August 13, 2021 Share
By: Noah Pollock (Nova Southeastern University)
Picture a first-generation law student going into his third and final year of law school with little-to-no real legal experience other than competing in trial competitions at school or writing briefs for his research and writing class. That guy was me.
Throughout my law school career, like many, I’ve focused on studying, getting good grades, and doing extra-curriculars. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing I haven’t been fortunate enough to get is real-life legal experience. That is, until I was offered a Summer Associate Program at Kelley Kronenberg. I’m a hard worker; I believe if you’re going to do something, give it your all. Going into this internship, I was nervous that I was “behind the curve”, and I really had no idea what to expect. Would I be drafting documents? Writing memos? Strategizing with the attorneys? Will someone teach me, or will I be thrown to the wolves? Those questions were immediately answered within minutes of the first day. They made it clear that although this is a large law firm, everyone with a KK “badge” matters. From the Partners to the Associates, and from the administrative team to the interns, everyone is given respect.
This was made clear by simply attending our summer associate meetings. Every other week, we met with Partner, Louis Reinstein, who oversees the summer associate program. In addition to those meetings, we regularly meet with Partners from various departments, including the Principal Partners of the firm. Every one of them lives by an “open door” policy. This may seem small, but it’s a difference-maker when it comes to the firm culture and work environment.
One of my favorite things about the summer associate program at KK is the fact that we rotated among different departments. It’s perfect for someone who isn’t sure what area of law he wants to practice.
Rotation 1: Justice for Kids- The first unit I was introduced to was Justice for Kids. It’s led by Partners, Howard Talenfeld, Stacie Schmerling, and Justin Grosz. The two associates in the unit are Kaitlin Coyle and Jonathan Pierre. Every single one of those people took me under their wing. They had me sit in on their depositions, research topics for cases I never knew existed, and even took me on a “field trip”. Justin was the first one I met in the unit, and he instantly made me feel comfortable. It wasn’t “all work all the time”. We talked about school and our similar interest in baseball. Even though he was my boss, I saw him as a mentor and a friend. That goes for everyone I worked within the unit. The conversations I had with both the Partners and the Associates weren’t limited in scope to just cases. They also involved general advice and guidance for a career as a new lawyer, which is critical to someone going into their third year of law school.
Rotation 2: First Party Property & Workers Comp- A few weeks later, I moved to the First Party Property/Workers Compensation unit with Kim Fernandes. The mentorship I’d seen so far had continued. This was made abundantly clear on the first day I began working with her. Kim had a hearing scheduled for 8:45 am, but that didn’t stop her from meeting with me on Zoom at 8:30 am. She spoke with me up until her hearing and called me right after. I could tell she was invested in my growth, and that’s exactly what I was looking for: a firm that cares. With this unit, I got the opportunity to sit in on hearings and research issues. I even got the opportunity to draft a couple of settlement agreements, which was a first for me!
Rotation 3: Family Law- The third unit I got the chance to rotate to this summer was the Family Law Unit lead by Partner, Natalie Kay. I didn’t know what to expect, especially because I hadn’t taken family law in school yet. But wow, these past few weeks made me want to register! From the very first day I walked in, everyone in the Unit took the time to sit with me in their offices and really speak to me. They always encouraged me to speak freely with them, and because of that, I received invaluable advice. It was a true mentorship. Rather than just sticking me at a desk and e-mailing me assignments, they taught me. During my time with them, I got to research issues for their upcoming hearings, observe evidentiary hearings, and even draft motions and discovery. The experience and connections I made through this unit were priceless.
Thinking back to the beginning, I now want you to picture a guy who’s going into his third year of law school, but now, he’s been through a summer associate internship program at Kelley Kronenberg. This guy has written memos in a few hours that used to take him months, he has sat in on multiple depositions, mediations/client calls has drafted motions, discovery, settlement proposals, and agreements. Most importantly, I want you to picture a guy who isn’t nervous anymore. That guy is me, and it’s all thanks to the opportunity that Kelley Kronenberg has provided.
DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a courtesy and is intended for the general information of the matters discussed above and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Neither Kelley Kronenberg, nor its individual attorneys, staff or educational program associates, are responsible for errors, omissions and/or typographical errors – always seek competent legal counsel.