Students share summer activities

Published: August 25th, 2014

Category: Feature

By Andrew Steadman (3L)

UF Law students scatter across the country and the globe during the summer. They intern at law firms, clerk for judges and study abroad. Here, a few students share their summer experiences and show how far a UF Law education can take you. I’ll start with my own experience as an intern with Morgan & Morgan in Ft. Myers.

The firm introduced its Social Security internship program this year, and as a member of the inaugural class, I was able to work directly with a veteran Social Security attorney. I even had the opportunity to represent a client: I saw the case through from start to finish, guiding the client through the process and representing her at her hearing before a federal Administrative Law Judge. Representing clients in Social Security cases is something that few classes address, so it was a completely new experience and helped me develop skills that aren’t taught in the classroom.

The whole process showed how legal practice is moving in a new direction, particularly in terms of technology. The Social Security caseload is huge thanks to the aging American populace. So some Social Security offices had to outsource cases to judges in other states. Judges based in Tennessee appeared via videoconference to hear cases in southwestern Florida. As I experienced it, other than an occasional lag in the audio feed, the effect was nearly indistinguishable from the judge actually being in the room.

Lindsey Tercilla (2L) – West Palm Beach

This summer I worked for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office in the Special Victims Unit. This unit deals primarily with crimes of a sexually violent nature, often crimes involving minors. I was involved in all phases of the prosecution process. I worked on legal research; I was exposed to numerous jury trials; I attended depositions; I assisted with discovery; I sat in on client meetings; and I was also part of a two-day interactive seminar in which I got to work a mock crime scene. I spent most of my days in court at hearings, docket calls and in trials. My summer experience was rewarding beyond belief and I look forward to hopefully returning next year.

Nick Alberto (3L) – Miami

I worked at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida in Miami. I worked in the Economic Crimes Division of the office. There, I did a great deal of legal research for cases that were going to trial and other cases that had tricky issues. Usually I would write up memos with applicable case law and my opinions on the matter. I was also able to see several trials, including a bank fraud case from my section. I also worked on responses to motions from defendants. Everyone at the office was very nice and made the summer truly enjoyable.

Juan Rivera (2L) – Miami

I spent this summer externing at Americans For Immigrant Justice, a non-profit organization that advocates for immigrant rights.  I was fortunate to work with both the Children’s Legal team and the Human Trafficking team. Working with this organization provided great insight with regards to the current situation that has made national headlines of unaccompanied minors fleeing to the U.S. I was fortunate to work with a very vulnerable population, and learn about immigration law in the process.  This summer externship not only provided great legal experience, but also an enriching  life experience.

IMG_9491Rebecca Beliard (2L) – New York City

I worked with CBS’s in-house counsel this summer. The CBS program is designed to expose students to the various legal issues handled by in-house attorneys across the company. During the course of the internship, I worked with attorneys handling matters pertaining to CBS’s various business entities, such as CBS Television, CBS Radio, CBS Sports, CBS Interactive, Simon and Schuster, Showtime Networks, and CBS Outdoor. I also worked on matters under the supervision of attorneys from the Corporate Law Department’s Intellectual Property, Litigation, Employment and Labor Law as well as the Corporate practice groups. Finally, I worked on productions matters for lawyers in the legal departments of the Broadcast and Radio business divisions such as Inside Edition and The Jim Rome Show.

Christopher Johns (3L) – Boston

I had the opportunity to intern at the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic in Boston. I did a wide variety of policy-related work including research for a non-profit based in La Paz, Bolivia that is facilitating the development and implementation of policy addressing food insecurity in La Paz. I also worked on draft federal legislation, wrote a policy memo for a major multi-national corporation and did developmental work for the clinic itself. I had an incredible number of memorable experiences. But paramount among them was getting to attend a potluck dinner hosted by Lawrence Lessig and his family at their house.

Daniel Gonzalez (3L) – Ocala

I did an externship with a federal magistrate judge in Ocala. I can easily say that the experience was pretty awesome. I got to watch a lot of court hearings, a really interesting civil trial involving excessive force by the police, and a criminal trial. I also did a lot of legal research and wrote memos. The experience was great because, by watching the trials and hearings, I learned so much more about court proceedings. The research and memo writing also helped me significantly improve my research and writing skills. I found the skills that I learned in Legal Writing and Legal Research were very useful, and that using those skills in an actual legal setting really helped sharpen them.

1911735_10104796325202661_1794253793_nAlexandra Paez (3L) – Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach

I spent the first part of my summer volunteering for Judge John Olson in the Southern District. The majority of my summer I worked at Kubicki Draper as a summer associate in their West Palm Beach office, where I researched case law and complex issues, wrote memoranda and motions, communicated with clients, and analyzed discovery. The summer was a great opportunity to gain practical experience that I wouldn’t have gotten in a classroom. I was able to attend mediations, depositions and court on a regular basis. I was able to attend hearings on motions that I had written. Overall, it was a very rewarding experience.

Jennifer Palmer (2L) – Gainesville

During the summer I worked at McCarty, Naim, & Keeter, PA, a firm that does mainly transactional work, including real estate, corporate law, and condo/homeowner association law. I worked on many research projects and memoranda, particularly using legal databases to find applicable case law to support a certain argument. Also, I did a range of drafting assignments ranging from complaints, motions and orders to operating agreements, deeds, leases, and stock and asset purchase agreements.

elizabethturnerElizabeth Turner (3L) – Washington, D.C.

This summer, I participated in the Summer Honors Program at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel. As a clerk in the Water Law Office, I had the opportunity to work on a variety of assignments for ongoing litigation involving permits and regulations promulgated under the Clean Water Act. I also worked on assignments for other offices, including projects regarding environmental justice and the new Clean Air Act proposed rule. The Summer Honors Program provided me with the opportunity to attend a subcommittee hearing at the House of Representatives, to hear the Supreme Court justices read two opinions, and to visit the White House. I also was fortunate enough to speak with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the rulemaking process and the new “water of the United States” rule!