The Way We Summer

The Way We Summer_slide

The Way We Summer
Howard law students reflect on their summer jobs in the legal field

When it comes to the way in which Howard University School of Law students spend their summers, they rarely fail to impress. Five students spoke about their Summer 2022 experiences in the legal profession. Here’s what they had to say:

ernest

JADE M. ERNEST, 3L
Summer Experience:  Houston Rockets in Houston, Texas, in partnership with the inaugural NBA x HBCU Fellowship Program

Duties: “I had the unique opportunity to spend my summer with the Rockets in both the Legal and Community Relations departments,” Ernest said. “In Legal, my main projects involved performing legal research and presenting summaries of the relevant laws/statutes, best practices to comply, possible penalties for violation(s), and how they apply to the Rockets to other departments within the organization. I also drafted use agreements, suite licenses, and release forms and completed other duties as assigned. In Community Relations, I supported and worked in collaboration with the Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Task Force to develop, promote, and implement DEI efforts throughout the organization.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “Don't be afraid to ask questions and also don't be afraid to speak up. Never assume that because you're the student in the room that you can't also be the expert.
  2. There is no such thing as "Sports Law"– there is contract law, IP law, employment law, etc. practiced within the Sports industry. 
  3. Opportunities to use your law degree in sports doesn't stop at counsel. The training and expertise is useful in other departments also, as the law is woven into every aspect of the business.”

Advice For Younger Law Students

““Don't tell yourself "no" before giving hiring managers the opportunity to tell you "yes,"” Ernest said.



jeffery_s

SAMANTHA JEFFREY, 2L

Summer Experience:  Summer Associate at HWG LLP (formerly Harris, Wiltshire & Grannis LLP) in Washington, D.C., placed through the Federal Communications Bar Association’s Diversity Pipeline Program

Duties: “During my 1L spring, I earned a certificate in Telecommunications, Media, and Technology (TMT) from the FCBA's weekend programming,” Jeffrey said. “During my 1L summer placement at HWG, I primarily conducted legal research and drafted memoranda to support HWG's lauded telecommunications practice.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “Administrative fields of law, such as telecom, can offer less adversarial opportunities for adjudication.
  2. In a niche regulatory area of law, most of the attorneys know each other, and networking is particularly important.
  3. Telecom is not heavily regulated, which leads to a very collaborative relationship between regulators and service providers.”

Advice For Younger Law Students

“Take advantage of opportunities provided both on and off campus,” Jeffrey said. “There has never been a better time to be a diverse law student!”


tuggle

MORIGAN TUGGLE, 2L

Summer Experience: Summer Associate at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C.

Duties: “I handled assignments focusing on both litigation and corporate transactional law,” Tuggle said. “I was able to draft memorandums for various issues and worked with attorneys on two deposition outlines. I also had the opportunity to work on pro bono matters, including drafting and editing committee charters for a nonprofit organization.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “Communication is crucial.
  2. Time management is the key to efficiency.
  3. The summer is for learning, so explore your interests and take advantage of as many experiences as possible!”

Advice For Younger Law Students

“Start your 1L job search earlier rather than later. and don’t dismiss the power of networking,” Tuggle said. 


owens_s

JASMINE MARCHBANKS-OWENS, 2L

Summer Experiences

  • Federal Judicial Internship through Just the Beginning, United States District Court for the District of Columbia in Judge Jia Cobb's Chambers. Judge Cobb is the fourth Black Woman appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Duties: “I drafted weekly memos answering legal questions,” said Marchbanks-Owens. “I also had the opportunity to shadow my judge and attend her hearings on criminal and civil cases.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “Understanding the law from a judge's point of view
  2. Meeting KBJ (Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson)!!!
  3. Seeing the Steve Banning trial”
  • Research Assistant for Howard University School of Law Professor of Law Justin Hansford

Duties: “This summer, we worked on the new Race and Change textbook,” Marchbanks-Owens said. “This position is remote, and I will continue working with Professor Hansford for the remainder of (August). In this position, I wrote several annotated bibliographies on the intersections of CRT on hate speech and privacy.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “Working with my idols, Cheryl Harris, and Kimberly Crenshaw. 
  2. Utilizing the knowledge I received from my master’s degree to articulate the intersections of Black Feminist Thought, Intersectionality, and Critical Race Theory. 
  3. Working and being mentored by Professor Hansford.”
  • Federal Judge Internship through the Appellate Project at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Judge Candace Jackson-Akiwumi’s Chambers. Judge Jackson-Akiwumi is the second Black woman to ever serve on the Seventh Circuit.

Duties: “I cite-check opinions and research various legal questions,” Marchbanks-Owens said. “I have really liked this experience and am grateful to have the opportunity to see two different levels of the judicial system.”

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “I have two Black women clerks, which is very rare when thinking about the statistically low percentage of Black women in clerkships. 
  2. Working with a Black woman Federal Judge on the Appellate level
  3. Improving my writing skills

Advice For Younger Law Students

“It is important to understand the power of networking and putting yourself in positions to meet and build relationships with people in the legal field,” Marchbanks-Owens said. “Try to split your summer or work somewhere where you have various opportunities to work on various projects to see what you like and do not like. Additionally, if you have the chance to work with or for someone who shares your most salient identities, even better!”


reeves

BRITTNIE REEVES, 3L

Summer Experience: Judicial Externship in Washington, D.C. with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Duties:

  • Research, draft memoranda, and prepare Administrative Judge for Initial Conferences, Pre-hearing Conferences and Hearings
  • Review Report of Investigation (ROI) to determine which cases should proceed to litigation or dispositive motion; draft Summary Judgment motions and make recommendations to Administrative Judge with respect to Summary Judgment
  • Read, analyze, and research Discovery motions filed by both parties in preparation for Discovery Conferences and make recommendations on which documents the Agency should be ordered to produce; draft orders
  •  Discuss case weaknesses and material facts in dispute to determine which cases should be recommended for a Settlement Conference and make recommendations regarding settlement strategy

Three Major Takeaways

  1. “As a judicial extern, you must always practice impartiality just as the Administrative Judge you are working with.
  2. Being concise in your writing is always key! Judges are limited on time and want you to get straight to the point.
  3. Be sure to be flexible and adapt your writing to fit your audience. Your work product may be sent directly to your judge, an attorney involved in the case, or an unrepresented claimant. 

Advice For Younger Law Students

“Stay curious and do not limit yourself or discount networking opportunities among your classmates, as well as making your professional aspirations known to attorneys in the field you are interested in,” Reeves said. “Your next job opportunity could be as simple as expressing genuine interest in a particular field.”