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 Kenneth R. Simon, Jr. 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. Simon is working at Akin Gump in Washington, D.C., where he hopes to return as a litigator after completing a judicial clerkship.
Meaningful work & impactful relationships
Having worked in Akin Gump’s D.C. office the summer before law school as the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) Corporate Law Intern, I was excited to receive an opportunity to work here again. The D.C. office is filled with dynamic, engaging lawyers who are sincerely interested in getting summer associates substantive experience during our 10-week stint with the firm.
Before arriving I expressed interest in joining the firm’s litigation practice, and I have primarily worked with our litigators. My work, however, came from across the firm. I completed work affecting clients in our Policy, Antitrust, White Collar, FCPA, and Commercial Litigation practices.
An especially interesting assignment came from my work with our Policy group. In particular, I worked on analyzing the current legislative landscape affecting our client’s business with a focus on ensuring that this legislation maintained an evenhanded approach to the businesses being regulated. Taking part in Penn’s Legislative Clinic proved to be tremendously helpful, particularly when I both analyzed the legislative language and prepared recommendations for the client on how to remedy any inconsistencies in a law’s treatment of our client and similar businesses. In addition to this work and more traditional legal research and writing, I had the opportunity to both assist in the drafting of motions and complaints and attend a deposition.
My work extended beyond the firm’s traditional business clients. That is, Akin offered me great exposure to the firm’s highly regarded pro bono practice. Working on a variety of pro bono matters, including a U-Visa petition on behalf of a domestic abuse victim, provided me with truly meaningful opportunities to make an impact on the lives of individuals who ordinarily cannot afford the fees of a firm like Akin Gump. Moreover, summer associates in the D.C. office are given the enjoyable opportunity to assist teachers and administrators in managing the Tyler Elementary Fun Fair.
My summer at Akin gave me a great insight into the work done by the firm and allowed me to contribute meaningfully to that work. Yet, the relationships I have built over the summer are most impactful. Not only are the lawyers in the D.C. office intellectually capable, they are truly fun to be around. It is not uncommon for Partners to stop by my office simply to chat about my time with the firm.
I hope to join the firm’s litigation practice after clerking with Judge Henry E. Hudson in Richmond for a year.