PUBLISHED:August 11, 2021

Postcards from the Practice: Students reflect on their summer jobs


From judicial internships to summer associate positions, Duke Law students have been engaged in meaningful work this summer, and they took a minute to drop us a line to share their thoughts and experiences with us.

Jameris Ocasio-Palacios
Jameris Ocasio-Palacios JD/LLM '23, Swiss Arbitration Association/Centre, Geneva
"I could not have had a better experience working for the Swiss Arbitration Association and Swiss Arbitration Centre this summer in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. The office is quite an intimate environment, with about 8 employees total at the time. As a result, I was involved in a diversity of projects and learned so much from my colleagues—with whom I built lasting relationships. As the organization was undergoing a major transition, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the launch of the newly rebranded Centre and the groundbreaking Swiss Arbitration Hub online platform. Not only did I get a first-hand look at the case management and decision-making processes of a major arbitral institution, but I was involved in the 2021 revision of the Swiss Rules of Arbitration and Mediation. As if all of this wasn’t exciting enough, I was lucky to have the opportunity to enjoy some of Switzerland’s premier sights on the weekends!"

Graham Stinnett '23, U.S. AGraham Stinnettttorney's Office for the District of Columbia
“The start to my summer was jampacked. My wife’s and my (small and vaccinated) wedding was in May, we went on our honeymoon, moved to Washington D.C., and I somehow squeezed in the Casenote Competition. I started at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in early June and have had a great experience so far. Working in the National Security Section, there is a certain gravity to the cases, and multiple AUSAs have told me that my work product has tangibly benefitted their case development. As COVID cases fall and vaccinations rise, the city has started to come alive and our section is planning to go to a Nationals game in July. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer has in store!”


Dariga Adanbekova

Dariga Adanbekova LLM '21, DUMAC, Durham

“This summer, I am interning with DUMAC, an organization managing Duke’s funds and endowment assets. It’s been fascinating to see and learn how investment management companies work from the inside under the guidance of DUMAC’s legal team. I am sure that in the future, this experience will contribute greatly to my future law firm career in finance law.”


Tae Hong
Tae Hong JD/LLM '23, Fish & Richardson, Atlanta

“Fish is an IP law firm with attorneys who have studied and/or worked in science or engineering. I am in the patent litigation group of the firm. Fish is awesome. I came to Duke Law from South Korea after writing code in a startup, and I feel like Fish’s culture is similarly entrepreneurial even though the firm is 143 years old. The attorneys here remind me of engineering students I went to school with who were creative, cooperative, and curious about new technologies. Prof. Gina-Gail Fletcher’s Business Associations and Prof. Erika Buell’s Advising the Entrepreneurial Client classes were particularly helpful in preparing me for this summer.”

Gloria Han '22, Alston & Bird, Washington, D.C. Gloria Han

“I’ve never worked in the private sector before, so my main goal was to learn about life at a law firm. Although most of my work has been done remotely, I have thoroughly enjoyed my summer experience. I had the chance to visit D.C. a few times this summer, so it was great to finally meet and connect with the other summer associates and attorneys in the office.

“Most of my work has been focused on regulatory law in the financial services sector. After interning at various government agencies, it has been fascinating to see regulatory work from the other side. I have had the opportunity to work on many substantive projects, where some of my work has even been sent to clients. My supervising attorneys and mentors have provided great feedback and helped me to improve in my communication and writing skills.”


Jordan BrownJordan Brown '22, Hogan Lovells, Washington, D.C.
“Entering law school, I knew I wanted to practice environmental law and enrolled in the Duke Environmental Law and Policy Clinic the first semester available, solidifying my interests in regulatory compliance and counseling. There is truly no better city for aspiring regulatory lawyers than D.C.––home to all the agencies. From being a clinic student to working closely with Hogan's environmental regulatory practice group, I've loved putting pen to practice while supporting the firm in solving complex environmental law issues.
"As a Maryland native who lived 30 minutes outside of D.C. all my life, experiencing the city as a summer associate has brought on a newfound appreciation for all D.C. has to offer. Between outdoor spin classes, long runs to the national monuments, and testing out any cuisine imaginable, I am grateful to have the opportunity as a law student to practice what I love in a city that I will always treasure."

Alejandro Fallas Schosinsky
Alejandro Fallas Schosinsky LLM '21, DUMAC, Durham
“Working at DUMAC this summer has been a unique opportunity to understand better how Dukes works and all the activities in which the university is involved. DUMAC’s primary responsibility is to manage Duke University’s endowment assets, the university’s defined benefit pension plan assets, Duke University Health System’s investments, and much of the university’s working capital. Also, this job gave me the chance to give something back to the institution that believed in me and gave me the opportunity of accomplishing my dream of obtaining an LLM.
“This position has been my first experience in an office in the States. Even though I was nervous at the beginning since I was going out of my comfort zone, Robert McGrail, our supervisor at DUMAC, has made everything possible to help us catch up with all the knowledge we need to fulfill our responsibilities at the office. So far, the summer has one of a kind, and I am sure that this experience will open more doors in the future to keep growing and improving in my career.”

