Our 2016 Summer Clerkship Program brought in eight law students across several of our offices for an intellectually challenging and professionally gratifying experience. Nearing the end of the program, a few of the students agreed to share a few of the highlights about their summer.
Lazaro Fields joined us from Florida State University’s College of Law. He is an editor for the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law and the internal vice president of the campus Cuban American Bar Association.
Lazaro heard about the summer program during his first year of law school at FSU's On Campus Interviews. He wasn't going to apply until his placement office suggested he'd make a good candidate.
"I’m glad I applied because the hands-on legal experience I’ve gotten at Shutts has helped me conceptualize what the practice of law really is."
Here is what Lazaro had to say about his summer at Shutts.
Q1. What were the three most memorable experiences throughout your time here?
A1. One of the most rewarding experiences was drafting a substantive motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Few attorneys have the opportunity to file in a U.S. Appellate Court in their career, so I consider myself lucky to have been given the opportunity to do so as a clerk at Shutts. Another memorable moment was assisting in responding to discovery requests in federal court. Last but certainly not least, I bowled my highest game ever at the firm bowling night.
Q2. What knowledge and skill will you be taking with you after completing the program?
A2. Ten weeks at Shutts helped me understand the practical realities of the legal profession. Law school teaches you how to think objectively. The practice of law, however, is mostly driven by client satisfaction. If the client is unhappy with their representation, they’ll find other counsel. If the client feels as if the fees are unreasonable or the work done isn’t worth the invoice, the legal market – especially in South Florida – is so saturated with attorneys that the client will find other counsel. Hence I’ve learned that while writing the best motion is important, it’s just as important to write that motion in the most efficient, time-sensitive manner possible.
Q3. What advice would you give to someone looking for a summer clerkship?
A3. I would suggest having patience and taking your time with the application process. While there are many firms looking to hire, the selection process is highly competitive and can be frustrating at times. Prior to an interview, learn something about the firm and the interviewer that will help you connect better and stand out. Once you’re hired, be diligent and do good work. It may seem obvious, but the more your peers trust your judgment and like your work product, the more likely you are to work on high-profile matters like Eleventh Circuit Appeals.
Q4. What are your plans after the conclusion of the program?
A4. I’m looking forward to some leisure reading (non-fiction, war novels are a favorite) before I begin my last year of law school. A little golf might not hurt either.