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learned a tremendous amount of information and gained an
even greater amount of self-confidence as a professional, all of
which is invaluable to anyone pursuing a successful career as a
practicing attorney.
I hope, going forward, the MBA continues the Summer
Diversity program and revamps the same, as needed, as
I am committed to participating in my new role as a law
school graduate with a full-time legal position. Clearly, the
overarching goal of retaining diversity within the county was
achieved in my case, as it was in many other cases as well.
Therefore, I'd also like to provide several tips that I believe
will be useful to incoming classes of summer interns, in terms
of navigating the Diversity Program during law school, and
hopefully, making the post-graduation transition to full-time
work within the County.
Firstly, network building is always important throughout
one's legal career, but it is absolutely critical for those students
about to enter the workforce. My suggestion is to try to focus
on developing one (1) or two (2) relationships during any
given summer session that will endure after participation in the
Program, hopefully throughout one's career. Of course, always
be professional, friendly, and as outgoing as personally possible
with everyone you meet during your internships. However, it
is those couple, closer relationships that you cultivate which
will prove most useful in determining the landscape of the
local, current job market, as well as in obtaining interviews
and/or professional references. Such professional references
provide prospective employers with meaningful insight into
your character and work ethic, and are more likely to result in
job offers.
Secondly, always follow through with any contacts or
opportunities made available to you through a colleague or
supervisor. Surprisingly, many professionals, young and old
alike, fail to heed such advice. The problem is that failure to
follow through frustrates the person who made the effort,
however small, to help you succeed. On a similar note, always
be honest with those who are trying to help you; do not feign
interest in an opportunity simply to appease the person;
instead tell them you are not interested at this time or you do
not think the opportunity is a good fit for XYZ reasons. Not
only will they appreciate the candor, but it is likely the person
will continue trying to help you and will be more successful in
doing so now that they know more about your preferences.
Thirdly, if you plan on becoming a litigator or trial
attorney, becoming knowledgeable with everyday, courtroom
practice is a must. Usually, students in law school can take
certain courses to assist with this; however, do not fret if
you cannot fit a trial advocacy course or the like into your
schedule. There are great entry-level positions that can help
you achieve the same level of skills, if not greater, that a course
in law school could. For instance, a judicial law clerk position,
which I almost think should be a pre-requisite to becoming
a practicing attorney (okay, I'm exaggerating a little bit), will
enlighten anyone as to practical lawyering skills and strategies.
Not to mention, imagine the effects on recent graduates'

confidence that result from judges signing a proposed order
drafted by the graduate, or from the appellate courts' glowing
affirmations of a lower court opinion drafted, in part, by the
graduate, and the list goes on. Trust me, working closely with a
judge and communicating frequently with counsel in the capacity
of the court, will noticeably impact your work output, making
you more marketable and competitive than other new law school
graduates, and even perhaps, more than those with a couple years'
experience working full-time at a private firm.
Fourthly and finally, try to choose a place where you feel
happy to come to work every day, where the "corporate culture"
corresponds with your personality and beliefs. Sure, if you bag the
big firm job with the equally big salary, go for it even if it doesn't
completely fit with your personality, at least for a couple of years!
But, if you do not obtain such an offer, don't fret. In the long run,
the value of any position isn't just the salary, but also includes
work-life balance, healthcare and retirement benefits, harmonious
personalities amongst colleagues and supervisors, and respect for
one's diversity.
With that, I hope everyone reading this article gathered
something useful and if you are in law school, start looking into
the Robert E. Slota, Jr. Summer Diversity Internship Program in
order to prepare for the application and interview process. Best of
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