Summer Employment Opportunities, #7

Tara MacNeillWe asked several of our 1Ls and 2Ls to discuss the role W&L Law has played in their summer employment search.  Tara MacNeill, a 1L from Vestal, New York, offers us her perspective.

One of the most striking things about W&L Law is the willingness of faculty, staff, alumni, and peers to help students with whatever they may need.  Whenever students interact with administrators, professors, or even the wonderful Brief Stop staff, the most commonly heard phrase is “Well if there is anything I can do to help, please don’t hesitate to ask.”   Lucky for me, you often don’t even have to ask.

I secured my summer position in October when I went to a professor to discuss what supplement to get for his class.  I had always been very nervous about talking to professors, so I was expecting to just get a quick answer and get out as soon as possible.  Instead, he asked me where I was from, where I was looking to practice law, and what type of law I was interested in.  I told him that I hope to pursue a career in criminal public interest law, either as a public defender, prosecutor, or with the federal government.  After talking with me for only a few minutes, he told me that he knew someone at the Commonwealth Attorney’s office in Roanoke and that he would send them my resume.  Three days later, my intern position was secured.

This position fits my summer objectives perfectly: I can stay in my apartment in Lexington, I will be working in public criminal law, and I will have the opportunity to network with attorneys and W&L alumni who practice criminal law in Roanoke.  Although my goal has always been to be a public defender, I am really excited to have the opportunity to experience the other side of the criminal law aisle and to gain a better understanding of the criminal justice system in general.

Before coming to W&L, I never realized how important networking was.  I remember attending the student internship panels hosted by Career Services in the fall and hearing students say that they secured summer positions because “they knew someone.”   I always thought to myself, “Well I don’t have any connections…”  But I did.   I had the W&L network.

I never asked my professor about his professional network; I never even mentioned summer employment.  In fact, when I thanked him for helping me, his response was “Hey, that’s what I’m here for.”  That is what makes W&L Law so incredible- you really don’t even have to ask.

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