I Like Big Law and I Can’t Deny

Rolling out of my last final exam last semester was such a welcome relief from the stress and rigor of one crazy year. My rest & relaxation didn’t last long though, because my summer job was scheduled to start in just one week. I was apprehensive and nervous, but excited too. It was going to be my first time ever working at a big law firm, and I had no idea what to expect.

For some background on me, I never thought I would be working in Big Law. When I came in to law school, I was gung ho public interest or bust. “I know myself,” I said, “I’ll only be happy doing public interest work where I can really make a difference.” However, I’m a firm believer in seizing every opportunity that comes your way. At least consider the options available to you, before you make your choices. I was presented with one such opportunity when I learned about the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group. The PDLG program works with first year students to place them with law firms and in house positions for their summer experience. I was reluctant at first, but ultimately decided to apply. Over time, I started to think that if I was offered a position through this program, it would be better to test the waters when I have the freedom and time to change course.

Fast forward to the end of one of the most fascinating and academically interesting summers I’ve had to date. Much to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed working with my firm over the summer. I was able to expose myself to such a wide array of practice areas and legal scholarship. I worked on projects including an analysis of private drone use and the impact it has on aviation law, insurance recovery suits for a major non-profit corporation, and even begin the legal groundwork for a Constitutional challenge to a State statute. I was pleasantly surprised with how my goals of wanting to impact others and make a difference in my community were actively advanced working at my firm. The attorneys I worked alongside were incredible, and the depth of my assignments was truly invaluable in advancing my understanding and competency in legal analysis and writing.

Not only was I happy with the work I was doing, I was happy with my environment and the people that I got to work with. I started law school with a preconceived notion of what a law firm would be, and my summer working at one shattered a lot of stereotypes for me. Instead, I saw a large network of individuals who cared about the success of the firm and the success of their fellow colleagues. Mentorship opportunities were plentiful, and everyone was happy to lend a helping hand.

Ultimately, I learned a lot over the summer. But most importantly, I learned a valuable lesson about not being so quick to get stuck in my own biases about what a certain job or field would be like. With a profession that allows for such a wide array of positions and the ability for a dynamic practice, it’s important to keep an open mind and be willing to explore new opportunities and experiences. I will be going back to my firm this summer, and I look forward to another round of learning, working, furthering my goals of becoming the best attorney I can be.

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