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Summer employment dispatches: Megan Lyons L’14

August 30, 2012

Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the U.S. and abroad. This dispatch from Megan Lyons L’14 is one in a series of firsthand accounts by Law School students about how their summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers.

Lyons is a summer associate in the Legal Department of ARAMARK, a 250,000 employee professional services company headquartered in Philadelphia, which provides food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world.

Having worked on Wall Street and at a tech start-up before law school, I sought an in-house summer opportunity to better understand the ways in which law and business interact. I wanted to complement my course work with practical experience. The ARAMARK Legal Department’s 10-week Summer Associate Program met all of these objectives. The program is geared towards 1Ls who intend to practice law at firms the following summer and after graduation. Summer associates are exposed to complex business and legal issues and various areas of law, and have the opportunity to complete substantive legal work.

I support ARAMARK’s healthcare line of business, which provides essential hospitality services, such as patient meals and café food offerings for visitors, at medical facilities around the country.  In working with the healthcare legal team, I see how the law works to support and sustain business in a complex regulatory environment.   Through evaluating business requests for proposals and working with ARAMARK attorneys to advise the business about risks and legal issues, I see how legal terms figure prominently in shaping the scope of prospective business operations.

I have also drafted contract amendments to reflect the changing needs of ARAMARK’s clients. In one instance, a client requested additional services at its medical facility. The amendment needed to accurately define the scope of services and any regulatory responsibilities without compromising employee safety. To this end, I researched state and federal regulations. We spoke with the business team to discern the practical effects of these services. With the help of the attorneys, I drafted an amendment that incorporated these regulatory and operational findings. This work further illustrated the interplay between law and business.

My fellow interns and I learned contract drafting and deposition strategy from some of the top lawyers in the city, both through in-house training sessions and training sponsored by local law firms. Furthermore, the program provides opportunities to meet firm attorneys and learn about Philadelphia. The ARAMARK Legal Department fields a softball team in the lawyer’s league. In addition to the camaraderie and pizza, we meet firm attorneys and learn more about their firm’s work and culture. Other summer events have included a cook-off and a Philadelphia mural tour with summer associates and attorneys from various Philadelphia firms. The program is focused on facilitating these networking opportunities.

Working at ARAMARK piqued my interest in transactional work and I plan to take classes that develop my drafting and negotiation skills. Given my interests in law and business, I want to participate in Penn Law’s Entrepreneurship Legal Clinic (ELC), which is focused on providing essential legal services to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Philadelphia.  

I am grateful for my summer experience in the ARAMARK Legal Department. I have worked with and learned from talented attorneys who have made a significant investment in my professional development. I look forward to the rest of the summer at ARAMARK.

-Meg Lyons


More summer student dispatches:

-Dan Wilson L’14, who is working for a law firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

-Laura Goodall L’14, who is working in Los Angeles, in the chambers of Judge Gary A. Feess of the Central District of California

-Jen Leventhal L’13, who is working as a summer associate at the Sullivan & Cromwell law firm in New York City

-Alisan VanFleet L’13, who is working in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

-Hannah Gerstenblatt L’14, who is working in the Commissioner’s Office of Major League Baseball in New York City.

-Stephanie Shyu L’14, who is working for the Beijing Arbitration Commission in Beijing, China.

-Lauren-Kelly Devine L’14, who is working for the Athletes and Personalities division of Octagon Inc. in McLean, VA.

-Will Moine L’14, who is working in the Office of the Federal Defender for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento.

-Christen Farr L’13, who is working for the International Finance Corporation, a member institution of the World Bank, in Istanbul, Turkey.