‘Postcards from the Practice’ highlights students’ summer work as legal interns, associates
Duke Law’s annual social media series features students putting classroom learning into real-world practice while engaging with various areas of legal practice.
In this year’s “Postcards from the Practice,” several first-year and second-year students shared about their experiences working as summer associates and interns with employers including the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ), U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, U.S. Army, as well as Earthjustice, National Basketball Association (NBA), and World Bank.
These summer positions provide students with vital opportunities to work with and learn from legal practitioners in different legal areas and at differing levels of practice. Students perform tasks that help them to sharpen their analytic, research, writing, and communication skills, and also build their professional network through working relationships.
“It was amazing to come back to White & Case as a rising 2L and see how much I’ve learned and grown after one year of law school,” said Melissa Antonia Perez ’25. “I got to work on a wide variety of matters, from project finance and international arbitration to pro bono.”
Below are the students featured in this year’s “Postcards from the Practice.” Click on each student’s hyperlinked last name to visit their post at Duke Law’s Instagram.
Taylor Grant ’25, NBA
As a rising 2L, Grant worked as a legal intern with the NBA’s Legal Department at the NBA Corporate Offices in New York. The department maintains several different practice groups, with the NBA, itself, operating in 15 markets worldwide.
“This summer, I spent most of my time supporting the media, finance, IP, events, and data privacy attorneys on projects by doing research, drafting documents, and participating in meetings,” Grant said.
“Some of my favorite projects were proofing the [collective bargaining agreement] and tracking Twitter activity with regard to IP enforcement on digital platforms.”
Reflecting on her 1L summer, Grant pointed to the NBA Draft in June as a definite highlight. “In the week leading up to the draft, we worked draft rehearsal (who knew!). I got to meet [the Golden State Warriors] Chris Paul and other players who stopped by the office and, of course, attended the draft.”
This fall, Grant is serving as co-president of the Sports and Entertainment Law Society and external vice president of the Black Law Students Association at Duke Law.
Evangeline Inyang LLM’23, The World Bank
This summer, Inyang worked as a legal intern in the Legal Vice Presidency at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The group provides legal services and plays an active role in all of the World Bank’s activities, helping to ensure that the World Bank’s activities comply with the Institution’s Articles of Agreement, policies, and procedures.
Inyang said, “I worked for a team that advises on the bank’s lending operations in Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. I had the opportunity to conduct project concept note reviews, draft project financing and loan agreements for various projects, and participate in pre-appraisal negotiations.”
She said highlights of her internship included meeting and networking with different people working across various units at the World Bank. Inyang added: “I even got to sit in on a meeting with the board of directors! I also really enjoyed the flexibility of the internship program and being able to ask for assignments outside my designated unit.”
Here at Duke, Inyang has served as vice president of the Global Law Students Association (GLSA) and graduate student usher for Duke Men’s Basketball, and said she hoped to continue playing an active role with GLSA this fall.
Kubi Johnson ’25, U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Johnson spent his summer working as a judicial intern to the Honorable John P. Mastando III in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.
Johnson, who worked as a research analyst at the International Monetary Fund prior to law school, performed “legal research on different bankruptcy topics” and wrote “memos on numerous issues” while interning at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. He added: “I also attended hearings for various stages of the bankruptcy process.”
Regarding a highlight of his internship, Johnson said, “I loved attending the weekly lunch presentations where judges spoke with the interns about a bankruptcy topic. Plus, I enjoyed meeting with our chambers’ clerks and Judge Mastando to learn more about their legal experiences.”
At Duke Law, Johnson is a staff editor at the Alaska Law Review and stays active with the Duke Law Run Club.
Jeaneyoung “Jen” Kim ’25, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Previously a legal assistant and paralegal in Seoul, South Korea, Kim spent her 1L summer working as a summer associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, in Houston.
“[At Simpson Thacher] I worked on various deals in different corporate practices, such as capital markets, funds, and M&A,” Kim said. “For these deals, I reviewed and revised deal documents and corresponded with clients, attorneys, and specialists to move deals forward.”
Kim enjoyed many memorable moments with the firm, both at and away from the office. “The biggest highlight of my summer job was getting to meet law students from all over the country and working with them as colleagues at the firm,” she said. “Some of the best summer events were shooting clay, a mixology class, and watching a Houston Dynamo game.”
