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Building Broad Litigation Experience

August 15, 2023

Virginia Richards L'25
Virginia Richards L’25

A future litigator, Virginia Richards L’25 reflects on her corporate transactions, litigation, and pro bono work at Cooley LLP’s Boston office.

As an aspiring litigator, my summer experience as a 1L Diversity Fellow and Summer Associate in Cooley LLP’s Boston office provided me with an opportunity to further hone my skills and engage in litigation work at a major firm.

Prior to attending the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, I worked with Cooley Boston as an SEO Fellow and was exposed to substantive transactional and litigation work. I chose to return to Cooley because of my interest in pursuing litigation and because of Cooley’s portfolio of start-ups and emerging companies, clients who are often at the forefront of technological and social innovation in their industries.

Firsthand Litigation and Transactional Experience

As a summer associate, I split my time between transactional and litigation work, exposing me to a wide array of corporate and litigation matters. On the corporate end, I worked on an M&A deal team and conducted transactional legal research. I also had the opportunity to support the firm’s pro bono work by conducting research for a gun control advocacy organization and a climate change advocacy group.

My litigation work spanned an even broader range of issues, and working with Cooley’s litigation department solidified my interest in becoming a litigator. In terms of the practice areas, my work involved white collar, immigration, copyright, trademarks, and commercial litigation. I also completed a wide range of litigation assignments, including conducting legal research, drafting motions, producing internal memos, and creating transcripts and memos after depositions and client meetings.

Building Essential Lawyering Skills

Both my 1L courses and my extracurricular experiences from the past year helped prepare me for a successful internship experience. Legal Practice Skills taught by Senior Lecturer Silva Diaz was immensely helpful; the course taught me how to conduct legal research and how to formally answer legal questions and provide legal arguments in the form of a brief or memo.

In terms of doctrinal classes, the knowledge I gained from “Intro to Intellectual Property” taught by Michael Wagner was greatly helpful in my IP-related work this summer. My work as an Advocate in Penn Carey Law’s Custody and Support Assistance Clinic—the Law School’s pro bono family law initiative—was helpful since, as an Advocate, I regularly drafted motions for clients.

My experience this summer helped solidify my interest in litigation and allowed me to develop the skills necessary to succeed as a future junior associate. As a first-generation law student, I’m also grateful for how my internship experience has expanded my professional network; I have also gotten to know so many great attorneys, law students, and professional staff in Cooley’s Boston office. Ultimately, this summer with Cooley has given me the skill set and experience to navigate On Campus Interviews with confidence.

Pathways to the Profession highlights Penn Carey Law students and post-graduate fellows as they launch impactful legal careers. From summer internships in the private sector to public interest post-graduate fellowships, these firsthand accounts of substantive legal work demonstrate the myriad opportunities available to Penn Carey Law students and graduates as they hone their skills and advance their career goals.

Originally from Providence, Rhode Island, Virginia Richards L’25 is an aspiring litigator pursuing a specialty in intellectual property issues, including copyright, trademarks, trade secrets, and advertising.

Browse more of our students’ Pathways to the Profession.