Pre-Law Intern Whitney White
The IE Pre-Grad internship program has been very informative and eye-opening experience for me. This internship has offered me the opportunity this semester to interact with law students and professors through class attendance and other events within the law school. The two classes I was able to attend were Professor Jay Westbrook's secured credit course and Professor Sarah Buel's Domestic Violence course. Both classes in their right gave an overview of skills I will need to be successful inside the classroom. The secure credit course covered how to interpret the bankruptcy laws, while the Domestic Law course covered how to file reports and the steps in order to get a batterer charged and tried in court. My mentor Britney Harrison connected me to Professor Buel who I interviewed for the class assignment. The interview with Professor Buel helped to alleviate some of the stress and fears I had about law school and the admittance process. She shared with me her story and the obstacles she overcame in order to go to law school. She encouraged me to take as many writings courses and courses that would require public speaking or presentations because those skills are crucial to the profession. Professor Buel has become a great resource and source of encouragement for me. She has agreed to edit and help me with my personal statement. The interview was also unique for me because I want to use my social work degree to correspond with my JD and Professor Buel works with Domestic Violence Law. She has helped to set up the UT Domestic Law Clinic and was able to communicate with me relevancy of Social Work in the law profession. She believes that both go hand in hand. Her confidence and enthusiasm in the contribution a social work background brings to the law profession was encouraging and helped me gain more clarity as to how I can use both professions to help empower the lives of others.
Another aspect of the internship that was beneficial was having a mentor who is in her second year in law school. My mentor was helpful in the process because she provided perspective that only a current law student could. She helped in calming my fears on how I should prepare while in school. Many people I talked with said it was hard to have a life in law school, but she talked with me about managing time and the importance of keeping up with the daily reading assignments. She was able to relate with me on the stress that is related to the application process but most importantly the LSAT. I was originally going to take the test in October but I did not feel prepared enough and was unsure of what to do. I spoke with her and she told me that I should only take the test if I was ready and not to get caught up in the Early Decision hassles and make sure I was confident in my ability. That advice she gave was vital to me because the stress and anxiety was starting to affect other areas of my life. I am now taking this December and am more confident and aware of how to approach the test and the steps that follow after it.
Furthermore, I was able to attend a TMLC meeting at DLA Piper, where I was able to network with the different lawyers who represented the different DLA Piper offices. The meeting was very helpful because it served to help current law students in the interview process once looking for a job. Although, I will not be heading on that path for a while, it was good because I gained insight into how employers think and their expectations for the hiring process. The representatives relayed to us how important it is for us to be able to articulate what qualities we possess and present ourselves to our future employers. The information was very useful especially because I have to write a personal statement to get into law school. Also, the TMLC meeting was a great way to learn how to network and carry on a conversation with potential colleagues and employers. I was able to observe people's physical presentation such as body language, attire, and appropriate language (conversation topics), so in the future when at business related functions or an interview I know appropriate ways of handling myself. Another aspect of the meeting I found useful so it showed me that I am capable of holding intelligent conversations and interacting on this level in the future. The opportunity to walk through their office confirmed the possibilities that lie ahead and made my dreams of be a lawyer become much more real. I was in a law firm and it felt right. I could see myself walking through the doors of a firm and preparing to handle that day's workload.
Finally, this internship program helped bring a new level of clarity and perspective. The experiences and the interactions I have had throughout the semester convinced me that I am Law School material. As a minority student and someone who is the first to graduate in my family, I sometimes doubted my ability to succeed at a graduate level or if I am smart enough to get in. But during this internship, the different mentors and students at the meetings encouraged me that it is possible and that everyone has something to offer. Sitting in law classes and seeing only a few minorities represented in the class room motivated me to help increase the numbers and provide a different perspective for law schools and future clientele. This internship helped me to focus my goals and work hard to accomplish the goals I set. I am no longer doubtful of my ability but excited about the challenges and successes I will have on the road to Law School as well as those in Law School.