Externship Leads to Career!

rachelRachel Procopio is a third-year student at William & Mary Law School.  She graduated from Susquehanna University in 2010 with her Bachelors of Science in Biology.  Rachel is a Graduate Research Fellow, the Senior Articles Editor of the William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review, and the co-chair of the law school’s Bone Marrow Drive Committee.

I did not know it at the time, but deciding to apply for an externship at Rawls McNelis + Mitchell for the spring of my 2L year was the best career decision I have ever made.  When I walked into my interview with Mr. Ed McNelis in the end of November 2011, I was unaware that the twenty-minute interview would lead to my first full-time position as an attorney.

The summer after my 1L year, I worked in-house for a healthcare system in Pennsylvania.  Because I wanted to work at a firm doing civil litigation, I began interviewing for various summer associate positions during my 2L fall.  I knew that pursuing an externship with a law firm would compliment the skills I had gained during my summer experience at the hospital.  In pursuing an externship, I hoped to tweak my abilities and set myself apart in the search for a job in the private sector after graduation.

The externship opportunity with Rawls McNelis + Mitchell immediately caught my eye when it was posted on the Office of Career Services job website.  The firm is a healthcare boutique in Richmond, specializing in medical malpractice defense.  Medical malpractice was an area of law that I was especially interested in working in, and I thought that my experience in healthcare would set me apart from others applying.   My assumption was correct, and I was chosen for the externship.

Working as an extern at Rawls McNelis + Mitchell was a great learning experience.  I traveled to Richmond every Friday during the spring, and I was able to work on a variety of projects for several different attorneys.  I helped attorneys draft motions, I wrote memos, and I researched.  I was also lucky enough to be able to witness the firm’s attorneys in action by attending depositions and sitting in on conference calls with clients.  I worked as hard as I could as an extern, and took on many assignments even when I was not in the office.  About six weeks into my externship, I received an offer to return to the firm as a summer associate.  I returned for the summer in May, and I have not stopped working for the firm since.

On July 27, 2012, the last day of my summer position, I accepted an offer to work at Rawls McNelis + Mitchell after graduation.  I am ecstatic to be joining the firm in August, and very happy that I decided to pursue the externship that led to this incredible opportunity.