. The focus of the work is always advice at the highest level. It was very helpful for this to benefit from the many years of experience of the partner responsible for me, Dr. Volker Schneider and the other lawyers in the team to participate and to be able to make my own personal contribution through my work.
How heavy is the workload as a trainee lawyer, especially with regard to exam preparation?
Like most of the traineeship, my station was very self-determined. On the one hand, I communicated early on that I wanted to be involved as much as possible in client work. On the other hand, I also expressed openly when I needed additional time to write mock exams because of additional events of the study group. In both cases, my wishes and needs were taken into account while respecting the needs of the team.
This allowed me to demonstrate my skills four days a week and dedicated one day a week to participating in study groups and writing exams. On my working days at Luther, I worked as a full-time employee. I wasn’t asked to work past 7pm. So there was enough time for the “Alster Tour”.
What support do you get as a trainee lawyer at Luther, also with regard to the second state examination?
The greatest support was certainly in the station work. Because through the daily processing of the files, I repeatedly encountered substantive, legal and procedural problems, which made it easier for me to further develop my awareness of the problems for the file extracts in preparation for the exams. My personal mentor Dr. Volker Schneider was always at my side, also with regard to tactical considerations.
In addition, as a trainee teacher, you will also receive extensive support with the obligatory writing of test exams through the provision of the Kaiser exams flat rate. Any gaps can also be closed by participating in internal Luther revision courses. This also extends to targeted training in presenting files in preparation for the oral exam
How was the transition from student life to traineeship for you? Did the university prepare you well for practice in this regard?
The legal methodology and a foundation of knowledge of substantive law were taught to me during my studies or I acquired them during my studies. In my experience, both are essential for the legal practice that the second exam prepares you for. However, the legal clerkship once again conveyed to me how responsible the activities in legal practice are and what a special attraction this responsibility emanates from. It is no longer – as in the course – about an abstract entitlement test of A and B and about reaching another justifiable result. Rather, the legal clerkship is about the result of the legal assessment of a specific situation that actually happened and on which a judgment may be issued on behalf of the people.
Looking back: What has been the best moment of your legal clerkship so far?
On the one hand, that was the recognition of my work by a client who reported back how satisfied he was with the result of my work and, on the other hand, of course, that the opportunity arose to work as a lawyer for Luther while I was stationed. Sometimes the future employer emerges from a station.