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This past summer, I had the opportunity to work at Perkins Coie in Seattle, Wash., my hometown. I was interested in working there to see what private legal practice was all about, to learn more about one well-known Seattle law firm, and to find out what it is like to live in Seattle as a working adult. By the time the summer was over, I had accomplished all of these goals and participated in a number of interesting projects. While most of the diverse array of legal matters I took part in over the summer were related to litigation, some were not. I worked on a small number of trademark matters involving the federal Patent and Trademark Office. I also assisted an attorney who was helping a municipality set up a system to monitor its environmental compliance. This project was interesting because it involved the kind of planning that is designed to avoid litigation in the future. Many of my projects involved environmental litigation, which interests me. The most involved assignment I completed was a long memorandum on a complicated, open question of federal environmental law. I appreciated the opportunity to sink my teeth into such a substantial research project. In addition to the environmental work, I also enjoyed work involving new questions of copyright law. In particular, I worked with clients trying to combat cyber-piracy of their products on the Internet. My supervising attorney helped the clients develop strategies to stop people from selling pirated versions of their work. Helping out with this project allowed me to remain up-to-date on current copyright controversies, including the high-profile lawsuit against Napster. The project helped me to educate myself, not only as a future lawyer, but as a citizen, about new issues concerning the protection of intellectual property in the Internet age. Finally, I particularly enjoyed the pro bono work that I was able to do. I worked with an attorney on a pro bono asylum case involving a mother and her children who had endured unspeakable persecution in their country of origin. We met with the client many times preparing for her hearing at the end of the summer. When we lost in front of the immigration judge, my supervising attorney and I were both horrified that our client might have to return to the situation from which she had escaped. After consulting with the immigrants’ rights center that referred the case, the attorney decided to appeal the case. I find myself keeping in touch with her so that I can keep up with developments in the case and offer my own suggestions for framing the appeal. It was a privilege and responsibility to be able to work on a matter that so dramatically affects people’s lives. Working at Perkins this summer was a wonderful introduction to private legal practice. I was extremely impressed with the professionalism and dedication of the attorneys I met there. In addition, the lifestyle of the people who worked at the firm struck me as one that was, in most cases, sustainable for the long haul. Many of the attorneys valued time with their families and participated in civic and other “outside” activities. Finally, I was impressed with the commitment to pro bono work that I encountered among many attorneys at the firm. I met people who worked on pro bono cases on behalf of individuals, such as asylum applicants and homeless people, but the firm also took on more complicated pro bono cases, including at least one much-publicized case focusing on government accountability and constitutional due process. Besides enjoying the many work opportunities, I had a wonderful time in Seattle this summer. My husband and I went hiking almost every weekend. We went to Mount Rainier, the Olympic mountains, Mount Baker, and, on a trip organized by Perkins, the San Juan Islands. We were very lucky to have beautiful weather. I made new friends at work and spent time with old friends and my family in the Seattle area. By the end of the summer, I had concluded that Seattle is a better place to live than ever. I am still not certain exactly what path my legal career will take, but I know that no matter what twists and turns it takes, I have gained tremendously from spending this summer working at Perkins Coie in Seattle.

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