What We Do When We’re Not in Law School: A Survey of Summer Jobs

One of the questions many prospective law students often have (and that I definitely had when I was looking at law school) is about what, exactly, law students do during their summers. The answer is: some pretty cool stuff. Below is a selection of summaries about what current BC Law rising 2Ls and 3Ls are currently doing in cities across the country, grouped into five categories: Firms, In-House Counsel & Consulting, Judicial Internships, Public Interest, and Government. This group isn’t necessarily representative (it basically represents who I could dragoon into writing something up for me on short notice — thanks friends!), but hopefully it will give you a general sense of the different types of work law students do before they graduate. As always, if you have any questions, use the comments to ask away!

Firms

Alison Agnew, Rising 3L
Summer Associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath (Washington, DC)

When thinking about attending BC, I knew I probably wanted to come back to Washington, DC after graduation and was nervous about making that transition from a school “way up north” in Boston. Now that I’m in my second summer in DC, I can safely say that BC has an amazing network and helped me tremendously in establishing a career in DC. Washington is a great place to be a lawyer – the opportunities to practice are extremely diverse and seemingly endless – and BC is a great way to get here!

I’m currently working as a Summer Associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath, a large, national law firm. Over the summer, I will work on projects in all practice groups, including the Litigation, Corporate, and Regulatory/Government Affairs groups. Though it is only my second week, there is always a lot to do! I am currently working with the Communications group on an appeal of a regulatory compliance issue with the FCC. I hope to get involved in projects with the Health Care and IP groups throughout the summer. My fellow Summer Associates here are working on corporate restructurings and pro bono projects (including a challenge of the trademark of the Washington Redskins). Drinker Biddle also has a unique training program that introduces summer and junior associates to both litigation and corporate work to give everyone access to different projects and to develop critical skills.

Nirav Bhatt, Rising 3L
Summer Associate at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (New York City)

In the first couple weeks I’ve been exposed to both Litigation and Corporate matters. My responsibilities so far have entailed legal research and drafting memos in Practice Areas ranging from White Collar Defense, IP Litigation, and Commercial Litigation to Contracts, Venture Capital Finance, and Mergers and Acquisitions. I am constantly learning how to craft memos and draft motions/contracts in a more analytical and comprehensive manner — which takes some time! I also meet and connect with the associates and partners at the firm often during my assignments, using their guidance and expertise along the way. So far it’s been a great experience, and I look forward to the rest of the summer.

Laura Jacobs, Rising 3L
Summer Associate at Goodwin Proctor (Boston)

I am summering at Goodwin Procter in the Boston office. It is week three for me, and I have already had a wide range of transactional assignments. Right now, I am working on an IPO as well as drafting documents for a financing agreement. I also have already met with various clients and am attending a pitch later this week. It has been a great experience so far, and I am excited for the rest of the summer!

Jen Lichtman, Rising 3L
Summer Associate at Foley Hoag (Boston)

I am a Summer Associate at Foley Hoag, a large law firm in Boston. I have access to assignments in each of the firm’s core practice areas: Business, Energy & Environmental, IP, International Litigation & Arbitration, Labor & Employment, Litigation, Real Estate, and Regulatory & Government Strategies. This summer, I’ve participated in writing workshops, corporate drafting exercises, and motion practice tutorials. I’ve also been assigned a senior attorney mentor, a junior attorney buddy, and am playing in the lawyer softball league where we compete against other big firms in town.

Charlene Ochogo, Rising 2L
Summer Associate at Harter Secrest & Emery (Rochester, NY)

I’m working as a summer associate at Harter Secrest & Emery, a large firm (in a small market) in Rochester, NY. There’s only 6 of us in our summer class (all ladies – girl power!) I got the job relatively early (end of January) through one of career services various emails about diversity scholarships and I decided to apply since I have family in Western NY.

I’ll be rotating through three departments (property, business, and litigation), starting in property. So far I’ve gotten assigned to draft a contract, research environmental requirements for a prospective buyer of contaminated land, fill out a tax form for a retirement plan, and write a newsletter to firm clients about a tax provision as it applies to retirement plans. (Note: I knew how to do exactly 0 of these things, but I’m learning!)

