I spent this summer doing more law-related things than I did as a 1L. Being a 1L is largely about reading, studying, attending class, taking notes; all in search of a sort of vague academic goal. Some people want to excel and be ranked high in the class, some want to do as well as they possibly can, and some others just want to get through it in one piece. But while there is certainly a lot of “law” involved in being a 1L, it’s also an exercise in being challenged and pushed to your academic potential.
So when I began working as an extern for Judge Suzanne Segal this summer, it felt like it was actually time to start working with the law. The theories, rules, and other “testable” materials quickly faded into the background of my legal consciousness. They were replaced with a real-world version of law – where clerks and judges and lawyers try to convince each other of things, spend long hours reading and researching, and spend even longer hours writing. Luckily for me, my judge had faith in her externs’ ability to do substantive work, so we were given projects on the first day and plenty of uninterrupted time to work on them.
Even though I was working for free (even having to pay for downtown parking every day), I never felt like the goal of my externship was to dispense free labor. I learned so much about writing and research that I still feel indebted to Judge Segal and her clerks for the time they spent editing and advising my projects. Not only that, working with clerks and judges gave me valuable insight into how courtrooms operate and what’s expected of those who walk through that door to argue a point.
Once my externship ended, I was relieved to not have to wear a suit every day, and took a week-long trip to Iceland. It was amazing. Upon returning, I went directly into the OCI process which lasted right until classes started up again. OCI was taxing and burdensome, but it is also a rite of passage for those who have high career ambitions. If you’ve ever wanted to know “where you stand” after the 1L year, OCI is certain to answer that question for you (for better and worse). Overall, the summer was eventful and full of law. I wouldn’t lie, though – it was tough and was certainly no “break.”