“A Foot in the Door:” Peabody & Arnold Summer Jobs Student Shares Her Experience


Alicia Zhang, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School, knew for sure last summer that her dream is to become an attorney. This summer, at Peabody & Arnold, she feels she is taking one step closer to that goal.

Whether the task at hand is observing a hearing in court or helping to rearrange the firm’s library, Alicia said spending time at Peabody & Arnold has helped her better understand workplace dynamics at an office job. While her previous experience working at a popular downtown café bustled with activity, this summer job has given her practical experience that she hopes to apply to her career someday, she said.

“Being in court is really different from what you see on TV,” she said. “It’s not as dramatic as I thought it would be. But I really feel like I am getting to learn more about the field of law.”

Alicia said she has fun working with the legal secretaries because she enjoys learning more about cases, especially trials, by reading the notes. The area of law to which she has had the most exposure to so far – insurance law – is not where she wants to focus in her own career, but Alicia said she has enjoyed getting to see the workings of the firm from a variety of perspectives.

“I like how I get to work for a lot of different departments, like human resources and accounting,” she said. “I definitely feel more comfortable than when I started with talking to people and asking what I can do to help.”

Alicia is headed to Washington University in St. Louis in the Fall, where she is considering majoring in psychology and international relations. She hopes that this will put her on the path to law school, something she learned more about at the first Summer Jobs Program enrichment seminar she attended two weeks ago. The session focused on the steps students typically take on their journey to the bar exam.

“[The seminar] was great because it really helped me create a loose track in my mind of what I want to do in college,” she said.

In her application, Alicia talked about how much personal meaning it held for her when she volunteered to assist Somali refugees in Maine last summer. The stories they told her, along with her own family’s story of pursuing the “American dream,” make her want to be a lawyer.

“Striving to serve others and provide them justice is extremely important,” she wrote. “My work this summer will be just a foot in the door into my future career. I hope someday I will completely cross that threshold.”