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A Client-Focused Experience Colin Matthaei ‘24L spent the fall semester working in the Intellectual Property group at Nixon Peabody in Washington, D.C.

colinmatthaei-800x533 A Client-Focused ExperienceColin Matthaei ’24L

Colin Matthaei ‘24L is from Saint Augustine, Florida. He attended Birmingham-Southern College where he received a B.A. in Global Comparative Studies. After college, he moved to Madrid, Spain to work as an English teaching assistant in a primary school. At W&L Law, he is on the German Law Journal and is a coach of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team. He recently got engaged to his fiancé, Riordan, and will be living in Birmingham, Alabama after graduation.

How did you secure the externship with Nixon Peabody?

I began contacting a partner at the firm who had an intellectual property practice that piqued my interest. After regular back and forth communication, I asked if the firm would be open to having me work as an extern in the intellectual property group for the fall 2023 semester. I had two interviews and then received an offer to extern.

Describe your work experience and daily schedule.

I worked from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. most days, but there were some days where I worked a bit longer or shorter depending on my workload. My day-to-day work was usually helping the attorneys in the IP group manage different clients’ trademark portfolios. That meant I helped prepare updates for clients on pending trademark applications and prepared enforcement letters to be sent to infringing parties. I also had the opportunity to work on a couple of different research memos for a client’s copyright infringement case.

What are some skills you developed this fall?

One thing I learned is how to make your research presentable to a client. In law school we learn how to conduct research and write briefs that will be submitted to the court or memos that will be submitted to senior attorneys. This externship taught me how to turn my research into something that could be used in client presentations. I believe that knowing how to interact with clients and update them on their matter is a key skill.

What surprised you about the work you did during your externship?

It was surprising that there was no real transactional vs. litigation divide in the intellectual property group I was working with. The IP clients have diverse needs, from helping them through a trademark application to litigating an infringement, so your day often includes transactional and litigation work.

What was your favorite aspect of your fall experience?

My favorite aspect of this experience was getting to assist real clients. Knowing that the work I was doing would help protect a client’s intellectual property was a unique feeling and makes me excited to be a practicing attorney when I am done with law school.

Has this experience helped you figure out your post graduate plans, and if so how?

This experience affirmed my decision to do litigation after I graduate. I really enjoy the problem-solving process of litigation. This externship provided me with opportunities to assist attorneys in coming up with viable legal arguments for our clients, and I appreciated that the attorneys gave me the chance to offer my point of view on the issues. I am excited to be joining the incredibly talented attorneys at Lightfoot, Franklin & White after I graduate where I will continue to learn what it means to be an effective litigator.