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I will have two summer clerkships this year. In general, I am hoping they allow me to see what it’s like to practice at these firms. But the clerkship experience also offers me the opportunity to take a step closer to making several critical career decisions — will I enjoy trial work, general litigation or employment law? Or will I be totally surprised and enjoy a field of law that I never really thought about? Although there is no doubt that I hope to find permanent employment through the clerkship programs, I feel that there is a lot more to it than just finding a job. It is more about finding the right firm for me — a place where I can enjoy going to work every day, where I am friends with my co-workers, and a place that will take a vested interest in me and my career. At the same time, I realize that I am being evaluated to see how my work measures up and how I interact with people who could turn out to be my colleagues and clients. It’s a lot more than a well-paid summer job. From my perspective, the summer clerkships offer me the opportunity to find a firm with the people, projects and plans that best fit my career goals. A TRIAL RUN Although finding the right “people match” is my first priority, I also want to make sure that I will be given projects and opportunities that challenge me and foster my development as an attorney. Right now I am interested in litigation. However, I don’t know whether I am more interested in trial work or in general litigation. That’s why I am clerking with one trial-oriented firm and one corporate firm. Who knows? I may enjoy real estate or corporate work. Summer clerkships are great opportunities to explore various interests that I have and to see the type of work that I would be doing on a daily basis in a number of different practice areas. I hope to get challenging projects that allow me to apply what I have learned in law school and to get a greater sense of what the practice of law will be like for a young attorney. I hope the projects reflect real work projects, so that I am able to see whether it is the type of work that I want to do on a daily basis. At the same time, I hope to have enough guidance and constructive feedback so I know if I am doing something wrong before it’s too late. That’s why prompt feedback will be extremely helpful. I think every clerk’s greatest fear is that she will perform poorly on projects and not receive a permanent job offer. It would be a shame if this resulted from a lack of feedback or guidance early in the program. The clerkship programs will also enable me to learn more about each firm’s plans for the future. How do these plans affect me? Because I hope to find the firm where I will spend my legal career, I want to get a sense of where it thinks it’s going to be in five, 10, 20 years and the steps it plans to take to get there. I feel lucky to have both of these opportunities, and I plan to take full advantage of the time I will spend at each firm to learn more about the firm’s culture and its people. I’ll do the best I can on the projects I am given and get to know as many attorneys as possible. I hope that by the end of the summer I am a step closer to finding a home for myself. Shannon Jamison will graduate from Southern Methodist University School of Law in May 2001. She is editor-in-chief of the Southern Methodist University Computer Law Review & Technology Journal. Jamison will be a summer associate at two firms this summer: Touchstone, Bernays, Johnston, Beall & Smith and Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr.

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