The Michael H. Moody Law Internship Experience
There are few better ways to learn than the practical experience of an internship, especially in the legal arena. You can study the concepts, read the books, and attend lectures until your heart’s content, but the hands-on learning opportunity of an internship is very different in comparison. To grow in your career, it’s important to put what you’ve learned into practice under the guidance of a seasoned attorney.
When I started Michael H. Moody Law, I knew that I wanted to be able to offer internships and serve as a mentor in the same way my mentors have served me. I attribute the confidence I have at this stage in my career to the real-life learning opportunities that I have encountered. I originally imagined my internship program to operate in an office setting, but COVID-19 had other plans! While many firms canceled their summer internship offerings in light of current events, I pivoted the program to a remote operation as part of the ongoing experiment that is 2020.
With a remote agreement comes a great deal of trust. It was important to me to effectively vet the candidates to ensure that I found a student who could bring the right amount of work ethic, relative expertise, and enthusiasm to the role. I came up with a creative, difficult research question that was relevant to one of the cases I was working on and asked FSU students to answer it while compensating them for their time. This process allowed me to see a sample of the students’ work beyond their resume or GPA while providing them with a window into what to expect from an internship with me. This particular question required students to demonstrate their willingness to creatively problem-solve when posed with a challenge which is a large part of the attorney experience.
Enter: Corinne Bowden. Her answer to my query was outstanding and she accepted feedback graciously. She conducted thorough and informative research—and she’s been doing great work ever since!
Born and raised in Fort Myers, FL, Corinne is currently living in Jacksonville, so the remote opportunity suited us both. She’s a rising 2L at the Florida State College of Law and is pursuing a Business Law Certificate. She appreciates the fast pace of litigation and enjoys thinking strategically to solve problems. I am particularly impressed by her ethical approach to her career. She’s wise beyond her years with the goal to become a respected lawyer who’s seen as a talented, committed, kind, and charitable professional by her community and peers. And she just made the Moot Court team!!
Throughout our time working together, the remote internship model has been a success. While we can’t be physically present in the same office, the shift to virtual has not taken away from the level of collaboration and hands-on learning. For Corinne, cutting out a commute and required in-office hours has allowed her the flexibility to take on additional opportunities for practical learning and study outside of our internship. Technology and tools like Slack, email, video chat, and secure docu-sharing allow us to seamlessly communicate and collaborate on legal work. This remote working relationship has been so seamless that I will most likely continue to offer virtual internships beyond the pandemic. The expectation is that you do great work, no matter whether you’re in a coffee shop, at home, or at the beach. I think this will allow students to enjoy a more fulfilling balance between work, learning, and personal life.
Corinne will be the first to tell you that no week has been the same since her internship started! Each case presents different projects that come with their own unique challenges. Our communication process usually involves a number of exchanges of drafts and feedback. For Corinne, the feedback is valuable to learn from and she always takes constructive criticism in stride. One of the most important lessons from her internship has been learning the process of taking complicated legal jargon and simplifying it into a digestible narrative. In law school, students are celebrated for an extensive vocabulary and understanding of complex theories, but the challenge is to take that advanced knowledge into the “real world” and translate it to a wider audience. We’ve worked together to help her consolidate her writing to clearly communicate the key points of a legal argument.
I truly believe that the future of law internships involve a small, supportive, and challenging learning environment like ours. Corinne has played a big part in helping me create this virtual and interactive space for future students to discover. It has been a pleasure to work with an intern who produces phenomenal work and I know she has a very bright future ahead.