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Heather O’Connor is a 3L. After a seven year marriage and three kids, Heather went through a divorce that left her questioning what to do with her life. She decided to become an attorney and has never looked back since beginning the long journey. She entered a local community college after...

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Summer Internships and Post Graduation Jobs

Posted by Heather O'Connor on 07/31/2010 at 11:54 AM

I browsed through the other bloggers posts and I am beginning to think I am the only one who isn't currently in London doing the summer abroad program.  Although I heard absolutely wonderful things about it, I went the internship route. 

Last summer I interned at South Coastal Counties Legal Services in Fall River, MA.  My supervising attorney, Brian O'Connor (no relation) provided me with a really great experience there.  Before starting the internship, I had no idea what my responsibilities would be because, let's face it, when you get done with your 1L year, you are no expert, and I had no idea what I was going to be given the opportunity to do.  Brian and all the other attorneys in no way treated me like “just an intern.”  The entire summer I felt like a real attorney.  I had my own clients (under supervision of course), but they were mine.  Because I was dealing with housing issues, many of the cases I dealt with went through the Housing Authority rather than court.  This was a loophole in the rule that I couldn't represent clients since I wasn't 3.03 certified.  Since the hearings and appeals took place directly with the Housing Authority, I was given a few cases that I was able to bring from start to finish through hearings and appeals.  One of the greatest aspects of this job was that people relied on me.  It was a great feeling to know I was really making a difference in someone's life.  It was also a great boost to my confidence because I was doing more than I could have ever dreamed to be doing my first summer in law school.

This summer I am working at the Rhode Island Attorney General's Office in the Juvenile Prosecution Division.  After my experience last summer, I knew I really wanted to be in court this summer and gain more experience in front of a judge.  I'm going into the fourth week of the internship and it is great!  I have stood in as the prosecutor for numerous arraignments, dispositions, requests for capiases, closings, reviews, and emergency arraignments.  All the attorneys I work under are great at making sure I get any questions I have answered, including me in as many cases as possible and just being amazing leaders for me. 

I've already started wondering what I am going to do next year - what I will be doing for my "real" job.  Should I apply for a clerkship, as a prosecutor, for a position in a private firm, or just jump in and start my own practice?  There are so many options and I have no idea which one to choose.  That means, for now anyways, I will keep my eyes open for the position that will suit me the best.  I don't want a job just to have a job.  I want to enter into an area that I am passionate about; where each day is a challenge, but where I love getting up and going to work in the morning.  I will have worked for the past seven years to become an attorney.  I have loved school and I want to love my job just as much.  I guess until I can narrow it down a bit, I will approach this in my normal fashion - I will apply for everything I can and interview the judge/attorney/firm to determine if it will be my best fit.  Where other people look at an interview as though they are the ones being interviewed, I see it slightly differently.  I know I am a hard worker and I can succeed, so when I interview, I look at it as though I am the one interviewing the employer to see if this is the place for me.  I am willing to work extremely hard and be very dedicated; however, I want to be able to smile at work.  I want to be able to have fun with my job.  I know any job won't always be fun, but it's not only the work that can make or break a job, it's the people that you work with. 

The problem now is going to be narrowing it down and making that final choice.  But whenever I keep an open mind, everything seems to work out for the best.  Although I planned on going to law school in Boston, I ended up at Roger Williams and couldn't be happier.  I interviewed at a bunch of places last summer and as soon as I walked out of my interview with South Coastal, I knew that was the job for me that summer.  Everything always works out.  I'm going to remain optimistic about a post graduation position as well.  I will end up where I am meant to be.  =)