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Summer Experience: Mariya Denisenko ’24L Mariya Denisenko worked as a summer associate at Sidley Austin’s Chicago office.

DSCF6741_websize-800x533 Summer Experience: Mariya Denisenko '24LMariya Denisenko ’24L

Mariya Denisenko is a third-year law student at Washington and Lee and is originally from Chicago, Illinois. She is an active member of the W&L community, serving as a Managing Editor of the W&L Law Review, the Treasurer of Law Families, and a Research Assistant for Professor Reid Flinn. This past summer she was a summer associate at Sidley Austin’s Chicago office. After law school, she plans to return to Chicago to start her legal career.

What did you do for work this summer?

I was a summer associate at Sidley Austin. I mostly worked with the Healthcare group and a bit with the Environmental practice group.

How did you find/get this position?

Early on in my 1L summer I talked with Dean Jarrett about firms that I was considering applying to. He was very helpful and provided me with a list of W&L alumni to contact that worked at each respective firm. I connected with Larry Barden, who is the chair emeritus of Sidley’s Managing Committee, to learn more about the firm. From there, I was able to interview with the firm.

Describe your work experience.

All summer associates had the opportunity to take on assignments from a wide variety of practice groups. Because I knew that I had a specific interest in healthcare, I chose to take on most of my work from the healthcare group. I participated in a variety of projects including compliance interviews, analyzing potential administrative and constitutional challenges to recent legislation, and drafting due diligence documents reflecting regulatory changes.

What were some skills you developed this summer?

Some skills I focused on over the course of the summer included refining my research and writing, especially with regard to finding niche answers to complex legal issues in emerging law.

What surprised you about the work you did this summer?

I was surprised at how collaborative the work environment was. Everyone was open to answering questions and taking the time to make sure I understood the assignment and the greater legal implications of the work I was doing.

What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?

I loved getting the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects that were representative of the work a lawyer in the healthcare regulatory space does daily.

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

I came into law school with an interest in the healthcare field and with hopes to practice in this field after graduation. However, I was cautious and wanted to make sure I exposed myself to other experiences to see if I would change my mind. My summer at Sidley solidified my interest in healthcare law and made me confident that this line of work is what I would like to pursue after graduation.

How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?

Over the summer I realized that being a healthcare lawyer requires some knowledge of various legal fields. This means that I will likely be taking a tax course and/or some securities regulation courses in the spring after I finish up my fall externship program!

Outside of Law School


Hiking, cooking, traveling whenever I get the chance.

Book/Podcast Recommendation

Armchair Expert, specifically the Armchair Anonymous episodes if you’re looking for a good laugh.

Favorite things to do in Lexington

Visit local farms, workout at Rockbridge Barbell, and visit the Red Hen for a meal.