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Summer Jobs: Eye-Opening, Challenging, and Invaluable

Alexander Hernandez ’14: Serving Soldiers with the Army JAG Corps

Alex Hernandez JAG
Alex Hernandez is in far left row, fourth from front.

This summer I had the opportunity to intern for the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. Over the course of the internship I rotated through the various offices that support the installation including, Criminal Law, Administrative Law, and Legal Assistance. In Criminal Law, I drafted motions, advised combat troop commanders on legal issues, and observed courts-martial. In Administrative Law I drafted briefs for submission to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In Legal Assistance, I advised soldiers on a variety of legal issues involving estate, financial, career, and family planning. My rotation through the various offices mirrored the normal career path of a JAG attorney, which is designed to develop versatility and a broad skill set. 

Each morning at 7 am the workday began with a scheduled physical training routine comprised of  running, strength exercises, ruck marching, or sports. I also participated in a division run where thousands of soldiers conducted a formation run around Fort Drum while family and support organizations cheered on the division.

What I found most appealing about my time with the JAG Corps was the camaraderie that I have yet to experience in any other legal office. Each attorney and paralegal took a personal interest in furthering the professional and personal development of one another. It was a privilege to serve soldiers and I look forward to applying for active duty in the Fall.

Kristin Taylor ’14: Samples Varied Practice Areas at Lowenstein Sandler

Kristin Taylor

My summer at Lowenstein Sandler LLP has been both professionally and personally rewarding. The firm’s summer program allowed me to seek out assignments from any practice area that interested me. As I quickly discovered, a firm as large as Lowenstein offers much to catch one’s interest. I dipped my toes in corporate work: drafting formation and conversion documents, attending conference calls with clients and preparing memos on the requirements imposed on corporations by various federal laws. I was also able to participate in ongoing litigation by assisting in pre-trial discovery for a bankruptcy matter and drafting memos on issues arising from antitrust and environmental mass tort actions.

At the beginning of the summer I was formally paired with attorneys at varying levels of seniority. Their candid advice and willingness to lend an ear to my concerns as a future practitioner have been invaluable. The firm also arranged a truly staggering number of events, from a cooking lesson to baseball games, that allowed me to really get to know my fellow summer associates and meet attorneys in a more relaxed atmosphere.  

From partners to new associates, lawyers at Lowenstein are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of their experience and refining their professional skills. Immersion in this environment as a summer associate was challenging and exciting, and I very much look forward to returning to the firm as an associate next fall.

Michael Woodruff ’14: Client-Centered Collaborative Process at OAD

Michael Woodruff

This summer I interned at the Office of the Appellate Defender (OAD) which provides legal representation to indigent persons who have been convicted of a felony offense in either Manhattan or the Bronx. As a legal intern, I primarily worked under the guidance of a supervising attorney on drafting a direct appeal in a single case. This project involved reading the entire appellate record, including trial transcripts and other court documents, and identifying legal issues. I even had the opportunity to meet with our client and discuss the arguments we were planning to raise. Through a client-centered collaborative process, we narrowed our focus to a couple of discrete yet compelling issues. And after conducting extensive research, I was able to devote my attention towards drafting the appellate brief. 

My supervising attorney mentored me throughout the entire process; she answered my questions, provided constructive feedback, and made suggestions about how my brief could be revised to become a more persuasive product. 

I had a great experience working at OAD this summer, and look forward to staying involved in my case. I plan to write the reply brief, and may even have the opportunity to present the case at oral argument before the Appellate Division, First Department.

Harold Brantley Jr. ’15: A Gracious Justice Albin Spent Generous Time with His Interns

Harold Brantley Jr.

Like many of my colleagues I entered my 1L summer eager for a change of scenery, but most importantly, I wanted to put the knowledge I gained over the past year to practical use. I would say it was a mission accomplished. My internship with the New Jersey Supreme Court under the tutelage of Justice Barry T. Albin was nothing short of a distinct honor.  

As an intern, I spent a majority of the summer reviewing petitions for certification. The petitions covered a broad array of civil and criminal matters ranging from DFYS cases to ineffective assistance of counsel cases. Upon completing the review, I would write a corresponding memorandum to Justice Albin recommending a grant or denial of the petition. I also worked on various research assignments for him that were included or will be included in several opinions. However, the most exciting experience of my summer was working side by side with Justice Albin in crafting a dissenting opinion that will be published later this year. 

The most memorable aspect of my summer was the substantial amount of time that Justice Albin spent with all the interns. Justice Albin made a conscious effort to discuss the matters we were all tasked to handle, despite his significant work load. He was also gracious enough to bestow some very insightful career guidance that has unquestionably shaped the direction of my future career choices. For me, his words of wisdom were profound and greatly appreciated.  