Amanda JoosAmanda Joos '23, National Labor Relations Board, Duke Civil Justice Clinic

“During the day, I’m an intern with the National Labor Relations Board in Representation Appeals. We review election-related decisions for union representation. I write memos to the Board recommending that they grant or deny review for each case— very similar to what a law clerk does for a judge. It’s the perfect opportunity to hone my legal research and writing skills in the best area of the law. At night, I work for the Duke Civil Justice Clinic. We work on anything from eviction claims to unfair trade practice claims to administrative hearing appeals, which gives me the opportunity to interview clients, discuss strategy with the supervising attorneys, and help low-income North Carolinians. I’m truly having the best imaginable summer experience! Aside from working this summer, my friends and I spent a week camping in the Great Smoky Mountains, which were beautiful.”


Neeki Memarzadeh
Neeki Memarzadeh JD/LLM '23, intern for Judge Todd M. Hughes ’92 on the Court of Appeals for the federal circuit
"I analyzed party arguments and evidence and drafted a memo recommending a course of action to Judge Hughes for a federal employment matter. I was also able to participate in case discussions and observe oral arguments. I’m so grateful for the experience, not only because I had the opportunity to learn and participate every day, but more importantly because of the people. Judge Hughes, his clerks, and judicial assistant were so generous and down-to-earth. We all enjoyed lunch together every day. Judge Hughes always took the time to explain the legal framework, provide feedback, and give advice on starting my legal career. Two of the clerks had graduated from Duke last year and actively sought to mentor me not only in my capacity as a judicial intern, but also as a rising 2L. A highlight of the internship was finishing early on Fridays to spend time together and talk about the week and non-case-related things."

Oluwabamise OnabanjoOluwabamise Onabanjo LLM '21, Bass Connections

“I am working as an intern with the Duke Bass Connections team, specifically on Mental Health and the Justice System in Durham County. As part of the team, I review mental health and substance abuse laws and policies of the state of North Carolina, as well as Durham County. I assess specialty courts and their impacts on justice involving individuals.

“Specifically, I research the impacts of laws and policies on recidivism and arrest rates. The internship gives me an opportunity to work with Duke to address a crisis that is prevalent in the state. It gives me the opportunity to contribute to the growing discussion around mental health, the role of substance abuse, and how policies may affect the pervasiveness or otherwise of the crisis. My work on the team helps me contribute my legal education to solve real-time community problems and develop policy solutions that can be adapted to solve these issues – my reason for deciding to become a legal practitioner.”

Luisa Quintao
Luisa Quintao LLM '21, Summer Institute on Law, Language, and Culture (SILLC)
“Working as a Teaching Assistant at Duke Law has been one of the most fulfilling experiences I have ever had. I have always admired teachers and professors. Being in (not only 1/10 of) their shoes makes my admiration and respect even greater. There is so much more to being a teacher than what we see in the classroom as students. Professors Marily Nixon and Melissa Hanson are exceptional law professors, and I am grateful to them for letting me be part of SILLC's teaching team this year.
“Most of the students at SILLC are incoming international LLM students and visiting scholars that are going through challenges like those I faced when I first started my studies at Duke Law. At the summer school, we introduce them to the basics of US law, the American legal system and legal writing. As a TA, I get to work directly with students on their assignments and on their general performance in the program, both in class and during my own office hours -- I was especially excited when I learned I was going to have an office at Duke Law School (I am in room 4009 in case anyone wants to pay me a visit during the summer)!”

Brianna WatkinsBrianna Watkins JD/LLM '23, 1L Eaton/Thompson Hine LLP Diversity Summer Associate Program
“This experience provided me insight on the perspectives of both law firm practice groups and in-house counsel work for a multinational corporation. At Eaton Corporation, I had the opportunity to work on cross-border transactions such as drafting purchase agreements and non-disclosure agreements. Thompson Hine provided me opportunities to research emerging litigation matters in labor and employment as well as transactional work pertaining to real estate. Also, through this unique partnership, I was able to explore the overlap between Thompson Hine’s work with their client Eaton Corporation. This experience has been invaluable, and I am grateful for the mentorship from lawyers from both organizations, as well as the exposure to various practices within the legal field. I look forward to maintaining the relationships and connections I have made through this program and look forward to learning more!”

Tina Li

Tina Li '22, Kirkland & Ellis, San Francisco
“It has been an amazing experience gaining substantive exposure to all aspects of private equity deals from fundraising through exits. The people I have worked with have taught me through actions what a detail-oriented and responsible lawyer is like. I have had the pleasure of working in the office for a few days. Everyone is so excited to see and get to know each other in person in both working and social settings after meetings over Zoom.”