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Lawyer-in-Training during COVID-19

As a law student during the time of a world-wide pandemic, it has been quite difficult at times to stay positive. After a semester-and-a-half of becoming accustomed to the rigor and fast-paced learning in law school, I found myself having to start back at square one during the most crucial part of my 1L year. Within a matter of months, all law students across the country were forced to quickly adapt to remote learning. With tenacity and perseverance, I was able to finish my 1L year strong and in great standing, but that was only half the battle.

At the conclusion of my 1L year, COVID-19 cases were increasing causing a striking number of fatalities across the world leading to closings and workplace adjustments. As a result, many of my classmates had their summer employment opportunities canceled. Fortunately, I was able to continue as planned with a remote summer internship at Lawyers Mutual Insurance Company with the hope of potential office time and networking if the pandemic improved. Although my internship became completely remote, I am grateful for the opportunity to gain experience in the practice of law along with some virtual networking.

After reflecting on my experiences during these past few weeks, I realize there is silver lining impacting us all. I can truly say that I am watching the practice of law change and evolve right in front of me. Within the legal profession, people of all ages and skills are utilizing technology more than it has ever been used in the past. For example, during my first week as a summer intern, I was able to take part in an online mediation via a Zoom video call, which was a new experience even for my supervising attorney.

Weighing the cost of travel with the need for social distancing to ensure the safety of all parties, it is foreseeable that mediations, depositions, arbitrations, and other out-of-court proceedings will continue to be conducted online. The use of technology and online software are likely to become the new normal in the practice of law. Perhaps this creates an opportunity for all the generations inside the law firm to come together and help each other with applying new technology in the delivery of legal services. Collaboration -- another silver lining!

Stepping into summer employment during a pandemic has been challenging, but the experience has prepared me to adapt and apply resiliency in tough times – good skills to have in my toolbox as a future attorney.

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