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In-House Legal Experience

October 10, 2023

Natine Macauley L'25
Natine Macauley L’25

A Sadie Scholar with an interest in intellectual property law, Natine Macauley L’25 gained essential in-house experience working at the National Board of Medical Examiners.

This summer, I completed an internship with the Legal Services Department of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), a not-for-profit organization that serves the public through its high-quality assessments of healthcare professionals. NBME develops and manages the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®), as well as other assessments.

I was selected for this opportunity through the Association of Corporate Counsel Greater Philadelphia’s (ACCGP) Diversity Corporate Summer Internship Program, which aims to increase diversity within corporate legal departments. This program provided me with an exciting opportunity to work with in-house attorneys at a Philadelphia corporation. I feel fortunate to have been selected for this opportunity because many lawyers do not develop in-house experience until after working at a firm.

Embedding in a Corporate Legal Department

At NBME, I worked closely with the organization’s General Counsel and other in-house attorneys on a variety of projects, including transactional matters and research projects supporting litigation. For example, I collaborated with transactional attorneys to review artificial intelligence (AI) licensing agreements and cybersecurity vendor agreements. I also worked with attorneys managing litigation and researched case law on some related issues.

NBME’s General Counsel also serves as the Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. This gave me opportunities to attend meetings on the organization’s diversity initiatives, philanthropic goals, and marketing strategies, all of which provided me with insight into how the law impacts organizations departmentally.

In terms of my professional goals, I am interested in intellectual property law, particularly copyrights, trademarks, right of publicity, and brand management. My interest leans towards transactional work. However, I am exploring opportunities on both the corporate and the litigation side of intellectual property. Although I want to launch my career at a firm and ascend the ladder to partner, I would like to retire from my legal career as the General Counsel of a Fortune 500 company. Ideally, I would like to be the General Counsel of a Black or woman-owned fashion, beauty, entertainment, or media company. My experience this summer reaffirmed these long-term goals.

Working in-house also gave me insight that will be helpful, as a firm attorney, when speaking to clients. In-house legal departments are involved in almost every aspect of the organization and consider the corporate culture as well as the varied interests of the organization’s stakeholders when speaking with outside counsel.

Applying Doctrinal Lessons in Real Legal Settings

My experience at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School prepared me for the diligence, precision, and advanced thinking that the internship required. For example, “Contracts” was helpful because I spent a lot of the internship reviewing and providing comments on a variety of agreements. In class with Tess Wilkinson-Ryan L’05, G’06, PhD’08, Golkin Family Professor and Professor of Psychology, I learned to look at agreements beyond plain language. Coincidentally, one of the NBME attorneys I worked with is a close friend of my Contracts professor! “Civil Procedure,” with Yanbai Andrea Wang, Assistant Professor of Law, was also helpful when I was reviewing case law for the litigation-related work.

I am taking “Corporations” this semester with Jill E. Fisch, Saul A. Fox Distinguished Professor of Business Law and Co-Director of the Institute for Law & Economics. I hope to be able to apply my experiences from NBME. Beyond law school, I will always think of my 1L summer as a time when I got a rare insight into one of my future goals.

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.

A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Natine Macauley L’25 is interested in building a career in intellectual property transactions.

Discover more of our students’ Pathways to the Profession.