Our 2017 Summer Clerkship Program brought four law students for an intellectually challenging and professionally gratifying experience. Nearing the end of the program, the students agreed to share a few of the highlights about their summer.
Sebastian joined us from the Florida International University College of Law, where he is a member of the Moot Court and Negotiation teams. Sebastian has a banking and real estate background. His legal experience includes legal research in areas of local government and federal trade regulations. He is expected to graduate in 2018.
Here is what Sebastian had to say about his summer at Shutts.
Q1. What advice would you give to someone looking for a summer clerkship? What should they do to succeed in the position?
The best advice I can give in terms of finding a summer clerkship is to use the resources you have at your disposal. Before applying for positions, I scheduled an appointment with the career services office at my school to seek feedback and advice regarding my resume and interviewing skills and to ask questions about some best practices of past students. I also reached out to attorneys I knew, professors and even the Dean of my law school to schedule mock interviews. This really helped me prepare and go into my interviews with confidence and allowed me to experience a wide range of interview styles.
Once you land a position it is important to work hard and network. During your first week, you might not get very many assignments. But as the summer progresses, there will come a time where time management and efficiency will become a must. However, don’t spend all of your time cooped up in your office. It is vital to get to know your co-workers and supervisors. Make sure to reach out to associates and partners in different practice areas and get to know them, invite them to lunch or simply pass by their office to say hello.
Q2. What knowledge and/or skills will you be taking with you after completing the program?
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work on both litigation and transactional assignments this summer. As a result of the assignments I was given, I have seen a significant improvement in my legal research and document drafting skills. Moreover, because of the wide range of practice areas I was exposed to, I was also able to discover many subject matters that truly appeal to me.
Q3. Describe a typical day on the job.
In the morning, I would begin planning my day by checking my emails and reviewing a running spreadsheet I created to keep track of my assignments. Partners and associates who were seeking assistance on matters would generally make contact early morning as well and arrange a time to sit down and discuss any assignments they wanted me to assist them with. I would then work on pending research and drafting assignments, typically prioritizing them by deadline. Lunchtime was always interesting because I would either have a scheduled lunch to attend or I would meet individually with partners and associates. I would normally end my day by sending status reports, updating my spreadsheet and of course billing my time.
Q4. What were your expectations and have they been met (or exceeded)?
My expectation coming into the summer program was to gain as much experience as I could in as many practice areas as possible. My experience undoubtedly exceeded my expectations. I was able to work on assignments in almost every practice area of the firm and I felt that most of the assignments I was given were interesting, sophisticated and meaningful. I had in-depth conversations with the associates and partners that gave me assignments and I truly felt that my contributions were valued.