Washington and Lee University School of Law

Washington and Lee University School of Law

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Most Important Meal of the Day

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

Every Tuesday all of the summer associates, along with the recruiting team, gather for a weekly breakfast.   These breakfasts have proven to be one of my favorite summer events. Apart from the free food and coffee, these events provide the summer associates with an opportunity to learn about what others are working on and with the chance to catch up. 
Last Tuesday, for example, one summer associate shared his experience with an international arbitration assignment. This summer associate has spent the bulk of his time working on matters pending before the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). Specifically, he was tasked with writing memos on a variety of issues in cases involving clients in South America, Eastern Europe and Asia. Hearing about what others are working on makes these Tuesday breakfasts one of the highlights of the week.
Breakfast, of course, is not the only meal of the day. There are plenty of opportunities for interesting conversation at lunch and dinner. Today, lunch with two associates in the trade group was no exception. Pleasantries quickly turned into a stimulating conversation regarding the Obama Administration's position on trade.  One of the associates recently published an op-ed arguing that the Administration's failure to take a stance on trade has resulted in a policy of de facto protectionism—something that, this associate argues, subverts the President’s economic and foreign policy objectives. Although differing perspectives were articulated, we all agreed that it will be interesting to see how the Administration’s trade policies are eventually shaped and implemented.
This summer, however, has not just been about good food and good conversation. As the summer progresses, I continue to receive stimulating and substantive assignments.   For example, I recently considered a plea agreement that, in exchange for the defendant’s cooperation, would require the government agree not to charge the defendant’s family members. With regard to this plea agreement, I explored the following: (1) whether plea agreements involving third-party interests are permissible, and (2) whether the defendant’s decision to cooperate was the result of coercion.  The memorandum I drafted to memorialize my findings was particularly interesting because it allowed me to consider the implications associated with plea bargaining and the rights that one waives when he or she enters into such an agreement.
Finally, I thought it might be interesting to share the experiences of a friend, who is working for a different law firm here in Washington.   He has spent much of his summer working on energy, climate, and environmental matters, including the deconstruction of the House climate bill. As part of his work, he has attended numerous hearings on Capitol Hill and has drafted innovative legal analyses regarding the bill’s implications for a range of clients. He was even sent on a thirty-six hour trip to Los Angeles to cover an EPA hearing concerning a proposed rulemaking. Although very different from my experience, I know that he has found his summer work to be equally challenging and rewarding.


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