Penn State Law students find engaging summer work experiences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Most Penn State Law students spend their summers completing internships and gaining valuable experience in law firms, nonprofits, and businesses around the state and the nation. This summer, students worked in legal positions from Hollywood to Washington, D.C.; here are a few of their stories.

Third-year law student Eunice Kim wanted to find a summer position that would expose her to the work of in-house counsel, so she went big, landing a highly sought-after internship with Paramount Pictures, in Hollywood, California, and becoming one of six legal interns in the entire company.

Kim’s time at Paramount was spent largely in the Worldwide Marketing Legal Group, where she worked on drafting master vendor agreements and work orders, and condensing “legalese” into something clients could understand. She was also heavily involved with legal aspects of marketing large promotional events, including working with vendors in Japan to coordinate the transport of Optimus Prime for the “Transformers” movie premiere in Tokyo. Kim also worked on the legal issues surrounding the promotion of the home entertainment release of the high-profile “Baywatch” movie.

“The work really opened my eyes to see a bigger picture,” said Kim. “Entertainment affects everyone, and it was great to see how this side of the legal field works.”

Across the country in Pittsburgh, Sarah Loy, now a third-year student at Penn State Law, spent the summer before her final year of law school working at Reed Smith LLP, an elite global law firm, where she gained legal experience and a full-time job offer after graduation.

As part of her role, Loy took on a lot of pro bono work at the firm, something Reed Smith really encourages its summer associates to participate in. A lot of the research she undertook in this realm related to Pennsylvania state law regarding juveniles sentenced to life without parole. As a rapidly changing area of the law, Loy found it to be a meaningful way to spend her time, and she took away a great deal from being able to discuss what she was researching and learning with attorneys as it applied to their cases.

From “BigLaw” to public interest; Deokhee Ryu, a third-year law student, spent her summer in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Internship Program with Philadelphia Legal Assistance as a legal intern in the Family Law Unit. Ryu worked with pro se clients to provide them with legal advice related to custody cases and Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders. She met with clients, interviewed them, and advised them on how to represent themselves in court. During her time at PLA, she wrote a brief for a PFA hearing, prepared motions, and observed many family court hearings.

Ryu went into the summer with a strong desire to work in the immigration law field, but after her experience at PLA, she is extremely interested in combining immigration and family law in her future career, working to empower indigent clients as a public interest lawyer.

“I came to law school to make a difference,” said Ryu. “This summer experience opened my eyes to new ways to accomplish that.”

Penn State Law third-year student Rob Casturo landed a summer position as a legal intern for the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), a federal agency that provides budget and economic information and analysis to Congress. This summer was a particularly high profile one for the agency, whose assessment of the proposed American Health Care Act of 2017 was constantly spotlighted in the news media.

Casturo’s time with the Office of the General Counsel of CBO was spent doing what he calls “a little bit of everything.” He worked on a significant amount of legislative legal analysis, especially on the controversial healthcare bill, where he focused on mandatory versus budgetary impact, and drafted inter-agency memos on how to deal with certain aspects of the bill if implemented.

And though he learned a lot of valuable skills, to Casturo, the most important aspect of the summer was being in the middle of the fast-paced environment that is Washington, D.C.

“D.C. is ideal for interns,” said Casturo. “There are so many areas of interest outside of just the work you’re doing. Being able to make connections and see so many different avenues of legal work was an incredible opportunity.”

Also in Washington, D.C., second-year student Morgan Stanley wanted to focus on regulation and regulatory compliance, and found a summer work opportunity with the Securities and Exchange Commission through the Career Services Office’s job portal. Working in the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, Stanley’s job changed every day. The office conducts the National Exam Program, which focuses on finding ways to improve compliance, prevent fraud, monitor risk, and inform policy. He looked at trade blotters, sat in on interviews and discussions with chief compliance officers, and worked on policy and general research.

“My courses at Penn State Law really prepared me for the research and writing aspects of the position,” Stanley said. “I felt that I had a really solid background to work from.”

Though each experience was unique, each Penn State Law student found great value in their summer positions, each with their own takeaway for their remaining law school career and beyond. Whether entering the workforce after graduation this spring, or returning next fall for their final year, these experiences will stay with them throughout their careers.

Last Updated September 20, 2017