Preparing for the 1L Job Search

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

We are officially two months into the second semester, and the summer job search for the 1L class is well underway! While the 1L class is still busy as ever with our classes and the moot court competition, we also must make a commitment each week towards our job search. A summer legal internship is an invaluable opportunity for students to gain real legal experience, improve their legal research and writing skills, and explore different practice areas.

The Office of Career Services (OCS) has been a tremendous help during this ongoing process. Towards the end of the first semester, all 1Ls had individual meetings with their OCS Dean to discuss career interests and develop individualized action plans for securing summer internships. The OCS Deans have been very accessible and helpful in preparing 1Ls for the application and interview process. I have sent cover letters to OCS for review, and each time I received prompt and invaluable edits and feedback which I have incorporated into my applications. OCS also hosts different job workshops for 1Ls throughout the year. Shortly after returning from winter break, OCS hosted an important 1L Interviewing Skills Workshop where they discussed interview strategies, analyzed common mistakes, and detailed what employers value in an interview. As a part of this workshop, we had the opportunity to develop strategies for answering those tough interview questions and practice with our fellow classmates.

Directory Page TitleIn late January, OCS hosted a mandatory mock interview program for all 1Ls. Every first-year student was paired with a William & Mary Law School alumnus or alumna who played the part of an employer interviewing candidates for a summer internship. Approximately twenty minutes of the appointment was for mock interviewing and approximately ten minutes was discussion time for feedback. Students were paired up with an alumnus/alumna who is working in one of their desired practice areas. I am interested in securing employment in the national security field, and I had the privilege of interviewing with Michael Dick, Class of ’06, who currently works for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs. I appreciated the opportunity to practice my interviewing skills, receive good feedback, and gain some more insight into the Department of Justice. This event highlights the strong community that exists here at William & Mary Law School and the dedication our alumni have to the school and to the continued success of our students. I am confident in my job search, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have the support of so many people here at William & Mary Law School.

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2L Judicial Externship Experience

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

One of the most valuable things you can accomplish while being in law school, is to take the opportunity to extern at least once (but hopefully more). Like an internship, an externship will provide you with the opportunity to work with and learn from a practicing professional and to gain insight into a particular field of law.

courthouseThis semester, I will be working for a Virginia Circuit Court Judge in Newport News, Virginia. While it is still very early in the semester, the experience has already been invaluable. Though I have already been assigned important and interesting research projects, I have also been able to sit in court, observing preliminary hearings and motions, as well as to witness part of several trials. Additionally, I have been able to sit with the Judge and one of his clerks, in chambers, and discuss with them different legal issues, policies and procedures. While often the conversations seem casual, it has been an incredible experience to listen to two practicing attorneys of different levels and to hear their input on important issues. As the semester progresses, I am sure my time working for a Judge will continue to prove valuable, interesting and fun.

While this experience is awesome, it is certainly not unique for any one student at William & Mary Law School. Each semester, dozens of students partake in externships of different levels around Virginia. No matter what your interest, there is almost certainly an opportunity out there waiting for you to learn, and the faculty and Office of Career Services at the Law School are always looking to help.

For more information about externships at William & Mary Law School, click here.

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1L Fall and the Office of Career Services

zaleskiby James Zaleski, Class of 2019

Since arriving at law school, every 1L has been asking himself or herself the same questions: (1) what kind of law do I aspire to practice? and (2) how am I going to secure a 1L summer job? The Office of Career Services (OCS) is here to help. OCS purposefully leaves 1Ls alone in August and September so that we can focus on our classes and adjust to law school without worrying about careers and interviews. With two months under our belts, we are now prepared to take on the additional responsibility of beginning our job search. Over the past month, we have had several productive sessions with OCS. We met as a large group for our first session, and each of us received a career planning manual. The manual includes a plethora of career information such as tools for assessing your ideal practice area, networking tips, and strategies for writing a cover letter just to name a few. One of the most useful items is a timeline for the 1L summer job search with specific steps we should take each month.

My second meeting with OCS was a valuable session on resume building. I attended this workshop with my small legal writing section (13 students), and we learned how to build a legal resume. OCS has a wealth of experience with legal employers and knows what distinguishes great law school resumes. The session included a variety of information including what type of resume layout legal employers preferred as well as how to emphasize the legal skills that employers are looking for in our past experiences. I gathered several useful strategies that I am currently incorporating into my resume as I prepare to enter the 1L summer job hunt. In addition to these periodic OCS sessions, every 1L sits down with their career advisor in OCS to touch base and to develop strategies for the 1L job search. I have my meeting next week, and I look forward to speaking with my career services dean about my career interests and job search.

