By: Madison Nash
You may have an idea of what your summer internship will entail, but you never truly know until you walk through the doors on your very first day and are handed your first assignment. This summer my plan was to intern with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and although I spent my summer there it was not exactly how I expected it to play out. I thought the summer after my first year at the University at Buffalo School of Law would push my legal skills to the next level, and I would come out feeling more confident, knowing more, and ready to tackle interviews for future internships and jobs. Instead, I learned that perseverance is one of the most important traits to have as a summer intern.
When applying and interviewing I made a list of experiences I was hoping to gain out of my 1L summer internship. On the very top, I listed both that I wanted to come out of this summer with another writing sample, and that I wanted to receive meaningful feedback on assignments that I was to complete. After interviewing with an Assistant District Attorney (ADA) at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office and talking to one of my TA’s, I knew the Erie County DA’s office was the place for me. I accepted a position amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and remained hopeful I would experience those two qualities.
As time progressed and pandemic was still in full swing, my start date kept being pushed back. Instead of worrying if I would gain my two “important” qualities from the Erie County DA’s Office, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands and no longer wait. It was clear that although I had an amazing opportunity ahead of me, I could not simply wait for it. I decided my time would need to be split with another opportunity that provided me with hands on learning and a writing assignment the first day I arrived, and secured a judicial internship.
Walking into Hon. Richard C. Kloch Sr.’s chambers in the Supreme Court of Niagara County the very first day, I was greeted by “okay it is time to get to work.” That same day, I walked out with a casefile in hand and an answer motion to complete. It was in that moment I realized all the hard work I had put in this past year was finally paying off. While getting into law school is the first hurdle of starting a legal career, getting a meaningful internship is the very next big hurdle.
As a 1L you face many unknowns. One very important one being how your internship will go. There was a time that I thought I would not even have a summer internship due to the circumstances in the world right know. Once I learned I had been awarded the Class of 1979 1L Summer Fellowship, I quickly came to terms with the fact that the only reason I might not have a good experience my 1L summer would be challenges finding a placement that could start immediately. So, I persevered, and then split my time between two different internships. That was an invaluable opportunity for me. Not only was I able to gain meaningful feedback and come out with two writing samples, I was able to learn how to take matters into my own hands and reach out to individuals I knew within the Buffalo legal community and find additional learning opportunities my 1L summer.
It is important to remember that the things you think and others think are important to achieve are not necessarily the most important things for you to achieve. You must grow on your own, and create your own legal path. Always remember invaluable experiences come in different forms for different people.
Name: Madison Nash, ‘22
Name of Fellowship: University at Buffalo School of Law Class of 1979 1L Summer Fellowship
Placements: (1)Erie County District Attorney’s Office and (2) Hon. Richard C. Kloch Sr., Niagara County Supreme Court Justice
Location: Buffalo, NY
One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions – sitting and wondering if you are completing an assignment correctly will not teach you anything. Bring what you have to your supervisor when you have run out of ideas and ask them if the work you are producing is what they are looking for!”