Summer Experience: Maeve Harris ’24L Maeve Harris spent her summer working for Judge Richard G. Latin of the Supreme Court of New York.
Maeve Harris ‘24L is originally from McLean, VA, and attended the University of Virginia for her undergraduate degree. She is an active member of the W&L Law community, serving as a Junior Editor on the German Law Journal, Executive Secretary of the Student Bar Association, and a Research Assistant to Professor Carliss Chatman.
What did you do for work this summer?
I worked as a judicial intern in the chambers of Judge Richard G. Latin of the Supreme Court of New York, Civil Term, N.Y. County.
How did you find/get this position?
I knew I wanted to work in a court the summer after my 1L year, so I researched courts in cities I was interested in and looked at where W&L students had worked in the past—which were tips provided by OCS (Office of Career Strategy). Judges are old school and prefer paper applications, but I ran out of stamps, and I did send out a few as email attachments (including the one to Judge Latin). I had an interview over the phone and received an offer in the same conversation! Another student had interned in Judge Latin’s chambers the previous summer, and I felt lucky I was able to ask her about the position before I accepted.
Describe your work experience.
I did a variety of activities, mostly writing memos on motions before the court, watching settlement conferences, and conducting comparative research on settlements and jury verdicts. The issues involved mostly torts – slip and falls, negligence, and vicarious liability – with a couple cases involving contract breaches like lost wages or provision violations, and one that involved income-based discrimination. I also practiced drafting a decision on a petition to stay an arbitration. It was a great experience because I was able to practice many of the skills I had developed over the past year.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
This summer provided the chance to work on collaborative writing projects. In our 1L writing class we complete mostly individual assignments until the end of the year when we have the option to co-write an appellate brief. Over the summer, I worked with another law student intern to research and write memos, and once they were completed, we would talk through our thought process with the supervising law clerk. This was a helpful exercise because as a practicing lawyer you will always be working with others, whether collaborating on a document or simply editing each other’s work.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
I was surprised to learn about the differences between a state and federal court system. The basics are the same as we learn in Federal Civil Procedure, but I quickly found out that each court system does things differently. My chambers, for example, tended to be less strict about procedural deadlines because they wanted every party to have an opportunity to make their case. The supervising law clerk emphasized this would not fly in federal court, but state court can be more lenient.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
It was my first time working in a court and so everything was exciting to me for the first few weeks! We spend a year reading about cases and in Civil Procedure learning how a trial works, so I appreciated seeing these things play out in front of me. I also really enjoyed working in a civil court because of the subject matter of the cases. I got to know the city through writing memos about the surprising nuances of life in New York City.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
Yes, kind of! I started school thinking I only wanted to do transactional work, but after this summer, I am now open to the idea of litigation. When I’m working, I prefer a fast-paced environment, like to try new things, and work on different projects at a time. After realizing I might have an interest in litigation and talking to practicing attorneys, I learned of hybrid practice areas that combine both types of work that might better match my preferred work environment.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
I found this job through the W&L network and so during the rest of my time here I hope to help any future student in their own job search, etc.! I’ve found both the student and alumni network to be very friendly, and it is something that makes our community special.
Outside of Law School
Love to play tennis or go on a jog!
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
Favorite thing to do in Lexington
Friday night wine tastings at Purveyors on Main.