I’m having a BLAST. I love being presented with a challenge (even though the tax assignments sometimes make me want to cry) because it’s SO satisfying to know that whatever I come up with actually helps another attorney or a client. It’s definitely giving me a better understanding of these areas of law and what it’s like to work at a firm.

Rob Rossi, Rising 3L
Summer Associate (Boston)

I’m working at a large law firm in Boston. I have two coordinating attorneys who assign me work. My assignments have included analyzing and summarizing contracts, and researching interpretations of SEC regulations. We have training sessions almost daily, and social events outside of work just as frequently. Last night we went to a Red Sox game (I got to go on the field before the game!), and tonight we are playing softball.

Britney Ryan, Rising 3L
Summer Associate at K&L Gates, LLP (Boston)

I am working for K&L Gates, LLP, in their Boston Office. K&L is a global firm, with offices in the United States, South America, Australia, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Boston office has a large litigation practice area, as well as a corporate practice area and an investment management group. Over this summer, I will work on assignments from all different practice groups. K&L wants to make sure us summer associates are exposed to projects in all different areas of the law, which is perfect for students like myself who aren’t entirely sure what we are most interested in at this time. As summer associates, we do a lot of research projects, but we also have opportunities to draft memos, work on deals, and observe attorneys in many different legal situations that arise in their day to day practice.

In-House Counsel & Consulting

Jordan Call, Rising 3L
Law Clerk for In-House Counsel (Midwest)

I am working as a summer law clerk for the legal department of a Fortune 500 automotive supplier in the Midwest. My position has involved a large variety of business-related legal work. One assignment involved reviewing and compiling key provisions of large equipment transaction contracts in order to consider whether business practices should be modified. I have also drafted a plant visitor agreement which required a non-disclosure agreement and a liability waiver. Other assignments have involved updating corporate governance documents.

Andrea Clavijo, Rising 3L
Legal Intern at Telecommunications Management Group, Inc. (Arlington, VA)

This summer I’m working as a Communications and Information Technology Legal Intern at Telecommunications Management Group, Inc. in Arlington, VA. TMG advises primarily international private and public sector clients on an array of issues impacting the telecommunications and technology industry, particularly regulatory, managerial and strategic issues. So far I have helped prepare a proposal to the World Bank to develop Quality of Service Standards for the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Sector in Seychelles. I’ve also assisted in presenting and analyzing criteria to help restructure the organization and development of the Telecommunications Unit in Barbados. The training BC has provided me to “think like a lawyer” has proven very useful, even in this non-traditional area of the law.

Judicial Internships

Kate Ball, Rising 2L
Judicial Intern & Research Assistant (Boston)

This summer, I am both working as a judicial intern at the Massachusetts Superior Court and as a Research Assistant for a BC Law Professor. As a judicial intern, I get to observe motion session and trials, as well as write memos to inform the judge on anything from what motions have been previously filed in a case to how other judges in Massachusetts have been interpreting a specific statute. It has been a really unique opportunity to see the judicial process first hand and gain a better understanding of the procedure and work that goes into every judicial proceeding. As a Research Assistant, I get to work closely with a Professor to help him with his independent research. This has been a rewarding opportunity to work closely with a Professor outside of the classroom and gain insight into a topic that they are very passionate about. Overall, both positions have enabled me to see first hand what I learned this summer and to continue to expand upon it everyday.

Rufus Urion, Rising 2L
Judicial Intern (Boston)

I am spending the summer in Boston working in the chambers of a Magistrate Judge in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts. My work has involved drafting reports and recommendations for cases that have been referred to the Judge, observing appearances in her courtroom, and working with the Judge’s clerks on other discrete projects. I have been particularly interested in the Judge’s oversight of the Court Assisted Recovery Effort (C.A.R.E.) program. There, formerly incarcerated people with drug addictions are monitored in a collaborative effort between the Judge, U.S. Attorney, federal defenders, probation officers, and treatment providers. Graduates of the one year program earn a one year reduction in the term of their supervised release, and I have been impressed to see so many stakeholders work collectively for participants’ true rehabilitation.

