“For law school interns only.”
I stared at the sign infront of my computer when I got to my cubicle on my first day. It did not take too long until I learned that my internship was geared towards law school students, and that I would have to work extra hard in order to make up for the gap of experience and knowledge.
I started my internship with a general training program, covering topics such as: the basics of the litigation process, the firm’s filing procedures, descriptions of the departments I would be working with, etc. As I suspected, I immediately ran out of things to do after the training. Eager to start working, I decided to go “work hunting”, visiting the attorneys door-to-door to ask if they needed assistance.
For the first few days, I was asked to file, copy, and scan documents. Surprisingly, working with the copy machine was not as easy as I thought it would be – I would have to count and recount the page numbers to make sure that the machine did not skip any pages. Then I would have to make sure that every single page (out of the few hundred pages) was scanned in the right way. Usually, the copied/scanned pages would be about 5% – 10% short, which meant that I had to re-scan the entire pile. Many who came to the copy room gave me tips on using the copy machine, such as blowing on the width of the pile and holding and flipping pages so that the machine would not skip pages. Oddly enough, spending time in the copy room gave me a chance to get to know everyone in the firm. Also, from filing, copying, and scanning documents, I familiarized myself to various types of legal documents in both Korean and English, and exposed myself to various types of cases that the firm was dealing with or had dealt with.
After a couple of rounds knocking on everyone’s door asking for work, I decided to adjust my way of approach. I applied what Babson has (repeatedly) taught me throughout my two years of attendance – value proposition.
I started to go door-to-door selling instead of door-to-door asking. That is, I told everyone what I could do instead of asking them if I could help them with anything. One of the skills that I emphasized was my fluency in WestLaw, an online legal search engine that I learned how to use in Babson. Surprised that I knew how to use WestLaw as an undergraduate business major, one of the attorneys asked me if I could assist him in finding case laws for one of his securities case. From then, more and more attorneys asked for my assistance in legal research, translation, etc.
Throughout my internship, I made sure that I put in my best effort and triple checked for errors before submission, even when I received multiple requests simultaneously. By maintaining focus and actively seeking for work, I always learned something valuable, whether it was a skill or a lesson. My transition into the firm was fairly smooth, as many of the lawyers were more than willing to give me a valuable education within the workplace environment.