This fall, Kim is serving as vice president of professional development for the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, vice president of community affairs for the Duke Law International Law Society, and events director for the Duke Immigrant Refugee Project.
Michael Marotta ’25, U.S. Army JAG Corps
This summer, Marotta worked as a legal intern in the U.S. Army JAG Corps with the U.S. Army South at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. The Judge Advocate General's Corps, also known as JAG or JAG Corps, is the military justice branch or specialty of the United States Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy. Officers serving in the JAG Corps are typically called judge advocates.
A rising 2L, Marotta worked in three different practice areas vital to the work of the JAG Corps: military justice, national security law, and administrative law. He said, “I have learned a lot in each area, but my favorite has been military justice as I hope to become a special victim prosecutor should I be offered commission in the JAG Corps.”
Marotta recalled being invited to tour the Supreme Court of Texas as a definite highlight of his summer internship, saying “During our tour, I was able to meet several other members of the court who happened to be Duke alumni.”
Here at Duke Law, Marotta is a member of the Latin American Law Students Association “as I am very proud of my Mexican American heritage.” This fall, he says he’s looking forward to mentoring an incoming 1L in the Government and Public Service Society and continuing to play in Duke Law’s softball league and Duke’s intramural basketball with his fellow law students.
Melissa Antonia Perez ’25, White & Case
For her 1L summer, Perez worked as a summer associate at the White & Case offices in Miami. “I was fortunate enough to spend the summer before law school there, as well, through the life-changing SEO Law Fellowship,” said Perez, a South Florida native who graduated from Brown University before starting her law degree at Duke Law.
“It was amazing to come back to White & Case as a rising 2L and see how much I’ve learned and grown after one year of law school. I got to work on a wide variety of matters, from project finance and international arbitration to pro bono,” she said.
Some of her favorite assignments as a summer associate, Perez said, involved working with the international arbitration team. This provided her with opportunities to put her legal skills to work researching investment treaties and dynamic arbitration matters.
Here at Duke, Perez serves as co-president for Duke Law First Class, a student organization she helped co-found to provide a community for first-generation college graduates and students from low-income backgrounds. She serves as vice president of diversity & inclusion for the Duke Law Business Law Society and is “passionate about paying opportunities forward to fellow diverse students and look forward to doing so in these roles!”
Madison Pinckney ’24, U.S. Department of Justice
This summer, Pinckney worked as a legal intern in the U.S. Department of Justice Disability Rights Section’s Civil Rights Division in D.C. The Civil Rights Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.
As a legal intern, Pinckney “worked on enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through a public school investigation and investigations into the integration mandate that ensures individuals with disabilities have the right to live in their communities.” She added: “A lot of my work focused on the interplay between the ADA and federal education law.”
Here at Duke Law, Pinckney is the co-founder and director of the Lyme Disease Advocacy Project (LDAP). A new pro bono group, LDAP provides advocacy and support for people with Lyme disease and was recognized for ‘Greatest Service to the Outside Community at Duke Law’ at the 2023 D.O.N.E Awards.
3L Emma Shahabi ’24, Earthjustice
For her 2L summer, Shahabi worked as a summer law clerk in the Oceans Program at Earthjustice in San Francisco. The program utilizes legal solutions to safeguard imperiled marine life, reform fisheries management, stop the expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling, and increase the resiliency of ocean ecosystems to climate change.
“This summer I worked on several projects related to litigation strategy to stop new offshore oil and gas permits in the Gulf of Mexico,” Shahabi said. “I also conducted exploratory research into the criteria for buffer zones of marine protected areas in international conventions and frameworks.”
She counts attending oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit among the highlights of her internship. “We also helped moot the attorneys in the weeks leading up to the oral arguments, so it was such a cool experience to hear the judges asking the same questions that we brought up in prep and hearing the answers we helped come up with,” she said.
Here at Duke, Shahabi serves on the executive boards of the Environmental Law Society, the Middle East and North African Law Students Association, Moot Court, and the Environmental Law and Policy Forum, and is actively involved with Duke OutLaw and the Womxn of Color Collective.
If you are a current 1L or 2L at Duke Law who would like to participate in next year’s “Postcards from the Practice,” please e-mail Sean Rowe (firstname.lastname@example.org) in Duke Law Communications.