I sincerely enjoyed my time with Justice Albin and it was an absolute privilege to have served under his leadership.

Sascha Rips ’15: Work at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid Reinforced Career Goal

Sascha Rips

This summer, I worked as a law clerk in the housing practice at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, Inc. (TRLA) in Austin, Texas. I am originally from Austin and I wanted to spend my first summer helping to advocate for the underprivileged members of my hometown community. TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the nation and serves 25,000 clients each year. I was very fortunate to have received funding through Equal Justice America for my clerkship.

As a law clerk, I worked under the guidance of two housing attorneys who gave me invaluable experience as an advocate in training. I dealt primarily with clients who were living in federally subsidized housing and needed assistance to stop evictions, get their federal housing vouchers reinstated or to get reasonable accommodations through the Fair Housing Act. I was able to assist in all aspects of civil litigation, including fact investigation, client interviews, legal research, and drafting demand letters, pleadings, and trial briefs. I drafted a right-to-repair guide for Texas tenants to sue for repairs in Justice Court without an attorney and I negotiated with a landlord to stop an eviction proceeding. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity I had this summer to experience what it means to be an advocate. I came to Rutgers, driven primarily by the school’s strong commitment to public interest, and my clerkship has only strengthened my desire to continue a public service-centered legal career.

Craig Drachtman ’15: Patterson & Sheridan Job Invaluable for Future Patent Attorney

Craig Drachtman

Since high school, I’ve had my eyes set on becoming a patent attorney. I majored in physics and math in college, and went to Rutgers Law in hopes of pursuing a career in patent law. This summer, I had an incredible experience working as a summer associate for the intellectual property law firm Patterson & Sheridan.  

The majority of my work consisted of reviewing and responding to office actions. When patent examiners at the USPTO initially review a patent application, they usually reject it and send back an office action, citing prior patents, applications, or other references that allegedly disclose or teach the current application. I would review these office actions and look over the references cited to see if the examiner’s rejections were valid. Then I would draft a response, either arguing against the rejections or amending the claims section of the patent application to overcome the rejections.

I was also able to draft the claims sections of a number of patent applications. This section is the crux of the patent application, since it creates the boundaries to stop infringement. I would meet with the inventors, and they would explain their invention and what they thought was the most novel part. From these meetings and their inventor notes, I would draft claims for the patent applications.

Patterson & Sheridan provided me with an invaluable opportunity to work as a summer associate. I am truly grateful for the experience.

Angela Yu ’15: Cisco an Ideal Opportunity for JD/MBA Candidate

Angela Yu

This summer, I’ve been working at Cisco Systems as an in-house legal intern, assisting in the legal sales department. Cisco Systems is a large IT products and services company, most notably known for its routers. They have offices all over the globe and are constantly churning out new products and services to promote communication. As such a multifaceted company, Cisco needs a legal department that can protect its assets and promote its growth in a changing business landscape. The balance of these two goals has created a unique opportunity to combine my interests and use my dual degree in law and business (JD/MBA). 

Some of my more traditional legal tasks include researching cutting-edge legal-technological issues, writing memoranda, and contract work. Additionally, providing legal consultation for sales people is akin to providing clients with legal advice. At the same time, acting in this capacity is enriched by understanding the overall pursuit of business units and the economic environment, foundations of the MBA curriculum. Two of my major takeaways this summer have been learning to use the law to promote varied interests, like those that exist in the different departments of a large corporation, and honing my ability to handle multiple prioritized tasks, a skill I am already employing in my role as editor-in-chief of the Rutgers Computer and Technology Law Journal.

My internship this summer has further developed the substantive legal background and abilities I will need to succeed as a lawyer while utilizing my business knowledge to better understand clients. It has been an eye-opening experience at Cisco, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

Ifeoma Ukwubiwe ’15: Seeing the Entirety of Criminal Prosecution at the Nassau County DA’s Office

Ifeoma Ukwubiwe

I came to Rutgers School of Law–Newark with dreams of becoming a criminal prosecutor. After my first year in law school, I was grateful for the opportunity to be selected as an intern at the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in Long Island, N.Y. in the Street Narcotics and Gangs Bureau.

It was my privilege to assist in the work of the District Attorney, Kathleen Rice, and dedicated Assistant District Attorneys who are committed to the ultimate goal that every community deserves justice. 

During my internship, I have assisted in all aspects of criminal prosecution, including performing legal research, assisting in criminal diversion cases, drafting of motions, and listening to jail calls. The most rewarding aspect of my internship, however, has been to witness the entirety of a criminal trial from jury selection to the jury verdict. This internship has proven to be invaluable in allowing me to gain practical legal experience.