For the 25th year, the Boston Bar Association welcomed students this week for the Kickoff of our Summer Jobs Program, which gives Boston Public Schools students the opportunity to work at a law firm, legal services organization or government office for the summer. Over the course of 25 years, the Boston Bar has connected more than 1,000 students with a meaningful seven-week internship. This year’s group of 36 students will work at 31 offices all over the city.
At the Kickoff event, student interns sat with their supervisors and learned about the importance of making connections with others and how to cultivate impactful relationships.
Adriana Jean-Louis, a summer jobs alumnus who is now a senior at UMass Dartmouth, spoke about her experience interning at WilmerHale, a firm that has been hiring youth interns for over two decades. In the days leading up to her summer job, she was nervous and intimidated, unsure of what to wear or what her responsibilities at work would be. By the time the internship ended, she had developed a rapport with her supervisor and the attorneys in her office. Today, as a successful student and representative in the student government at UMass Dartmouth, Jean-Louis says the program helped her understand the “power and importance of relationships.” She also learned to present herself with confidence and embrace taking positive risks necessary to achieve her goals.
“My advice would just be to work toward being the best you can,” she said.
Lily Kelly, a recent graduate of Boston Latin School headed to Boston University in the Fall, will participate in her second internship through the Summer Jobs Program with Holland & Knight this summer. She also spoke at the Kickoff, emphasizing the importance of good communication as a stepping stone to creating meaningful connections with colleagues and building trust.
“To get the most out of your job, you have to make an effort to put yourself out there and build relationships, and in order to do that, you have to learn to communicate well,” she said.
As her team began to see her abilities and put faith in her work product, Kelly began to receive engaging research projects from the attorneys she worked with at Holland & Knight. She is looking forward to returning to the office and working with her supervisor, Sparkle Calhoun and mentor, Meredeth Beers.
Anne Bowie, WilmerHale’s Public Service Manager, reminded students that they are all capable of success, and that everyone – no matter their age or experience level – relies on others for help. When she asked everyone in the room, including lawyers and law firm professionals, to raise their hand if they had achieved professional success without any assistance, there were no hands in the air.
With that, Bowie introduced Daniel Horgan from MENTOR: The National Mentoring Partnership. Horgan led the students and supervisors through a series of hands-on activities. Each one zeroed in on a specific component of meeting and getting to know another person. Horgan frequently turned back to the metaphor of people as “icebergs.” Limited information is available at face value, but the real heart of a person lies in the experiences that are under the surface.
Some students acknowledged the awkwardness of sharing personal information with new acquaintances, and many of Horgan’s practical tips focused on the best ways to naturally draw people out over the course of a conversation.
“You’ll notice the questions you feel comfortable asking, and the information you’re sharing, get progressively deeper. You get more comfortable opening up with practice and opportunities,” he said.
Horgan intended the exercises to demonstrate to the student interns that their existing drive and passion will be amplified if they reach out to their colleagues and use them for support. Likewise, the students’ supervisors for the summer will grow as mentors and will provide the best support through compassion and listening. Horgan stressed that everyone has their own talents and strengths that are best utilized in conjunction with others’ differing strengths. The employee-supervisor relationship is constantly evolving and Horgan’s training left the crowd more aware of how deeply impactful their interactions over the next seven weeks can be and the knowledge that they each have something unique they bring to their relationships.
The Boston Bar would like to thank WilmerHale for their sponsorship of the Kickoff and all of the wonderful speakers for their time. We look forward to another enriching year for our students.
Stay updated throughout the summer by visiting us here at Beyond the Billable and reading about the students’ weekly enrichment seminars and what they’ve been up to at work.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Summer Jobs Program or the work of MENTOR and their local affiliate, Mass Mentoring Partnership, please email Cassandra Shavney at [email protected].