Internship with White & Case LLP
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Jessica Maynor
Paterno Fellow
Hometown: State College, PA

Major(s): Crime, Law, and Justice B.A.
Minor(s): Disability Studies, Sociology, and Human Development & Family Studies

How did you learn about this opportunity?

A friend’s dad works at the firm and I spoke with him about general pre-law advice. He put me in contact with HR and I went through the hiring process.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

White & Case LLP is a 400-lawyer corporate and litigation firm in New York City. One of the biggest firms in the country, White & Case LLP provides expertise in virtually every practice area all over the globe. I was placed in the knowledge department of the firm, similar to an information technology field. The project I assisted with was redesigning and reorganizing the firm’s intranet site. On this site, there is an endless amount of information from how to file a new matter, the profiles of all firm employees, details of all of the firm’s top clients, to all training and marketing services. This site is the homepage on every firm employee’s computer and because of the depth of information, it is visited quite frequently by partners, associates, paralegals, and business service personnel alike. Although my internship was not as law focused as I expected it to be, my experience in the knowledge department still proved to be extremely valuable. 

Through working on the intranet, I was exposed to every type of law that the firm practices on a global scale. I was able to see the inner workings and organization of a law firm and I acquired respect and understanding for the people who work behind the scenes to make what the attorneys do, easier and faster; all experiences that will ultimately help me achieve my goal of becoming a lawyer. On a more basic level, this was my first office job and I took a lot away from that experience alone. Working from 9am-5pm takes getting used to and often times requires some sacrifices in other areas of your life. I learned about the technology used at law firms, how they manage all of their documents, how to schedule conference calls and request spaces for meetings. I learned the type of language used in a firm-wide email, how to lead web-based meetings, and handle conflicts when the person you are meeting with is on the other side of the world. I also mastered the use of Microsoft SharePoint, a web application platform used by the majority of Fortune 500 companies and law firms. In my opinion, the combination of all of these experiences and exposures made my internship well worth it.

“Through my internship at White & Case, I not only narrowed my academic interests, was exposed to the inner workings of a law firm, and acquired new technological skills, I also made invaluable networking connections that I know I can tap into upon graduation.”

How did this experience impact you academically?

While my internship did not focus primarily on the legal field itself, I made sure to capitalize on any and all networking opportunities. I picked the brain of any partner, associate, or paralegal that I met and found out how they got to where they are and asked for any advice they were willing to give. As I helped reorganize the intranet, I learned about all the different types of corporate law and litigation practices.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

Upon graduation, I plan to obtain a legal assistant/paralegal position and work for two years before attending law school. I hope to attend law school in NYC or Boston, become a lawyer, and practice family law. 

Working in a big global firm in New York City was eye-opening in many ways. I learned that firms must consist of a lot more than just attorneys to function, especially when there are 40 offices in 27 countries! There are paralegals, professional support lawyers, marketing specialists, human resources professionals, a technology department, managing clerks, librarians, and a whole floor of knowledge managers. This showed me that there are many ways to use a law degree and that if I want to take a break from trial work when I start a family, there are numerous positions in a big firm that would be suitable for me. That being said, my exposure to such a large firm made me decide that I would rather start my law career in a smaller firm. White & Case treats all of their different employees very well and allows for them to interact in unique ways, but the field I am interested in, family law, is mostly practiced on a smaller scale. White & Case gave me my first exposure to corporate law and litigation and helped me see that, if I do work in a bigger firm that focuses on these practices, litigation is what I am most interested in. This is something most people don’t realize until they are in law school.  Because of my internship, I am ahead of the game.

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

I would definitely recommend this internship, and ones that are similar, to other Liberal Arts students.  Internships on the most basic level translate to work experience and will make you a more desirable hire. I would advise other students, no matter what their major, to seek internships or co-ops in large cities. Having so many opportunities at your fingertips at any time is worth the money you pay to live there for a summer. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments! 

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