Public Interest

Elizabeth Blass (me!), Rising 3L
Law & Policy Clerk at Juvenile Law Center (Philadelphia)

This summer, I’m working at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia, a non-profit that does policy work and impact litigation on issues involving juveniles. I’m supporting the staff attorneys by researching and writing about a number of different projects, and I’m most excited about work I’m doing to help prepare for an upcoming Supreme Court case that JLC is co-counsel on. I want to practice in this area after graduation, and so having this clerkship and getting to meet the people who did this work in Philadelphia has been absolutely invaluable, even in just my first two weeks. Case in point: One of my supervisors sat down with me earlier this week to talk about post-grad career options and how to apply to fellowships.

This experience has also made me really grateful for the clinical training I got during this past year when I worked in the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project at BC. My clinic experience has helped me to understand the background and context of the work that I’m being asked to do now, and I’m very happy I have that knowledge base to rely on.

Alena Chaps, Rising 3L
Law Clerk in the Public Defender’s Office, Juvenile Division (San Francisco)

This summer, I am working at the Juvenile Division of the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office. In my short time there already, I have drafted motions to suppress evidence and motions to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, visited and interviewed our juvenile clients, completed legal research, and observed the courtroom. I also will have the opportunity to argue motions in court later this summer. I am enjoying this opportunity to develop my legal skills in the context of delinquency proceedings in an office that seeks to work with youth holistically.

Cristina Manzano, Rising 3L
Summer Fellow at Yale Law’s Legal Services Organization (New Haven, CT)

I am currently working at Yale Legal Services Organization in New Haven, CT. I am jointly in the Immigration Legal Services division, and the Advocacy for Children and Youth. I am responsible for maintaining all post-asylum cases here at LSO. This involves helping people who have already been granted asylum bring over their family members from their home countries. I am also responsible for getting these client’s citizenship, and helping them access services such as healthcare and other benefits. I will be conducting two to three trainings this summer for Asylum Officers in New York City (Queens) on the best practices in determining credibility of an asylum applicant.

As a policy project, I will be looking at the way the racial bias effects the legal outcome for both immigration cases as well as child welfare cases, and how societal racism effects our ability to be effective lawyers. My program also has an educational component to it, and thus every Wednesday we have a mini lecture taught by various Yale Law professors and get free lunch! Overall, its an awesome experience.

Sonja Marrett, Rising 2L
Legal Intern at the Conservation Law Foundation (Boston)

I am working at the Conservation Law Foundation, Boston office. In this position, I research and draft legal memoranda regarding Clean Air Act,Clean Water Act, and environmental justice topics in ongoing litigation. I also assist in drafting pleadings for state and federal administrative proceedings and litigation, participate in case and program strategy discussions, and help draft potential Massachusetts legislation.

Government

Zain Ahmad, Rising 2L
Legal Intern at NASA (Washington, DC)

I’m at NASA Headquarters in the Office of the General Counsel in Washington, DC. It’s an out of the world experience, but the laws are grounded right here on Earth. 🙂

I’m just two weeks in and have had the opportunity to work on some litigation matters, learn more about administrative & contract law, participate in reforming internal guidelines, meet with some wickedly talented and intelligent scientists (they’re all willing to take the time to teach me about their respective fields), and start working on a memo that will eventually be turned into a brief filed with the court.

It’s an awesome feeling applying things that I learned during my first year at Boston College Law School in a real world setting. Also, I’m impressed with NASA’s commitment to encouraging the best and brightest minds to work towards advancing humanity forward. I can see why it is the best federal agency to work for. Also, the agency genuinely cares about its employees’ professional and personal development.

Clare Hanlon, Rising 3L
Law Clerk at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Superior Court, Homicide Division (Washington, D.C.)

I’m spending my summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in DC, working in Superior Court, Homicide Division. Law clerks only get a certain level of security clearance, so we get involved with cases after they’ve gone through the grand jury stage and the defendant has been indicted. Our work mostly consists of drafting motions, doing legal research, and generally helping to prepare for trial (watching surveillance videos, listening to jail tapes, going over witness testimony and interviews etc.) The attorneys are always busy so a lot of the job is just being proactive and being available for whatever they need. Any free time is used by heading over to Superior or District court and observing whatever’s going on that day. There are also various field trips and events through or the summer, and some nice job perks like the opportunity to go on a police ride-a-long. It’s a great experience for anyone in law school, not just those interested in government work!

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