Week 2: Woah, We’re Halfway There!

5 OSC interns at the White House

Jamie (left) and the other OSC interns get a tour of the White House

I cannot believe this summer, and my time at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), is already more than half way over.  Since my last post, I have been lucky enough to participate in witness interviews, complete numerous writing assignments, and prepare summaries of case files for my supervising attorneys, among many other assignments.  I have also learned the details of the statutes that guide OSC’s procedures and how to apply them in assessing protected disclosures and analyzing prohibited personnel practices.

The work at OSC revolves around protecting whistleblowers, and my unit in particular assesses whistleblower claims of retaliation and engagement in protected activity, and investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices if necessary.  As an intern, I have been involved in helping attorneys through all stages of cases.  In the beginning stage, I have had the chance to read initial case files and provide briefs summarizing the case’s main facts and allegations.  In the middle stage, I participate in witness interviews, propose investigative steps for attorneys, and help assess the strength of the allegations based on document review and witness testimony.  In the final stage, I write memos fully analyzing the complainant’s allegations and explaining why OSC can or cannot further pursue claims under the applicable statute.

Apart from my direct work within the Retaliation and Disclosure Unit, OSC has been involved in a couple Congressional hearings in the last few weeks.  Most notably, Special Counsel Henry Kerner was questioned on the Hill regarding OSC’s recommendation that Kellyanne Conway be removed from her position for violating the Hatch Act.  On that day, we set up a big T.V. in the office, and everyone watched the hearing together like it was a sporting event— I’m not sure I can tell you the last time I was that excited to watch C-SPAN.

Although this work keeps me very busy, the internship program at OSC also provides the opportunity for all interns to socialize and participate in field trips outside of the office.  All of the interns (and a lot of staff too!) do trivia every Wednesday night at a nearby bar, and all interns have had the chance to attend Congressional hearings on the Hill.  The other week, I even had the chance to tour the White House with several other interns.  Additionally, we have the opportunity to attend networking events hosted by the Federal Bar Association.

This summer, I have had the opportunity to constructively apply the skills I developed during my first year of law school to an area of law that I was not previously exposed to in the traditional classroom setting.  I have already learned so much throughout the last five weeks, and I’m excited to see the kinds of cases, assignments, and social activities I will encounter before the close of my internship here at OSC.

Let’s Get Social! 
You’re following us on Instagram, right?? @wmlawadmissions gives you the inside scoop on applications, where you can meet us on the road, and getting ready for #lifeatwmlaw. Then you can follow up with @wmlawschool to get a legit view into student life, faculty highlights, and our fantastic alums! What are you waiting for?! Go hit that follow button and learn how W&M Law students #exceleverywhere

Meet 2L Samy Abdallah!

Samy Abdallah

Samy Abdallah is originally from Plano, Texas, and is a 2L at W&M Law School.

I hope your summer has been off to a great start. My name is Samy Abdallah and I am a rising 2L at William & Mary Law School. I am originally from Plano, Texas, just north of Dallas. I am back home for the summer working at the U.S Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas in the Dallas Office (USAO).

It is a blessing to have an internship at the USAO. The mission statement for the Northern District is as follows: “To represent the Criminal and Civil interests of the United States in the highest tradition. In furtherance of the representation of the United States, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas commits to:

  • Prosecute and defend criminal and civil cases with zeal, fairness and justice for all.
  • Protect the rights of victims, witnesses and the public.
  • Enhance the cooperation of law enforcement agencies and community groups.
  • Inform and educate the public with the goal of building trust and deterring crime.
  • Enhance the quality of life through community programs.
  • Serve as a model of ethical and professional conduct.
  • Provide a work environment to maximize the achievement of these goals.”

This mission statement spoke to me when I applied. I knew I wanted to have an internship that served the public and challenged me intellectually. So far, this internship has done just that. I have been at the USAO in Dallas for just about a month now and I can honestly say the work is equally rewarding as it is challenging.

I have 8 other law colleagues interning with me and they are fantastic. The work assigned to us varies as well. We get assignments from the Criminal, Civil, and Appellate Divisions within the office. Some of the assignments are short-term and others are long-term with a lot of input from the Assistant U.S. Attorneys.

The Assistant U.S. attorneys are very helpful. They were all in law school once, so they know how invaluable this experience is. The supervising attorneys are incredibly helpful with the work they assign and almost all of them maintain an open-door policy. There has not been a moment where I felt uneasy to approach an Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Lastly, this internship is fascinating because law school has taught me what the law is, but this internship has taught me how the law works. Seeing motion hearings, full trials, sentencing hearings, and arraignments put everything I have learned in law school thus far in perspective. This has been an amazing experience thus far and I cannot wait to tell y’all how the rest of this summer pans out!

Catch y’all next time!

Let’s Get Social! 
You’re following us on Instagram, right?? @wmlawadmissions gives you the inside scoop on applications, where you can meet us on the road, and getting ready for #lifeatwmlaw. Then you can follow up with @wmlawschool to get a legit view into student life, faculty highlights, and our fantastic alums! What are you waiting for?! Go hit that follow button and learn how W&M Law students #exceleverywhere