Intern Spotlight: Student learns about life in law firm internship
By Nadia Felder
No matter how big (or small) the law firm, students who secure a summer internship with one usually return to law school with a clearer idea of their future legal career. Especially students like Christopher Perkins, a rising third-year Florida A&M University College of Law student.
Like many law students, Perkins is an exceptional student in the classroom, yet still struggles with choosing a “destined” legal career. That’s why he felt a summer internship with Monts Law P.L., a personal injury law firm owned by a FAMU alum, would be the perfect fit.
“The interview process was a lot more intense than I thought it would be. Mr. Monts asked me a lot of tough questions about what my goals were for the future, both personally and professionally,” said Perkins. “It forced me to think about where I was headed in life and if I was doing what I needed to do to achieve my goals.”
At Monts Law P.L., Perkins had the opportunity to conduct legal research of relevant laws, regulations, and statutes; gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review; and draft legal documents such as legal memoranda, motions, and orders.
Perkins admitted that personal injury was a great field from which to gain legal experience, regardless of what direction his career path takes. While, his passion leans toward construction contract law, which he plans to use to help assist his father’s air conditioning installation and plumbing company, he plans to keep his options open.
Nonetheless, his experience as a legal clerk taught him more than just organizing legal documents – it exposed him to general life-long lessons.
“General lessons I learned from my past internship is…it’s important to not become frustrated early on because you will gain a better understanding of what you’re doing as time goes on,” said Perkins.
“Also, law school classes don’t prepare you for everything you’ll face during an internship. While you may know the law, learning how to present that information to a court and your client is something that you’ll be more exposed to while working, so it’s important to get that experience.”
What do you hope to gain from this experience?
As the first person in my family to attend law school, the thing I want to gain from this experience the most, is an understanding of what it’s like to be a lawyer day-in and day-out. So far, I have definitely gained a lot of insight into what it’s like to be a lawyer and the amount of hard work that is necessary to be successful.
What skills are you using at the internship that you learned from FAMU College of Law?
The things I learned in the legal writing classes 1L year have been invaluable. Being able to think logically and analytically is what I do every day. Also, since I am interning at a personal injury firm, what I learned in torts class 1L year has been very important as well.
What advice would you share with students looking for internships now?
Advice I would share with students looking for an internship is to try and network as much as possible. Use the connections you have made to reach out to law firms in the field you’re interested in or attorneys that you would like to learn from. Something else I would suggest is to see where other students have interned in the past and ask them for help in letting the firm know you’re interested.
Sidebar: Other Summer Agency Placements:
- Brandy Durham, a rising third-year student, is interning at Cynthia Conlin and Associates in Orlando.
- Frank Montes de Oca, a rising third-year student, is interning at Troutman Sanders in Atlanta.