A Summer of Gaining New Skills, New Interests and New Mentors
Elizabeth Lundi ’14: Serving the City of Newark
I knew coming into law school that I wanted to live, learn, and serve in a community that resembled my hometown in Queens, New York. The opportunity to serve Newark is in large part why I chose Rutgers Law. After receiving the Charles H. Revson Law Student Public Interest Fellowship this past spring, I accepted a position at the City of Newark Law Department, continuing the longstanding Rutgers tradition of service to this great city.
My internship allows me to split my time between the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office and the Office of the Corporation Counsel. With the prosecutor, I am on my feet in court observing trials, negotiating pleas, and drafting subpoenas and follow-up materials for the prosecutors. I am gaining hands-on courtroom experience while learning from a remarkable team of prosecutors who are committed to serving the public and ensuring justice.
My time with the Corporation Counsel has been spent working to protect the City’s interests. I have drafted a reply brief to a pre-trial motion in a water rights case, researched and wrote a legal memorandum on idiopathic workers’ compensation claims, and composed a letter explaining the U-visa to non-citizens. The highlight of my internship would have to be second chairing an oral argument presented by my boss Clyde L. Otis III, the First Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Newark, in the New Jersey Superior Court Chancery Division.
I am incredibly grateful for my new mentors at the Law Department who have helped develop my skills as a future attorney. This has truly been an amazing experience!
Raymond Baldino ’13: The Reporters Committee Is a Perfect Fit
Just footsteps from the office where I worked this summer at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Arlington, Virginia, the parking garage where Bob Woodward had his fateful encounter with “Deep Throat” many years ago can be found. The close vicinity of the two locations is appropriate, because Reporters Committee, as an organization that spear-headed many important First Amendment battles in the 1970’s, was born out of the very conflict between press and government that Watergate embodied.
It was my great privilege to assist in the work of the dedicated lawyers and journalists who are still carrying on the good fight with the Reporters Committee today. As a law student who takes an interest in both intellectual property and civil liberties, media law fit my interests perfectly.
Whether I was writing stories and interviewing media lawyers on important legal decisions, assisting in creating legal guides for journalists, helping reporters who called the help line to know their rights, or participating in an amicus brief, I learned a ton – about FOIA, First Amendment, libel, copyright, and privacy issues. It’s an experience I’ve yet to top.
Gwyneth O’Neill ’14: PILF Grant Made Job With Orleans Public Defenders Possible
I spent this summer as a law clerk with the Orleans Public Defenders (OPD) in New Orleans, Louisiana. I have had the privilege of working closely with three attorneys on cases dealing with issues ranging from misdemeanor domestic violence to second-degree murder. New Orleans is a city plagued by poverty and crime. The city’s violent crime rate is consistently higher than the national average and, for years, New Orleans has had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the nation. OPD’s vision is to create a community-oriented defender office staffed by zealous advocates committed to preserving the integrity of the criminal justice system on behalf of an indigent client-base.
Despite national trends moving in the opposite direction, the current District Attorney accepts about 85% of cases, which means OPD attorneys are managing exceedingly large caseloads. Their work is extremely important, and I have seen firsthand how fervent, thoughtful advocacy can contribute to achieving positive outcomes for many clients.
During my clerkship, I have assisted in all aspects of criminal litigation, including performing legal research, conducting factual investigations, client and witness interviews, drafting of memoranda and motions, analyzing discovery materials, trial preparation, brief writing, and even drafting writs submitted to the Fourth Circuit Louisiana Court of Appeals. The most rewarding aspect of this clerkship, however, has been to witness the selfless devotion of these brilliant lawyers in establishing personal relationships with their clients. I am extremely grateful to the Public Interest Law Foundation for their grant, without which this clerkship may not have been possible.
Olivia Quinto ’13: Two Jobs, Two Opportunities to Work With Rutgers Law Alums
I was selected as a 2012 Minority Law Fellow by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. NACDL consists of private defense lawyers, public defenders, U.S. military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness within America’s criminal justice system. As a Fellow, I worked with the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, a community-based, holistic public defender. At NDS, I conducted court appearances, legal research and writing, witness interviews, investigation assistance and client visits at jails. I also participated in proffer meetings with the District Attorney, client surrenders and attended arraignments, hearings and trials in New York criminal and Supreme courts.
I also worked as an associate for Outten & Golden LLP, one of the country’s preeminent employment law firms, which represents employees in areas ranging from executive contract negotiations to civil rights in the workplace and class action litigation. I conducted legal research and writing, prepared pleadings and attended depositions, client meetings, firm practice group meetings and in-house training sessions.
