Summer experiences: becoming the Complete Professional at UC Law
From public defenders offices to law firms, Cincinnati Law students gain real-world experience
Each year, law students at the University of Cincinnati spend their summers gaining practical experience through internships, externships, and clinical experiences. Below, hear from five UC Law students on how they spent this past summer.
Sanjaly Geevarghese, a 2L at Cincinnati Law, spent the summer working at the First District Court of Appeals, where she got to work on a variety of cases that introduced her to new areas of the law.
“I applied for this job because it was a chance to pursue my dream of making justice more accessible while also working for the judges of the Court who cared just as much about that dream as I did,” said Geevarghese. “I believe that representation is important to making justice more accessible to marginalized populations. As the child of an immigrant family and the first in my immediate family to go to law school, I know that I have the incredible opportunity to be part of that representation.”
Geevarghese found the opportunity through Cincinnati Law’s Center for Professional Development, and was encouraged to apply by one of the office’s career advisors.
“I had never imagined someone like me working within the Court system and working at the First District this summer truly changed my view of that,” she said. “I am excited to see where I take the experience I had the opportunity to get this past summer as I continue with my legal career.”
Patrick Mullinger, a 2L at Cincinnati Law, spent his summer working for Porter, Rennie, Woodard, Kendall LLP (PRWK), a law firm that specializes in civil litigation. He refined his legal writing and research skills through preparing drafts and memorandums, and dug into research on traumatic brain injury claims that PRWK often litigates.
“On a day-to-day basis, I enjoyed the high intensity and fast pace that litigation offers,” said Mullinger.
Litigation wasn’t always the path Mullinger envisioned for his legal career. He said he came into law school wanting to be a transactional lawyer and potentially work in-house, but quickly realized that path wasn’t for him.
“My two favorite classes of 1L were Civil Procedure and Torts, and that interest quickly developed into a desire to move into litigation,” he said.
Emily Schmidt, a 2L at Cincininati Law, spent the past summer working for the Post-Conviction Branch of the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy (DPA). Before coming to law school, Schmidt had worked for the Louisville Metro Public Defender Office, and said she pursued the position with DPA to continue exploring aspects of public defense she was less familiar with.
“I view internships as wonderful opportunities to delve into new areas of law and gain exposure to new legal concepts,” she said. “I had previous experience working in public defense at the trial level, so I wanted to learn more about post-conviction work.”
Schmidt met a recruiter from DPA at First Look, an annual career fair hosted by Cincinnati Law’s Center for Professional Development. She kept in touch with the recruiter through her 1L year, and was able to secure an internship in the office that most interested her.
“My summer experience reaffirmed my interests in legal research and writing,” said Schmidt. “Post-conviction work often requires creative lawyering and the ability to write in strong and impactful way to advocate for clients. I enjoyed building upon those skills over the summer, and they will continue to benefit me throughout my legal career.”
Kenneth Vincent, a 2L at Cincinnati Law, spent the summer working for the University of Cincinnati Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. He got to work on challenging, interesting issues that he said was an excellent way to sharpen his legal research and writing skills.
“I applied for the job because I was extremely interested in assisting the office in maintaining the University's commitment to diversity. Throughout my life, my educational and professional experiences have been positively impacted by the presence of individuals from different backgrounds sharing the same spaces I occupied,” he said. “This role offered me the chance to help ensure that other students got to experience the benefits of that diversity in the same way I did.”
Vincent came into law school interested in the compliance side of law, but was having trouble finding opportunities to pursue that interest further. Working with Cincinnati Law’s Center for Professional Development, he was able to find the right opportunity.
“I was all but ready to shift my focus, when this position fell into my lap,” he said. “Getting to work with OEOA this summer reaffirmed in my mind that there is a place in the world outside of the auspices of corporate America where someone with my interests can fit in and make a difference.”
Rachel Walters, a 3L at Cincinnati Law, spent her summer working in the law office of the Shelby County Public Defender in Memphis, Tennessee. She said she found the position through an Equal Justice Works conference and career fair.
“I was very interested in public defense and specifically applied to Shelby County because I have family in Memphis and love it there,” Walters said. “It definitely reaffirmed that public defense is the career for me.”
Walters said that while she’s enjoyed living and studying in Cincinnati throughout her time in law school, she didn’t confine herself to the area in her summer job search.
“For me, it worked to look outside of the Cincinnati area for my job search,” she said. “I’m glad I opened up to that idea.”
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