OCS also does a great job of inviting practicing attorneys to the law school to serve on alumni panels. The purpose of these panels is to expose students to different practice areas and provide insight into the life of a practicing attorney. Many 1Ls, myself included, came to law school with an idea of an area of law they want to practice but are still interested in exploring different specialties. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the career panel: Alumni Perspectives, Transactional Law Careers. The panelists included Bonnie Brown (W&M ’12), Ryan Kendrick (W&M ’09), and Kristen Welsh (W&M ’12). I enjoyed hearing their perspectives and learning about their work. Bonnie is a senior assistant city attorney for the city of Hampton, and it was fascinating to hear the work she does as a city attorney. I never realized the diversity of legal issues that arise in local government! Ryan is an associate at Williams Mullen in Norfolk, VA. I enjoyed listening to Ryan talk about his experience as a first-year associate and his insight into how the job changes as you acquire more experience and responsibility. Kristen is corporate counsel for CarMax in Richmond, VA. It was helpful to hear her compare her experiences as an associate at a large law firm with her new experiences as in-house counsel at a Fortune 500 company.

All three panelists were highly informative and approachable as they were all happy to answer individual questions after the panel. Transactional law is an unfamiliar practice area, but it is one I would like to research further as a possible career. As a 1L who is busy with writing assignments and case reading, it is always refreshing to hear from young attorneys who are practicing law and who were in law school just a few years ago. I look forward to working with OCS as I begin my summer job search and research legal practice areas.

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The Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2017

On October 4, 2016, the Office of Career Services, the Student Environmental & Animal Law Society, and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center hosted “Careers in Environmental Law and with the DOJ,” featuring attorneys from the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division. Students had the opportunity to hear from William & Mary Law School alumna Patricia McKenna, who serves as General Counsel for the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). The Deputy Section Chief of the ENRD Appellate Section, Andrew Mergen, also presented at the event.

The ENRD is comprised of 635 employees, including 451 attorneys. The Division operates primarily from its headquarters in Washington, D.C. but also has a number of field offices in locations such as San Francisco, Denver and Boston. ENRD attorneys represent the United States and various federal agencies; sometimes bringing affirmative cases against companies and municipalities, and sometimes defending the federal government against suit.

DOJ ENRDMs. McKenna and Mr. Mergen explained the diverse roles of each of the 10 specialized sections within the ENRD. For instance, in the Wildlife and Marine Resources Division, litigators defend cases brought under Federal Wildlife and Marine Species Conservation laws, including the Endangered Species Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The lawyers in the Environmental Crimes Section work closely with United States Attorneys’ Offices to prosecute organizations and individuals who violate the federal laws that protect our country’s natural resources. The Environmental Enforcement Section handles the civil side of those cases, working extensively with Superfund, The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act. Attorneys assess the amount of damages that respondents’ actions have caused the environment, and they sue for damages accordingly. The Land Acquisition Section handles condemnation cases and proprietary matters. Of all the sections, the Land Acquisition Section takes the most cases to trial. The Law and Policy Section is responsible for coordinating the ENRD’s international work. They also review pending regulations and legislation. The Appellate Section handles appeals from every litigation division and prides itself on giving new attorneys practical experience arguing in the Federal Court of Appeals early on in their careers.

At the conclusion of the program, the attorneys provided insight into opportunities for interning and working at the ENRD. One of the most appealing aspects of their jobs is that they are always doing something different. In an evolving field like environmental law, every case presents its own interesting new challenges. Having Ms. McKenna and Mr. Mergen speak at the Law School provided an invaluable opportunity for students to gain an inside look at the workings of the ENRD.

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Opportunity to Attend the Local Government Attorney’s Conference

willisby Blake Willis, Class of 2018

A major part of law school is networking, and William & Mary certainly provides its share of opportunities for students to meet practitioners and learn from their experiences. One recent example is the opportunity to attend the Virginia Local Government Attorney’s Conference, which was held here in Williamsburg at the end of October. The three-day conference was held at the Kingsmill Resort, just miles from the Law School, on Oct. 28-30. Each year, the conference provides a scholarship for law students who are interested in working for or with local governments in Virginia to attend – and this year, four William & Mary Law students had the privilege of attending. The conference took place over the course of three days, and had sessions which covered a variety of topics ranging from property and rezoning, foster care, new case law, employment law, conflicts of interest, legislative actions, negotiations and parliamentary procedure, bonds and pro bono work. Each session was conducted by practicing attorneys in Virginia, both those who work for the state and those who work in private practice. Attending the conference allows students the chance to hear from real lawyers who work in these areas every day, and to gather valuable information about what the practice of law is really like. The Law School has a great reputation for its commitment to public service, and this conference is a great way to learn more about public service as an avenue to practice law.

