Clerking (and Parenting) From Home

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By: Simone Grande

During the first week of my summer clerkship at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York, I had the privilege of listening to my first hearing alongside a firefighter and a football player. We were all huddled around my laptop in the “courtroom” underneath my dining room table. To my left sat my four-year old son wearing a red plastic firefighter’s hat. To my right, my two-year old daughter sat eating cookies and wearing a football helmet that was too big for her head. When the hearing was over, I turned to my son and asked him what he thought about it. He looked at me and said, “That was boring Mommy, can we play something else now?”

Clerking from home this summer has taught me that in order to be productive, sometimes you have to be creative and adaptive. Like the time I needed to write a memo for an attorney who was preparing for trial. To meet my deadline, I needed about an hour to work uninterrupted. So, I agreed to let my kids play The Floor is Lava in their bedroom. I knew that their game would end in at least one, if not two injuries, but I also knew that I could get at least forty minutes of work done if I played my cards right.

As expected, twenty minutes into their lava game I heard a thud – one kid down. I waited a few seconds. I heard some giggling but no crying, so I kept typing. Another thirty minutes goes by, then I heard the thud, crash, cry combination that every parent dreads. “Be right there!” I shouted. Then I emailed my memo, closed my laptop, and headed towards my kid’s bedroom with a first-aid kit in hand.

Looking back, I am grateful that my clerkship was filled with challenges like that, because achieving the most you can with the situation in front of you is exactly what lawyering is. I am also grateful for the University at Buffalo School of Law Buffalo Public Interest Law Program and the support I received through the Francis M. Letro ’79 & Cindy Abbott Letro Diversity Fellowship. Without that financial support I would not have had the opportunity to contribute to the important work that is done at the U.S. Attorney’s Office.


Name: Simone Grande, ’22

Name of Fellowship: Francis M. Letro ’79 & Cindy Abbott Letro Diversity Fellowship

Placement: United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York

Location: Buffalo, NY

One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: Don’t worry about the outcome of a task, just apply yourself and do your best.”