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What Are Law School Summer Fellowships Really Like?

Summer fellowships are the perfect way to get hands-on experience during or shortly after law school. Spending time working in your prospective field is helpful for cementing your understanding of class material, exploring legal fields that interest you, and, ultimately, getting the experience you need to get a job after you graduate.

In order to make a summer fellowship position do-able, many schools offer paid positions. At New England Law, they’re always paid, because we offer a $3,500 stipend to all Summer Fellows. Below you'll find three first hand accounts of summer fellowship experiences from some of our recent 2020 grads. 

 

Sport and Entertainment Law: Crystal Cascante

Crystal-CascanteSummer Fellowship Position: Legal Intern, Blue Sky Sports & Entertainment
Undergraduate School: University of Florida
Undergraduate Major: Criminology

How did you get your summer fellowship?

In October of 2017, the founder of Blue Sky Sports & Entertainment, Kim Zayotti, was invited to speak during one of my Lawyering Experience classes [a professional development course required of all New England Law | Boston students].

I happened to meet her in the elevator beforehand, where I introduced myself, and we spoke until we reached the lecture hall. After her talk about how to stand out on LinkedIn and network online, I updated my LinkedIn profile and sent her a message. She asked me to email her my résumé and cover letter, and we kept in touch until my interview the following February. 

What did you do during your summer fellowship?

As an intern working in sport and entertainment law, I frequently drafted and redlined athlete appearance contracts, endorsements agreements, and memorabilia agreements. I also conducted legal research for various projects, including state and federal regulations on social media advertisements. 

What are some of the most important lessons you learned?

Specifically, I learned to always ask "What if?" when completing my legal work. The idea is to work through all possible scenarios, so you cover all your bases! Overall, I learned to take advantage of every possible learning opportunity and to be open-minded about my work as a legal intern. On a more personal note, I also discovered that I am open to working at smaller firms or companies, rather than only focusing on positions at larger organizations. 

What’s next for you and your legal career?

I look forward to working at a company where my tasks will vary every day, and where I am frequently challenged with new ideas and projects. The sports and entertainment industry is very fast-paced, which is exciting to me!

What advice can you offer other law students in a summer fellowship?

Once you leave your front door, treat every encounter like an interview. You never know who you are going to meet, where you will meet them, who they may know, and if they'd be willing to help you. 

 

Criminal Prosecution: Nicholas Babaian

  Nicholas Babaian

Summer Fellowship Position: Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
Undergraduate School: 
California State University
Undergraduate Major: 
Political Science, Legal Studies

How did you get your summer fellowship?

Early in the fall semester of my 1L year, I must have printed 100 copies of my resume, I was sending them out to everyone with an address. One of the places I sent one to was the Suffolk County DA's office. I got the news that November that I'd be starting with them over the summer, and I ended up worked with them on and off essentially through the remainder of my law school career. 

What did you do during your summer fellowship?

Work at the DA's office is about as hands on as it gets. As a 1L you have the opportunity to write motions that are filed in pretty serious cases in superior court. Specifically, the cases that you're working with are felonies and above. The majority of my time was spent assisting the District Attorneys that were prosecuting these cases. For me being able to apply what I had learned in my Legal Research and Writing and Criminal Law courses, was one of the components that I liked the most. 

What are some of the most important lessons or you learned?

Both in applying for fellowships, and once you've landed in a role - show initiative. Especially when you're just starting out as a law student with a resume to build, you have to put yourself out there to get the opportunities that will help you level up down the road. 

What advice can you offer other law students in a summer fellowship?

For people that don't know what kind of law they want to practice, I think the 1L summer is an amazing opportunity to really start figuring it out. It's a lower stress time where you can take a fellowship and use that experience to help you determine what areas do or don't interest you. Go into your fellowship open minded, and think of yourself as a sponge, absorb all of the knowledge that you're able to early on. 

What’s next for you and your legal career?

After graduation I've had the pleasure of staying on with the Suffolk County DA's office and taking on a role as their Assistant District Attorney. 

 

Health Law: Catherine Pepe

Cat-Peper-what-are-law-school-summer-fellowships-likeSummer Fellowship Position: Summer Legal Fellow, South Shore Health System
Undergraduate School: Roger Williams University
Undergraduate Major: Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration

How did you get your summer fellowship?

I found my summer fellowship position through the law school’s job website (the Career Advising Network).

What did you do during your summer fellowship?

While at South Shore Health System (SSHS) I was actively involved in drafting health care–related contracts, including hospital vendor agreements, provider agreements, and Business Associate Agreements. I spent a great deal of time researching and providing confidential memorandums to be distributed to senior leadership to advise on compliance issues regarding Massachusetts Scope of Practice, fraud and abuse, and anti-kickback stark/self-referral to ensure hospital procedure was in best practice.

I worked directly with the Chief Compliance Officer to revise compliance policies, including the SSHS Handcuff & Restraint Policy, and advised with the legal department on a commercial net lease for a town 911 contract. I also distributed a companywide memo regarding the Emergency Medical Services Restocking Agreement with the Department of Pharmacy Services.

What are some of the most important lessons you learned?

My summer fellowship experience was so valuable in large part because of the great deal of responsibility I was given from the start. My supervisor entrusted me with substantive tasks, and I was asked to advise and encouraged to assess critical projects with the team.

I learned many valuable lessons throughout my summer fellowship at SSHS, but above all, I developed confidence. SSHS provides its fellows with meaningful and important tasks that most of the time I handled independently and on my own initiative, with the help and guidance of supervisors if needed.

What’s next for you and your legal career?

In the future, I hope to play an integral role in a Massachusetts hospital’s legal department. I would love the opportunity to grow and develop in this fast-paced environment. I also plan to incorporate pro bono work into my career, because giving back is very important to me.

My role at SSHS has had a huge impact on my career trajectory. First, I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work in a health care setting, as my primary interest is health law. I learned basic principles of health care and hospital law that I will carry with me to future endeavors in the field. I am especially lucky that in my role at SSHS I worked for both the legal department and compliance department. Given the opportunity to learn from both angles, my position was multifaceted, which will help tremendously with my career prospects after law school.

What advice can you offer other law students in a summer fellowship?

For students considering the Summer Fellowship Program at New England Law, apply! Not only did I learn valuable skills pertinent to my area of legal interest, but I worked with wonderful people who I’m still in touch with today.

Taking advantage of summer fellowship opportunities in law school helps expose students to the practical aspects of law. It feels good to step into a professional legal position.

 

Learn more about the one-of-a-kind Summer Fellowship Program at New England Law | Boston.