In addition to the educational sessions, the conference holds multiple social events, including happy hours, and a dinner reception. As a student attendee, these events are a great time to go and network with attorneys from across the state with whom a common interest may be shared. Further, many of these attorneys are alumni of William & Mary Law School and are always happy to meet and talk with current students. In addition, they love to hear about the current state of the law school and of Williamsburg. While the conference is not always held in Williamsburg, students do attend every year, and it’s a great opportunity to learn, meet attorneys and network, and to have fun.

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Career Conversations: A Summer at the U.S. Attorney’s Office

zimmermanby Liesel Zimmerman, Class of 2018

During the lunch hour on Thursday, October 20, the Law School lobby was bustling with people, participating in the Office of Career Services’ Career Conversations Program. Second-year and third-year students stood wearing nametags and smiles, eager to share stories of their internships from the previous summer. The Office of Career Services (OCS) arranged for students from a variety of legal backgrounds to meet with 1Ls to get them thinking about their upcoming summer job search. The interns provided a range of perspectives, from summer associates at large law firms, to summer research assistants, to interns at non-profits, to summer law clerks for federal judges, among others.

Blog1During Career Conversations, I had the opportunity to talk to interested 1Ls about my summer as a law clerk at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. I am originally from the Buffalo area, and I intend to return there to practice, so I was thrilled to gain experience within the legal market I hope to work in after graduation.

The U.S. Attorney and Assistant U.S. Attorneys serve as federal prosecutors, representing the United States in all federal cases that arise within the 17 counties of Western New York. The office is comprised of a Criminal Division, a Civil Division, and an Appellate Division. I was assigned to three supervising attorneys in the Criminal Division, who acted as mentors over the course of my internship. Each handled a unique caseload and specialized in specific types of crimes, so I learned a great deal about a broad range of cases.

Blog3My daily routine consisted of working in the law library with my fellow law clerks on legal research tasks from our respective supervising attorneys. I often accompanied my attorneys to District Court and observed court proceedings as well. On days when high profile defendants were appearing in court, the media would often stop my attorneys at the door and ask for their comments. It was incredible to have the “inside scoop” on the confidential details of these cases before they were made public!

One such case, handled by the Chief of the Criminal Division, dealt with a civil rights violation. The crime in question took place the week before I began my internship, so I had the chance to see the case evolve from the very beginning. I participated in witness interviews and meetings with opposing counsel and the FBI agents investigating the case. I also completed a legal memorandum that helped determine whether additional individuals should face charges.

Another of my supervising attorneys, who works within the Narcotics and Organized Crime Section, handled a well-known and highly publicized Buffalo narcotics case. I was able to sit in on court proceedings and contribute research to help build the case against the defendant. I also wrote a memorandum on the admissibility of hearsay evidence, which was then submitted to the District Court on my supervisor’s behalf.

Blog2Under my third supervising attorney, I learned a great deal about Human Trafficking prosecutions, an area for which I have a particular passionate. I participated in meetings of the Western District of New York Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance, wherein representatives from numerous agencies meet to create a unified force against human trafficking in Western New York. I also wrote a memorandum that evaluated the probability of success in prosecuting a potential defendant for harboring and concealing a fugitive.

In addition to all the practical knowledge I gained by putting my writing and researching skills to use, my attorneys taught me how to be a successful professional in the legal field. My summer at the US Attorney’s Office confirmed my desire to become a prosecutor, and I was grateful to get to share my experience with my peers.

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Summer Work Experience at Maryland Office of the Attorney General

by Sami Alsawaf, Class of 201alsawaf7

When I first started law school, I was very interested in health care and health insurance. I spent my 1L summer at the National Women’s Law Center in DC, and for my 2L summer, I wanted to see a different side of insurance. This summer I worked at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General in the Insurance Fraud Division.

