Summer Experience: Arianna Kiaei ‘25L Arianna Kiaei spent her summer as a judicial intern at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York.
Arianna Kiaei ‘25L is a second-year law student at Washington and Lee and is originally from Scarsdale, NY. She is an active member of the W&L community, serving as staff writer on Law Review, President of the Middle Eastern and South Asian Law Students Association, a Law Student Ambassador, McThenia Research Assistant, and a Kirgis Fellow. This past summer, Arianna was a judicial intern at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York. After law school, she plans on starting her legal career in New York.
What did you do for work this summer?
This summer, I was a judicial intern at the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York. I was working in the chambers of the Honorable Judge Jane A. Restani.
How did you find/get this position?
Going into my 1L summer, I knew I wanted to be in New York and working on topics that touched global matters. When I was doing research, I came across the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT). CIT presented everything I was looking for including location and subject matter, as well as insight into the litigation process and use of economic reasoning within the law. I put together a packet with my resume, transcript, writing sample, references, and cover letter and mailed it to chambers. I had a video interview with the clerks in Judge Restani’s chambers and received an offer a couple hours later!
Describe your work experience.
This summer was such an immersive experience! I was able to refine my research and writing skills through writing bench memos, drafting questions for oral arguments, and aiding in the opinion editing process. I also attended the hearings of various judges at the CIT. The cases that come through the CIT are typically about antidumping, countervailing duties, customs classifications, and tariffs. The CIT is a federal district court and has the mechanics of one, but it functions a lot like an appellate court because the cases are challenging the findings of administrative agencies (the ITC, Department of Commerce, etc.). It was such a unique way to learn about litigation and gain exposure to administrative law.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Much of the work that comes into a judge’s chambers revolve around research and writing. I was able to increase the efficacy of my research searches while also strengthening my writing in a way that adapted to chambers’ style. It’s important to remember that every supervisor is looking for specifics within a work product, so building on the foundational skills I gained as a 1L in a way that served the needs of Judge Restani’s chambers is a process that I will take with me and mold throughout the future of my career. I also gained confidence in my oral abilities through opportunities to present to and talk with Judge Restani about relevant legal matters.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
I was surprised to learn that many of the judges on the CIT also sit by designation at various circuit and district courts. Judge Restani takes on many designation cases, so I gained exposure to non-trade cases that came out of the Second Circuit, the Ninth Circuit, and District Courts in Florida and Oklahoma.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
My favorite aspect of this summer was the relationships formed within chambers. The 10-week experience built my legal network and allowed a forum where I gained such wise insight about the legal field. It was so helpful to seek advice from clerks who had been in my shoes just a couple of years before on how to build my legal career. I had such a great time getting to know the clerks, my co-intern, and Judge Restani throughout the summer!
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
Like I mentioned above, being in chambers welcomed an environment where I was able to ask many questions about next steps to take. Unfortunately, almost all the attorneys who practice International Trade practice in Washington D.C. Knowing that I want to be in New York scratched trade off the list of potential practice areas. However, working in chambers sparked my interest in litigation a little bit more. Next summer, I will be working at a firm in New York where I will rotate through various practice groups and figure out exactly what area I’d like to begin practicing. I know that the work I completed this summer will definitely help in that decision making process.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I randomly put myself out there by “cold mailing” my information to chambers, so I think this experience will encourage me to continue doing so within the opportunities of the law school community. As a Kirgis Fellow, I also hope that my experience can help as the next class of 1Ls begins to search for their first summer positions.
Outside of Law School
Pilates & spin classes, antique shopping
Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
Favorite thing to do in Lexington
Friday night wine tastings at Mercantile and Purveyors