Summer Experience: Kobie Crosley ’23L This summer, Kobie Crosley split his time interning with K&L Gates and the U.S. Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kobie Crosley is a second-year law student at Washington and Lee and is originally from Hightstown, NJ. He is an active member of the W&L community, serving as a Law Review staff writer, the Vice President of the Black Law Students Association, and as a Kirgis Fellow. This past summer he split his time interning with K&L Gates and the U.S. Steel Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. After law school, he plans on starting his legal career in Pittsburgh alongside his girlfriend.
What did you do for work this summer?
This summer I worked as a summer associate with K&L Gates in Pittsburgh, PA office. I also split my time working as a summer intern working at the United States Steel Corporation—a client of K&L Gates—rotating through their in‑house legal department.
How did you find/get this position?
I was blindly applying to firm opportunities in cities I was interested in living in after graduation when I came across the “Power of Partnership Program” through K&L Gates. After several successful rounds of virtual interviews, I was extended an offer.
Describe your work experience.
I enjoyed the “free‑market” work allocation structure that K&L Gates embraces for their summer and junior associates. I was able to choose the practice areas I got experience in by taking initiative and contacting the partners and associates in those areas to network and ask for assignments. I primarily drafted in‑house memos answering niche legal questions in the complex commercial litigation, insurance and trust and estates practice areas.
After spending six weeks as a summer associate, I then had the opportunity to juxtapose that experience by spending four weeks in‑house. I quickly learned of the different pressures in‑house attorneys face—being an expense rather than a profit center—and the variety of corporate in‑house organizational structures.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
This summer I learned the difference between professional and academic legal writing. Clients were hiring us to assist with complex legal issues. It was therefore the associate’s prerogative to make it as easy as possible to package the relevant information for our partners and clients to make informed decisions. Unlike law school exams, memo’s or brief writing, I found it beneficial to not include a thorough analysis of the legal issues only tangentially related to the main question asked.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
I was worried about whether I would feel ethically compromised working for US Steel as someone who is environmentally conscious. Interestingly, I found there to be much more nuance in the environmental regulatory and compliance space than I initially thought. I was impressed by the measures US Steel takes to be a global leader in environmental sustainability practices.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to experience both an in‑house and associate experience this summer. Getting exposure to both the pressures of the billable hour requirement on the private outside counsel side, and to the pressures of answering to the executives on the in‑house side helped me contextualize what different career trajectories might look like. Getting to explore the various practice areas and getting to network with so many attorneys in Pittsburgh was the major highlight. The free food and drinks were also a major benefit!
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
After this summer, I am more certain that I want to work in big law postgrad. Specifically, I’d like to be with K&L Gates in Pittsburgh. The people I met at the firm, the city of Pittsburgh, and the potential opportunities this job would enable are all incredibly appealing.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I will continue taking classes in the practice areas I enjoyed this summer to see if I like the substantive law as much as I enjoyed the people I worked with in those respective practice groups. For example, I’m taking Decedents, Trusts and Estates this semester and am genuinely enjoying the subject matter. Next summer, I will continue networking and working in the Trust and Estates practice group when I return to K&L Gates.