As luck would have it, it was one of the best job experiences I ever had. I knew going in that trials are nothing like you see on TV, but personally, I found real trials more exciting than what you find on ABC on Thursday night. Trying to follow the prosecutor’s line of questioning to see where he would end up; watching the defense attorney discredit a witness in subtle questions—every move is calculated to achieve a certain result. Every day I learned something new—not just about insurance, but about criminal law, the criminal justice system, and trial tips and strategies. I learned how to think outside the box. What is the best evidence to support a specific element of the crime? How can you show that someone acted negligently, if there was no one around to see the act? Thinking critically and trying to get inside the mind of a jury is essential to winning a case.

In between working and watching trials, I also had the chance to explore downtown Baltimore some. I lived just blocks away from the Inner Harbor, where I would spend my Sunday mornings running along the water front. The city has a culture all to its own, and each neighborhood has a unique vibe. There were plenty of top-notch restaurants and great places to shop. There were always events happening as well—art festivals, concerts, block parties. I am thinking about going back to Baltimore full time, and after my summer, I know it is a great place to live.

I am excited to finish my final year of law school, but I will miss working at the Office of the Attorney General. The people who work in criminal law love what they do, and it shows. The passion and the fire to ensure that justice is served is infectious, and it made me want to work to work to serve justice too. The people in my office were welcoming, instructive, and went out of their way to make sure I had a great experience and learned about criminal justice. Because of the way my office took me under their wing, I am now considering a career in criminal law. Justice—it’s right in the name of the criminal justice system. I have always wanted to work to make sure everyone has a fair chance, and this summer opened my eyes to a way to achieve just that.

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Summer Internship with People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty

maryby Mary Pickard, Class of 2018

Mary Pickard is a 2L at William & Mary Law School from Detroit, Michigan. Mary graduated from Spelman College majoring in Political Science with a minor in Spanish.  While attending Spelman, Mary interned with the 6th Circuit Court in Oakland County Michigan and served as a Congressional intern for Congressman John Dingell of Michigan.  During her undergraduate studies, Mary served two terms as a member of the Spelman Student Government Association as Secretary of Academic Affairs and President junior and senior year, respectively.  Additionally, Mary was a member of Phi Alpha Delta pre-law society, Pi Sigma Alpha, a Women of Excellence Scholar, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa.  While at William & Mary, Mary has been able to explore her passion for corporate, international, and human rights law.  

Entering law school and quickly beginning the job application process can be an overwhelming experience; however, with the assistance of the Office of Career Services (OCS), searching for an internship became much less daunting.  When I began school, I knew I wanted to work within the international sector, whether domestically or abroad.  I have been interested in international law for several years and understood that in order to work in any international sector, international experience was essential.  I explained these goals to my OCS dean, and she was extremely receptive and helpful with writing cover letters, interview preparation, and informing me about various job opportunities.  As I continued my job search, I was excited to learn about the internship opportunities through Professor Warren’s Center for Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, which would afford me the opportunity to work abroad while broadening my legal training.

passopThis summer, I am a legal intern with PASSOP, People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty, a non-profit organization that works to defend, protect, and ensure the rights of all refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants in South Africa. The range of services PASSOP offers to its clients is incomparable, and because it is a smaller office, I have been able to gain experience in each legal service we provide.  Although writing appeals for asylum seekers and refugees who have been denied refuge in South Africa is the crux of our work, in the time that I have been in Cape Town, I have participated in settlement negotiations, assisted in drafting contractual agreements, met with the Department of Labour for South Africa, contested appeal decisions from the Department of Home Affairs, and handled a variety of employment and housing discrimination cases on behalf of the government and private employers.  The work at PASSOP is endless and a truly remarkable experience as it allows me to practice the skills from a variety of courses including Legal Practice, Property, and Contracts. Additionally, I am able to study and interpret the South African Constitution, the South African Refugee Act of 1998, and the recent High Court decision affecting the status of current and future refugee permit holders.

Moreover, while in Cape Town I have the chance to meet and bond with other outstanding law students.  My friends and I love exploring Cape Town and discovering all of its beauty.  From the vibrant and welcoming people to the variety of delicious cuisines and natural wonders such as Table and Lion’s Head Mountain, Cape Town has afforded me the opportunity to expand my horizons as a scholar as well as an individual.

Overall, working at PASSOP and in Cape Town has been an enlightening experience, and I am thrilled that I was able to work for an organization that works so diligently and passionately for others. One of the best parts of working with PASSOP has been the level of responsibility I was entrusted with since the attorneys assigned me several ongoing cases in addition to daily appeals from the moment I began.  Ultimately, I felt prepared for the tasks assigned, and I am confident that the instruction at William & Mary assisted heavily in my preparation.

