Reflecting on 2L Summer Internship

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Reflection — Consideration of some subject matter, idea, or purpose.”
-Merriam Webster’s Dictionary


Oh, what can I say about my summer internship other than it was amazing!  From the time I was 10, I’ve wanted to work for a big corporation as some sort of executive.  Obviously, you don’t go straight into becoming an executive so I have to start somewhere small, and I think a legal intern fits that bill.  I really enjoyed the work I did this summer and I have the opportunity to continue working at the company for this school year.  I also had to meet with my advisor today to discuss my internship so this post is super timely.

What I Did

One of the things I loved about my internship was the variety of projects/tasks that I got to work on.  Because an in-house legal department has to function as essentially a mini law firm, I had the opportunity to pretty much work on every type of law they deal within the legal department.  I worked on a variety of real estate projects, such as renewing leases, drafting lease amendments, drafting property sale agreements.  I also worked on a variety of research projects regarding HR matters and even a personal jurisdiction issue!  I also did a lot of contract review on large accounts and customer accounts.  I also was pulled into a litigation matter and am super excited to continue with this work.

What I Learned

Since I took property well over a year ago, I basically relearned some of the major concepts from property.  I also learned a lot about the deviation of power between the legal department and the business people of a corporation.  While a lot of business management states they need legal to sign off on something, all that means is that the legal department tells the business side the risks associated with what they want to do and the business side takes it from there.  I also learned about the distribution of power between inside and outside counsel.  In those types of relationships, in-house counsel acts more as a buffer between the client (the company) and the outside counsel.  I definitely felt that most of the times, the in-house attorney would tell the outside counsel what they wanted to get done and the outside counsel would do it.  There were times where the outside lawyer was advising the attorney I was working with on what they thought was best in the situation.  I also really learned about the dynamics between a more senior attorney and lower level attorney.  Last summer, I worked for a judge so I only worked under a single attorney, which is a completely different environment.

What I Recommend

If working in house is something that interests you, definitely look for opportunities to intern at a company.  You might not get paid, but it’s totally worth it.  I think it gives you a new perspective on what a lawyer does.  It’s not something that the general public knows about because every lawyer show focuses on civil or criminal litigation.  I also highly recommend being kind and respectful of everyone in the department, like the paralegals and legal assistants.  The paralegals I worked with are amazing and so so knowledgeable about everything so it was great using them as a sounding board and absorbing as much information from them as possible.

In other exciting news, I’m continuing to work there this school year as a paid intern!  Let me know what you were up to this summer!  I’d love to hear about it.

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