Both of my summer positions allowed me to work with Rutgers Law School alumni – NDS executive director Rick Jones, Class of 1987, and Outten & Golden partner, Anne Golden, Class of 1978.
This summer I also received a scholarship from the Garden State Bar Association and was selected as a Mike Eidson Scholar, a prestigious national award given by the American Association for Justice to a 3L female student who has demonstrated a commitment to a career as a plaintiff's lawyer or criminal defense lawyer, along with dedication to upholding and defending the principles of the Constitution.
Jake Goodman ’13: Interning at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
This summer, I am serving as the Rutgers Law School chair for the Internship Program at the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. I obtained this position through an ongoing reciprocal program in which the Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to hire a student from Rutgers Law each year to be assigned to their Appellate and Law Section.
My responsibilities include writing legal briefs on behalf of the State for appeals being heard before the New Jersey Superior Court, Law Division and Appellate Division and making oral arguments in support of my submissions. I have also been able to participate in trial-related matters, including preparing the State’s briefs in response to motions to suppress evidence.
This program is designed to give interns hands on prosecutorial experience and has allowed me the opportunity to undertake the day to day responsibilities of an assistant prosecutor. As such, I have been able to participate in criminal matters ranging anywhere from plea agreements to sentencings. This internship has proven to be invaluable in allowing me to gain practical legal experience. Working for the Prosecutor’s Office has taught me the importance of research and meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment and has undoubtedly strengthened my legal writing and oral advocacy skills.
Judith McCarthy ’13: Problem-solving Opportunities in Drinker Biddle Training Program
My summer at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, in Florham Park, New Jersey gave me the opportunity to work on issues in employment, corporate, litigation, and finance law, and to interact with lawyers of all levels from Drinker Biddle offices around the U.S. The firm’s Summer Associate Committee, my associate host, and my partner mentor checked in regularly and took quite seriously their duty to take the summer associates out to lunch and to other fun events, including a boat ride around Manhattan on a beautiful summer evening. Aside from the nice meals, getting out of the office gave me a chance to get to know people at the firm and learn more about the work they do.
One of the unique things about Drinker Biddle is its formal training program. The training modules were a wonderful chance to learn the specifics involved in drafting a full complaint and a letter of intent. Even more, the training provided opportunities for all of the summer associates to work together to solve issues related to subjects we knew almost nothing about.
Even though I’ve had a previous career and worked at big companies, this summer was definitely about getting out of my comfort zone and learning.
Kai Marshall-Otto ’14: Insurance Fraud Work Teaches New Lessons About Evidence
After a busy and exciting first year, I accepted a position as a summer law clerk at CNA Financial Corporation, a large holding company consisting primarily of commercial insurers. The company has dozens of offices around the country, and I worked at one of their corporate locations in Cranbury, New Jersey.
The in-house firm at the Cranbury location deals solely with coverage disputes which, although you might not believe it, can be very interesting. Probably the case that was most exciting for me was an insurance fraud case in which the insured (allegedly) hired a man to steal and sink his boat so that he could collect from one of our insurers. It didn’t take long for the police to figure out what had really happened, since the hired help failed to completely sink the boat. Despite a written statement to the police confessing his actions and intentions, the insured chose to sue the insurer when his claim was denied on the basis of fraud. As a policy, the company aggressively pursues fraudulent claimants to the fullest extent of the law, so we have filed a counterclaim against the insured for twice the amount of his fraudulent claim, pursuant to the law of the state in which the action lies.
The case has presented a host of practical and theoretical questions of admissibility of various pieces of evidence that we wish to put forth at trial. All in all, this job has been a fantastic experience, and I can’t wait to see what next summer brings!
Mark Makhail ’13: Larger Firm and PIP Arbitration Experience
Prior to, and during my first two years of, law school I worked for a small real estate firm in Matawan, New Jersey. However, I wanted to explore other fields of law and also experience working in a larger law firm setting. This summer I began working for Bramnick, Rodriguez, Mitterhoff, Grabas, & Woodruff, LLC which is located in Scotch Plains, New Jersey.
As a law clerk at this firm, I was primarily responsible for Personal Injury Protection (“PIP”) arbitrations. Once I learned the process, I was in complete control of the process. I filed the demands for arbitration, followed-up with the client to assure that all the bills were submitted, filed the arbitration statements and amended the demands, if necessary.
While arbitration was my primary responsibility, I also had the opportunity to perform legal research and draft memoranda, comments and motions associated with pending cases. I worked on a variety of cases including personal injury matters and contractual disputes. Examples of such work include a motion to compel production of drug test results in a personal injury matter and an order to show cause compelling payment of income continuation benefits.
My experience at Bramnick, Rodriguez has taught me new skills while sharpening others. It also gave the opportunity to work in a larger firm setting.