 

Summer Experience: IP Boutique in DC

kaseyby Kasey Koballa, Class of 2018

Kasey Koballa (Class of 2018) is originally from Wilmington, North Carolina.  She graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  While attending NCSU, Kasey played on the varsity soccer team and worked as a research assistant in an engineering lab specializing in genetically-engineered microorganisms and biomass derivatives.  Prior to entering law school, she worked as a legal intern for a solo practitioner over the summer.  As a 2L, Kasey will be working on the staff of William & Mary Business Law Review and as a board member of the Student Intellectual Property Society.  Her interests include patent law, trademark law, trade secret law, and copyright law. 

With the help of William & Mary Law School’s Office of Career Services (OCS), after preparing various cover letters and resumes, connecting with alumni, and undergoing mock interviews, I was well prepared when December 1st approached, and I could start applying for 1L summer jobs.   I came into law school with a strong desire to study patent law.  Going into my first law school job search, I had high aspirations of working at a firm in Washington, DC to gain experience in intellectual property law.  Little did I know, OCS would help make this goal very attainable.

This summer, I have been working as a Summer Associate at Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, an intellectual property boutique firm, in Washington, DC.  The firm specializes in various areas of intellectual property law, including patent prosecution and litigation and trademark, trade secret, and copyright law – all of which I have been able to gain experience in this summer.  Working in a boutique allowed me to interact with various associates and partners on a daily basis, which I have thoroughly enjoyed.  There was never anyone around the office that I didn’t recognize.  Further, the smaller environment allowed me to gain hands-on experience in various areas.  I was able to attend a Federal Circuit hearing, attend a deposition, draft responses to office actions, and various legal tasks which I did not expect to be assigned with only having one year of law school under my belt.  On top of enjoying the legal work, as a Summer Associate, I was able to experience the work-life balance that accompanies working in a law firm.

The firm paired each Summer Associate with a Partner Mentor and an Associate Buddy to ease the transition into the program and provide an outlet for any questions that may arise.  In addition to monitoring my workload and bearing great advice, my Associate Buddy scheduled lunches throughout the summer to give me an opportunity to see DC and get to know other attorneys at the firm.  Having spent no more than two days in the city before and coming from a small town, this was very helpful in transitioning into DC life.  Outside of the work environment, the firm hosted various social events during the twelve-week program allowing us Summer Associates to enjoy our time in the city even more.  These events consisted of going bowling and attending a National’s game, a few happy hours, and a wine tasting.

I have gained much more than I anticipated during my work this summer.  Not only have I sharpened my legal writing and analytical skills, but I have also made many connections with attorneys and law students who are passionate about intellectual property law.  The skills I have attained and strengthened this summer will be helpful as I enter my second year of law school, the 2L job search, and my fall externship at William & Mary’s Technology Transfer Office where I plan to further harness my passion for patent law.

Summer Work with DocuSign

Vignaliby Emma Vignali, Class of 2018

Emma Vignali is a rising 2L, originally from historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. She graduated from Auburn University (War Eagle!) with degrees in Finance and Psychology. While at Auburn, Emma developed an interest in finance and corporate governance. She spent time in Washington, D.C., interning for Senator Mark R. Warner, who serves on the Senate Committee on Finance. She then went on to intern in the office of the Chief Operating Officer for one of the largest law firms in the world. Now at William & Mary Law School, Emma serves as Secretary for the Women’s Law Society, and is a member of the William & Mary Law Review. She hopes to either practice corporate law or work in-house after graduation.

As the first semester of my 1L year quickly drew to a close, the thought of finding a summer internship weighed heavily on me. When I began law school, I hoped to eventually work in-house at a large company. However, my first semester of law school provided no substantial clarity on my future calling.  Criminal Law with Professor Combs surprisingly sparked an interest that I felt compelled to pursue. How could I be interested in two so drastically different practice areas? While confused about my future, I decided the best way to ease my mind was to spend my 1L summer immersed in one of these areas.

