This article continues the Career Brief series featuring two stories every week from current 2L students who agreed to answer for PDO, How I Spent My Summer. The entire series is posted on the bulletin board outside of PDO’s offices.
Liz Silvestrini: Intern, General Counsel’s Office
Women’s Professional Soccer League in San Francisco
How did you learn about the job? I knew a new women’s pro league was starting up, so I emailed the Commissioner to see if she could use some free legal help.
How did you apply and what was the application process like? There was no formal process—I just sent an email and started corresponding with the League’s Associate Counsel. I had a contact with the WNBA and that helped.
What was a typical day or week at your job like? I ended up working with the General Counsel instead of the Associate Counsel, and since she only came in two days a week, I worked independently for most of the time. I would meet with her about twice a week to discuss where I was at on various projects and figure out plans for moving forward on my own. I did a lot of drafting and editing for various vendor contracts, agreements, league policies and sweepstakes rules, and I worked on a few legal research projects regarding COPPA and antitrust questions. When things got slow, I helped the Chief Operating Officer and other staff members with projects like stadium lease comparisons, marketing surveys and photo editing.
What was the coolest part about the job? I had incredible access to the League Executives, including the General Counsel but also the Commissioner and the COO. They took the time to teach me about how the League functions and I learned a ton as a result. It was also cool to see the League grow over the course of the season and know that I had contributed to something that I care about.
What did you gain from the experience? I got to see what working in-house at a start-up company was like and I learned a lot about running a professional sports league. I made great friends and contacts and I had a great time going to WPS games and living in San Francisco.
What advice would you offer future applicants? I am not sure—this was sort of a lucky thing. But it never would have happened if I didn’t try to make it happen. I’d say don’t be pessimistic about career options- if you want to do something, try it. If you don’t try, you’ll never know if it was really impossible.
Sean Ricks: Law Clerk, General Counsel’s Office
APX Alarm Security Solutions, Provo
How did you learn about the job? I had worked for the company for 5 years and knew they had an in-house attorney. I approached the in-house attorney to inquire about job opportunities.
How did you apply and what was the application process like? I interviewed with the General Counsel after inquiring into a job position. I was offered the law clerk job about a week after interviewing.
What was a typical day or week at your job like? A typical day at the job consisted of discussing and researching legal issues that the company was encountering, meeting with the in-house attorney and working on various pending legal matters. If needed, I would write cease and desist letters and reply letters. In the afternoon, I would continue to research and get on a conference call to coordinate with out-of-state attorneys the company had hired to represent them in their respective state/province.
What was the coolest part about the job? The coolest part was seeing results based on the work I had performed. I was amazed at the power of a well-written and researched letter. Many roadblocks the company faced in different cities were eliminated due to letters that I helped research and write.
What did you gain from the experience? I have always had a goal to work as an in-house attorney and this job helped solidify that desire. It was a diverse and interesting experience. I worked on issue ranging from severance agreements and small claims to complex litigation. I learned that attorneys, in general, are very helpful. I was able to work with attorneys working for competitors to the company and with many city attorneys. In my experience, it was a very cooperative environment. Because of this job, my writing and research skills improved dramatically, in particular, my ability to draft letters.
What advice would you offer future applicants? If you want to explore work as an in-house attorney, this is a great opportunity. I applied with several companies and I was able to obtain this job primarily because of my past experience within it. It definitely opened a lot of doors for me. Not all companies advertise law clerk positions (and many don’t have any). Your best bet is to contact the company’s general counsel directly. There had never been a law clerk at APX Alarm Security Solutions, Inc. before I started working there, but now, they have already hired another law clerk to replace me as I return to school. Sometimes you have to create an opportunity where there wasn’t one.