At last Thursday’s Summer Jobs Program graduation ceremony, David Lozano, a rising senior at Boston Latin Academy and intern at Nixon Peabody, spoke to students, parents and firm representatives about his summer experience. David’s speech was so good, and embodies the spirit of the Summer Jobs Program so well, that Beyond the Billable felt compelled to run it in full.
Here’s what David had to say:
“When I went into this job at the beginning of the summer, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Part of me was hoping for some exciting criminal justice stuff, part of me was thinking about long hours of boring paperwork, and somewhere I knew that I wasn’t going to get anything I expected either. I was also really nervous at the prospect of working in a professional office setting for the first time, especially one as prestigious as that of my host firm, Nixon Peabody. It’s pretty safe to say I had a lot of questions – what do I wear? What kind of work will I be doing? How will I interact with my coworkers? What kinds of standards will I be held to, what kind of stuff will I be able to experience here?
Once I started work, I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Once I got the hang of how to operate in this new environment, the actual work I got was another challenge in itself. There were some days where all I had to do was assemble a several-thousand page closing binder for a public works system. There were some days where I was able to head down to the Bulger trial itself with some of the summer associates at my firm and hear some of the funniest and most absolutely terrifying stories that you’d be hard-pressed to find the likes of in a work of fiction. That was the kind of stuff I was expecting. But, man, I did so much more.
The sheer variety of work involved in the legal profession absolutely captivated me, and I shortly found myself doing more work than I ever had inside of school and having more fun, to boot. Every assignment I got was a chance to discover something new. Even work coming out of the same department could be strikingly diverse – take the patent lawyers as an example. From dishwashers to x-ray machines from the 80’s, that place covers everything. I also spent time researching video games for an intellectual property case, I spent time revising and organizing trusts and wills dealing with more money than I’ve ever seen in my life. I rushed to put together sets of binders that would be used in a real courtroom that same evening, dealing with malpractice and real estate law, family trees, zoning policy and the fastest route from Downtown Crossing to the superior court. The amount of things I was exposed to this summer is nothing to sneeze at, and kept me constantly interested in the cases themselves, not just what I was doing with them. With this kind of work – especially research, which I’ve been doing a lot of – it is impossible not to learn something new every day, on anything and everything related to the topic at hand.
I’ve learned so much this year, and gained truly valuable experience of the legal field and what it’s really about. The work I’ve done over the past month or two will prove extremely useful to me in the future, whether I do end up pursuing a career in the legal field or not. Thanks to this job, I’ve had the opportunity to see what a typical workplace looks like and have time there well before I go to work for good. I’ve gained a better understanding of the legal process: how complex it is, how a firm works, how the court system works and some of the problems and brilliancies that come with it. I’ve learned why companies sue in an intellectual property case, in what ways a will needs to be updated as your position in life changes, and how fascinating and intense high-profile trials can become. Just as importantly, I’ve learned how to coexist with your co-workers, how to manage your time so you always come out ready and on top, and, y’know, how to tie a tie in under thirty seconds. From efficient alphabetization to the neighborhood politics of Back Bay, the things I’ve had a chance to learn about during my time in this program are going to stay with me for a long time in life – and some of them will be useful to me no matter where I choose to work, some of them even more useful to me as a future lawyer, and some not useful at all but still interesting and significant to my education as a whole.
Thanks to the Boston Bar Association and Nixon Peabody, and all the amazing, dedicated people I met there from the mail rooms to the corner offices, I’m going into my senior year with skills that some only acquire after college, experience that is usual for second-year law students, and I’m very grateful for that chance. I sincerely hope that this program can continue and keep giving kids like me and all my fellow students in the audience this kind of chance to make money, learn, and excel.”