I began my summer internship search by implementing the first piece of advice given in law school: using my already established connections. The 1L internship search tends to be daunting, especially as students realize the number of law students across the country who are all vying for the same positions.  By reaching out to a close family friend, I solidified an interview with in-house counsel in Seattle. I was so excited to receive the position with DocuSign, Inc., as the opportunity to work in-house is a unique experience for a first year law student. I left for Seattle feeling confident that my summer would help me solidify my initial desire to work in-house.

docusignLife does not get much better than it does working in the legal department at DocuSign. On the first day, I was assigned a mentor to lead me through my ten-week journey at the company. My mentor consistently provided direct feedback on my work and became an amazing resource for career advice. It was incredible to have such close contact with a practicing attorney, especially one who truly cared about my progress throughout my internship.

I was also lucky enough to receive an abundance of interesting projects, spanning a number of practice areas and overseen by a range of attorneys. I was tasked with creating a teaching document for the company on open source licensing. Without a tech background, I found myself intimidated by the new terminology and vast amounts of information. However, receiving a project outside of my comfort zone turned into the ultimate learning experience, as I realized the research and writing skills I honed at William & Mary could lead me to be successful at anything I set my mind to. Yet, my favorite project at DocuSign was drafting a lead generation addendum to be attached to an already existing contract. The concepts taught by Professor Oman in my Contracts class became invaluable for my first contract drafting experience. Drafting an addendum from scratch was something I never imagined doing this summer, but resulted in a budding interest for transactional work.

I also found time to fit in a bit of fun in the beautiful state of Washington. DocuSign offers a bi-weekly happy hour for all employees, which became a great opportunity to get to know the attorneys outside of the office. The interns would also often take lunch breaks just a few feet away at the famous Pike Place Market. On weekends, I hiked the surrounding mountains, flew on sea planes, and even went whale watching!

As nervous as I was just a few months ago, I leave Seattle feeling sure of my goals for the future. The scenic landscape of Washington and the state’s wonderfully generous and friendly people have truly impacted me. I can now say with certainty that I plan to take the bar in Washington after graduation.  But even more relieving is the clarity I have gained on my future area of practice; I plan to pursue corporate transactional law after graduation. My internship at DocuSign allowed me to explore a field I had not previously considered, even if just briefly, and I am excited to potentially incorporate transactional work into my practice after graduation. However, that does not mean I have to dismiss my growing interest in criminal law. My hope is to eventually work at a firm where I can incorporate areas of criminal practice into my pro bono work. My summer experience in Seattle has been fun, enlightening, and completely invaluable. I am excited to return to William & Mary for my second year, where I can put the skills I learned this summer into practice.

Networking and Summer Work After 1L Year

robert jonesby Robbie Jones, Class of 2018

My name is Robbie Jones, and I am a rising 2L. I am from DeLand, Florida (just outside Orlando).  Before coming to William & Mary, I attended Stetson University in Florida where I received my B.A. in Political Science in 2014.  While an undergrad, I worked for my local Congressman and interned with a state circuit court judge. I came to William & Mary because I felt the strong sense of community when I visited the school.  At William & Mary, I am on Law Review and the Moot Court team.  I am also an Academic Success Program TA.  Some of my favorite non-law school activities are sports, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.

The summer job search can be an exciting, yet daunting activity for a 1L.  After all, I had just barely figured out how to adequately prepare for classes, and it was time for me to start thinking about what I wanted to do during the summer.  Of course, the Office of Career Services (OCS) was giving us all the help and advice we needed, but it was still a big decision to think about.  I knew I wanted to try to work for a federal judge if possible, so I figured the best place to start would be looking for William & Mary alumni who were judges.  Fortunately, I found Judge Gregory Presnell, a United States District Judge, located in Orlando who is also an undergrad alum from William & Mary.   I reached out to the judge, interviewed during winter break and was hired before I headed back for school!

The lesson I learned through all of this is the importance of just reaching out to people already in the profession.  When I reached out to Judge Presnell, he agreed to meet with me without knowing my grades, involvement at school, or really anything.  I saw firsthand the greatness of the W&M alumni network.  As important as credentials are, I’ve learned that this is a profession where connections matter.  All it took was sending an email to a federal judge (and the W&M connection!) to realize my summer job goal.

Now that I’m working, I have learned so much.  Judge Presnell gives me hands-on experience and treats me just like one of his law clerks. I have written court orders, given my input on pending issues, and observed almost every type of court proceeding in existence.  Judge Presnell will definitely be a mentor of mine long after my internship is finished.   Having a first-year summer job in a place that allows you to see the practical side of the legal profession is a priceless experience. I am so thankful to William & Mary for providing me with such great opportunities thus far!