Since my first law school internship has come to a conclusion, I believe a healthy dose of reflection is in order. 

I think I got lucky. This position came up late in my internship search. My summer internship search started off with a great deal of uncertainty about what I wanted to do and a little bit of apprehension. While a law firm summer associate position would be wonderful, I had already had that experience prior to being in law school. Other positions did not seem to speak to my interests, although those positions seemed interesting. I ruled myself out of internships, which was a mistake. When Dean Allen reached out to me one day to ask if I would be interested in working in a position that felt reminiscent of my undergraduate International Relations research, I said emphatically, “Yes!” 

I was greeted virtually a few months later by my colleagues, whose work seemed to increase twofold over the course of the summer. Unlike my prior positions in law firms, where the summer slows the workflow as attorneys take a few more days off and clients leave emails for several days at a time, the work in the international development world jumped in intensity every two weeks.

It is always fascinating to see my workload respond to real world events. It reminds me of the impact that my work has. When the COVID-19 Delta variant spread into Vietnam, the Vietnamese government ordered stricter guidelines and extended lockdowns. Events, workshops, programs, and much-needed government approvals were pushed back. In turn, the need for more time to complete a program’s objectives of necessitated more research on how COVID affected the issue at hand, such as human trafficking. This research would then inform how to move forward and improve the program in a somewhat digital world.

I am endlessly grateful for this work I completed over the summer. It is a privilege to hold a position that asks you to learn. I researched and learned about lay participation in Japan, Korea, Russia, and the United States; the Japanese Saiban-in system; casinos and anti-gambling laws in Laos and Vietnam; Laos’s Special Economic Zones; the company behind the King’s Romans Casino in Lao; trafficking in persons in Vietnam and its neighboring countries. I could have taken time to learn about these subjects without this internship, but the internship was the catalyst.

I look back very fondly on my 1L summer internship. ABA ROLI is filled with incredibly perceptive, forward-thinking individuals who care deeply about the rule of law around the world. The internship reminded me of the importance of my role as a future citizen lawyer.