Posted on November 16, 2016
From hiking trails to Nationals games
Future Jayhawk lawyer relishes D.C. experience
This summer I worked and lived in D.C. and cannot wait to go back. Working with incredible D.C. and Virginia attorneys cemented my desire to be part of the legal community there. Landing an internship in D.C. was not easy. Getting advice from KU alumni in the area was a huge help in understanding the legal culture and knowing what to expect at D.C. firms. I was also helped by personal connections to lawyers in the area. I used these connections to target specific litigation firms. I sent out resumes and detailed, firm-specific cover letters. I flew to D.C. in August 2015 and spent a week going to as many interviews as I could schedule. Through these efforts, I landed an internship at Ashcraft & Gerel LLP, a great plaintiff’s civil litigation firm.
I worked in Ashcraft & Gerel’s D.C. and Alexandria offices, switching back and forth between mass torts and workers’ compensation. These two areas are very different, and I was able to get a broad range of experience. In workers’ comp I responded to interrogatories, prepared motions for court, drafted settlement demand letters, and attended hearings. Workers’ comp taught me the importance of the local bar. D.C.’s bar is not as big as you might expect, and maintaining positive working relationships across the aisle is essential.
In the mass torts division, I researched different jurisdiction’s laws, wrote memos, and compiled and organized client data. Our firm worked with firms from all over the country. Efficiently working with attorneys in different firms and time zones is a much-needed skill. I enjoyed the work and loved working with Ashcraft & Gerel.
I also loved living in D.C. The area is filled with exciting and delicious experiences. One of my favorite discoveries was Union Market, a warehouse filled with vendors serving delicious food from all over the world. D.C. also has a great sports culture. I went to a Nationals baseball game and had an incredible time surrounded by Nationals’ fans.
If I ever got home sick for Lawrence, I would visit Old Town, Alexandria. Old Town is a cute, Lawrence-esque small town within a large city. I also enjoyed getting out of the D.C. area. There are wonderful national and state parks not far from the city. Bear Island, 30 minutes outside of D.C., had the best hiking trail I have ever been on. The trail involved scrambling up cliffs, jumping from rock to rock, and taking in incredible views.
I very much enjoyed my summer and am excited to start my career in D.C. after I graduate. My internship gave me first-hand exposure to the area’s legal culture and introduced me to aspects of D.C. I had never seen before.
My advice to anyone considering a career or internship in D.C. is to find a way to travel there to network and job search. It can be difficult to convince smaller firms and government agencies to fly you out for an interview. It is a lot easier to convince a firm to interview you when you will already be in the area. Ask our KU Law Career Services Office for contacts in the D.C. area. There are many alumni living and working in D.C. who are willing to give advice and point you in the right direction.
— Ciara Malone is a 3L from Overland Park, Kansas.