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Sarah Heberlig L’21

“Interning in-house at IBM Japan within their Tokyo headquarters office proved to be cross-disciplinary in every sense of the word. From conducting research on the implications of new technologies like quantum computing and blockchain within the legal field, to being challenged to initiate and lead thought leadership discussions with IBM executives, to researching and drafting a memorandum on efficient breach of contract and limitation of liability clauses, I learned the importance of being able to navigate seamlessly as a legal professional in a constantly evolving enterprise space. One of the most important takeaways that I learned from my summer experience was understanding that being an effective lawyer rests on truly identifying client objectives and goals. While every issue has both a business and legal answer, which can simultaneously be both incompatible or compatible, it is the client’s goals that direct which aspect or combination of aspects to preference. I learned to be flexible when a business implication was prioritized over a legal one, and creative when a legal constraint required maneuvering to drive business goals. My experience at IBM, especially in an international capacity within a cross-border transactional space, has showed me firsthand the necessity of incorporating cross-disciplinary aspects within my legal education. This realization would not have been possible without the support of the PLIIP fellowship and I am incredibly grateful for this lesson which has been instrumental in shaping my goal for my next two years at Penn— I will actively seek ways to layer my legal education with the multitude of cross-disciplinary opportunities that Penn offers.”