Summer Experience: Ana Laura Coria ’25L Ana Laura Coria split her time interning at a small legal firm in Verona, Italy and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of West Virginia.
Ana Laura Coria ’25L is originally from California but considers herself a world citizen. She is an active member of the W&L community, serving as a Law Review Staff Writer, member of the Jessup International Law Moot Court Team, and as a Research Assistant for Dean Melanie Wilson. This past summer she split her time interning at a small legal firm in Verona, Italy and the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of West Virginia in Charleston, WV.
What did you do for work this summer?
I split my summer and worked in a small legal studio in Verona, Italy and then at the U.S. Attorney’s office in West Virginia.
How did you find/get this position?
The position in Verona was through the Transnational Law Institute and the second was through the Government and Public Interest Interview Program (GPIIP).
Describe your work experience.
In Italy I worked primarily on research, translation, and assisted with drafting applications to be submitted to the European Court on Human Rights. It was self-paced for most of the summer, and then towards the end, I was tasked with drafting one of the complaints arguing that life in prison without the possibility of parole is a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom from torture and inhumane or degrading treatment).
At the U.S. Attorney’s Office, aside from research, I drafted memoranda that would be submitted to the court. I learned about the sentencing guidelines and how they would be applied to sentencing memos. I was also able to participate in investigative meetings with other government agencies, meet some of the district and circuit judges, and attend some of the press conferences and community events. It was a very formative experience.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Aside from my research and writing skills, I was also able to develop skills related to case management, like organizing case files, managing evidence, and coordinating with various parties and agencies involved in the cases. Additionally, I had the opportunity to observe and participate in court proceedings, which exposed me to courtroom etiquette, procedure, and advocacy skills. Moreover, in Charleston, I homed in on my kickball skills participating in the local kickball league with all the AUSAs.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
What surprised me the most in both of my internship experiences was the level of responsibility I was entrusted with. At first, I thought I would be assigned tasks of minor consequence, primarily research memos. Yet the reality turned out to be vastly different from my initial expectations. In Italy I spent my summer drafting arguments for applications to the European Court of Human Rights, and in West Virginia I was creating court memoranda and participating in investigative meetings with agencies like the FBI and SEC. What stood out the most, however, was the respect I received despite my intern status. My input held weight and was given the same consideration as other attorneys in the room. This boosted my confidence and encouraged me to voice my thoughts openly.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
The application of legal theory to actual criminal cases provides a hands-on comprehension of legal concepts, revealing the different nuances that can be interpreted from the law and the impact. During 1L we are often focused on exam preparation and issue identification; however, the workplace unveils a broader scope where problem-solving takes precedence. In addition to issue-spotting, you must provide solutions all while considering multiple factors. This is because the choices you make hold consequences not only for the individual you are representing or pursuing legal action against, but also for their family and their future.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
Yes, I am leaning more towards litigation than transactional work, and I think I would want to explore more options in Criminal Law and Public International Law.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I believe that these experiences will profoundly shape the remainder of my time at W&L Law, particularly in terms of my academic journey. The academic courses I take from here on will be influenced by the aspects of law that ignited my curiosity and enthusiasm during my summer internships.
Outside of Law School
Traveling, Meditation, Creating Music Playlists
Book: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk
Podcast: More Perfect and NPR News