Washington and Lee University School of Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

No Typical Day in the Life

Lindsey Brown, a rising 3L from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, is working for a private law firm's White Collar group in Washington, DC.

There is no typical day in the life of a summer associate.  From researching class-action arbitration issues associated with an upcoming brief in the Supreme Court, to assisting on a case allegedly involving political corruption, my work has been both challenging and fulfilling.  

My first assignment was to research and write a memorandum addressing various issues that may arise in an upcoming sentencing hearing.  Specifically, I was asked to consider whether the language of the plea agreement, as currently written, obligates the government to file a substantial assistance motion.  Additionally, the memorandum put forth the limitations associated with calling as a witness a prosecutor who is no longer assigned to the case.   Because I was able to apply the abstract knowledge that I learned in Professor Luna's Criminal Procedure class to a real-life fact pattern, this assignment proved particularly interesting.

Although researching and writing are typical summer associate assignments, I have been exposed to a broad spectrum of work.   For example, what started as a fairly routine assignment of note taking on a conference call, turned into an opportunity to draft a series of letters sent to a corporation's General Counsel, to opposing counsel, and to the Department of Justice.  Although in a support role, I have continued to correspond directly with outside counsel involved in this matter.

In addition to regularly-assigned projects, social events traditionally fill a large part of the summer associate's calendar.  This summer has been no exception.  Undoubtedly, the most interesting social event that I attended thus far was the Burton Awards.   A partner in the white-collar group was being honored for excellence in legal writing.  Held at the Library of Congress, this black-tie event was attended by many of the country's legal giants.   In fact, at this event, I had the privilege of meeting Justice Scalia. 

Living in Washington, DC completes my summer experience.   Washington has something for everyone, but is particularly well suited for those in the legal profession.  Just yesterday, for example, the firm encouraged all of the summer associates to attend the event “Sizing up the 2008-09 Supreme Court Term.”  At this event, practitioners who argued at least one case in the 2008-09 term, spoke on topics varying from the nomination of Judge Sotomayor to the Court's recent decision in the New Haven firefighters case.   The ease with which one can attend such an event is possible only in a city like Washington.

Thus far, my summer experience has been overwhelmingly positive and I look forward to further posting about life as a summer associate.  Lastly, as an aside, may Michael Joseph Jackson rest in peace.


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