Preparing Myself for a Legal Career with a Law Internship in Madrid

Christian Sotomayor
legal career with a law internship in madrid

Christian Sotomayer, a student at California State University, Long beach; recently completed a 2 month Law Internship in Madrid, Spain to gain diverse international career experience. He tells us about his legal internship, the task he was involved in, his memorable moments, and working towards long-term goals in the legal field.

Finding My Passion for the Law Field

It is interesting to think of how my mind was going into the internship that I chose in Madrid. I was at a point where I felt extremely unsure of what I wanted my future career to be. I had just graduated college and had doubts about what my next step was going to be. I asked myself questions like, “Do I want to go to Law School?” and “Am I emotionally and mentally prepared for law school?” These were a couple of the many realizations I was asking myself before I made the trek to Spain. I felt like they were extremely valid at this time in my life. But beyond the doubts and tribulations, I decided that I was going to give this field of study one more shot. I figured that the experience I will receive in Madrid will give me a new appreciation for Law that I needed.

Settling Into My International Law Firm Internship

Madrid lawyer and colleague with law intern
In this image I am alongside Fernando Fanego (Middle) and his colleague Sergio Garcia-Valle (Far Left) at a campaign event for Juango Ospina in Madrid.

After my first 2 weeks at the Eureka Spanish School, I got an incredible understanding of how the Spanish spoken in Spain was entirely different compared to the Spanish that I was taught growing up in an Ecuadorean household. Through the help of my native speaking and the assistance of the passionate teachers at Eureka, I picked up on this new style of Spanish right away. With the new confidence I gained in the language, I was ready to embark on this new journey with the internship.

Several days before my start date, I went on a private journey with Angel, the Adelante Madrid program director, to meet my future boss. Angel politely showed me exactly how to get to my work, which was about 45 minutes outside of the city. To reach this destination, I had to take the train to a specific station that held most of Madrid’s metro buses. From there I would have to take a bus and relax for 30 minutes while enjoying the beautiful grassland views outside the city. Once we got to Las Rosas, we disembarked and walked over to the office of the attorney I will be interning, Fernando Fanego.

Meeting Fernando was an instant game changer. He had this confidence, charisma, and magnetic energy that impressed me a lot. I had gathered a mental image in my mind that most attorneys were unmotivated and disliked their job, but after seeing Fernando and how energetic, vibrant, and youthful he was, I was intrigued. He greeted me with a huge smile and told me how excited he was for me to join him for 2 months.


Learning From an Incredible Attorney in Madrid

Madrid law intern enjoying visit to the ilustre colegio de la abogacia de Madrid
I am with my business associate, Carmen Moreno, enjoying a visit to the Ilustre Colegio de la Abogacía de Madrid in barrio Salamanca

From the get-go, I began by asking Fernando many questions such as, “What made you decide you wanted to become a lawyer?” and “Is this career everything you hoped for?” He gave me a wide array of different stories. He opened up to me and told me that the reason why he got into law was the result of becoming extremely dedicated tohis studies because of a tough childhood at home. Due to the reason that his parents separated when he was so young, Fernando realized that his education and studies were an escape from the personal troubles he was facing. He decided that he wanted to go into Law through his determination at working at the highest level and bringing justice to his city.

By being an incredible people person, Fernando was able to strive in creating connections with his firm and with other business opportunities throughout Madrid. Specializing in labor law, he showed me the process of representing someone who had been injured on the job and allowing that person to fully speak their story so that he could connect with them. The relationship Fernando had with his clients showed me a different side of Law that I had never been accustomed to. What I feared was true was that every attorney’s only goal was just to grab the money and go, without really worrying about the wellbeing of the client.

Fernando showed me that the satisfaction of the customer is the most important aspect of the job. This spoke to me heavily because my father lived by this statement in his profession. The client is ultimately the one who puts food on the table and gives you everything you’ve worked so hard for. As a result, word of mouth is so crucial to the success of your firm or business. Fernando was a solemn believer of this claim and his positive and friendly attitude gave me hope that I too can become a lawyer just the way I wanted to.

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My Tasks as a Law Intern at a Law Firm in Madrid

The office experience at Fernando’s law firm was a memorable one. He had a beautiful space where his private office was dazzled with his prosperous degrees, awards, and legacies. He showed me a variety of his cases and explained to me the specific processes that go into strategically analyzing the causes, suits, and actions needed to take place. It was a very interesting hands-on treat that I was fascinated with. I have to admit, when he assigned me files to read, I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know how to attempt analyzing a 200+ page casein a matter of minutes. However, I asked an enormous amount of questions and Fernando answered all of them respectfully and patiently. Within a few weeks, my confidence and preparedness started replacing my nervousness. With his guidance and knowledge, I was able to prosper as his intern.

Outside of work, this opportunity kept getting more interesting. Being one of the finest lawyers in Madrid, Fernando was connected to a large group of attorneys, businesspeople, philanthropists, journalists, etc. He gave me a closer look into a legal campaign initiated by the team of Juango Ospina, a young prosecutor who was running to be the president of the legal society of lawyers in Madrid. This was an exciting process due to how much went into this campaign. From the personal interviews, I would see Juango participate in, the luxurious fundraisers I would be invited to.

during a session of the podcast with Madrid lawyer
Fernando Fanego (Middle) and self-made millionaire and influencer, Jorge Branger (Far Right), during a session of the podcast. Jorge Branger was our special guest where he was promoting his new book, El Club Del 1%. I just received my copy in the mail and I’m so excited to read it.
intern at law internship in madrid
Carmen Moreno (Left), Fernando Fanego (Middle), and Me (Right) in the staircase of the Colegio de Abogacia de Madrid

Lessons From My Law Internship in Madrid and How It's Contributing to My Long-Term Career Goals

In addition to this unique time, Fernando also introduced me to his podcast that he hosted every Monday and Friday. Having this podcast was an incredible way for us to unwind from all the stresses of work in a relaxed and intrapersonal environment. Fernando would interview people from different walks of life: politicians, musicians, journalists, actors, leaders, influencers, and much more. This was one of my favorite parts of my entire trip.

Working alongside Fernando Fanego, allowed me to find the confidence I was searching for in the professional world. He gave me a new perspective on how to be a fine lawyer but to also have a life outside of the office. The memories that I have made in Madrid have forever changed me. I am grateful that I was able to have such a gravitating experience with the career I picked for my internship. From being a bit skeptical to take part in law, I feel blessed for giving it a second chance. More importantly, I feel even luckier to have gotten Fernando to be my boss. Not only did he give me the tools to be an exceptional lawyer, but, he also gave me valuable life advice that is beneficial for a young adult to use. I take great pride in knowing that he will continue being a great friend of mine and someone who gifted me with so many memories during my time in Madrid.

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