Two bright students, two very different paths to the law: for the third consecutive year, Goodwin Procter is hosting two students this summer as they learn about what law firm life is really like.
The students tell their stories about how they came to be interested in the law with enthusiasm. “I was actually born in Europe, in Albania,” explains Nensi Gjata, a student at Boston Latin School. “When we came over to the United States, we had to go through the immigration process, and that’s when I got my first dose of the legal system here. It got me interested in immigration law specifically.”
Kevin Truong, also a BLS student, cheerfully notes that he was born and raised in the Boston area, but has an equally engaging story to tell: “My parents are trying to build a new house. They bought the land for it and are working on starting the building, and we’re seeing the legal ramifications and intricacies firsthand. I’m interested in studying the law so I can try to understand and help with this process.”
The students have very personal connections to the legal system, and there’s no better place to learn about it than Goodwin Procter, one of the largest law firms in the city and the original office of the now-international firm. The students are splitting their time between the Conflicts department and Court Procedures department – Nensi currently in the former, while Kevin spends time in the latter – and will be switching shortly.
What have they done so far? “It’s not all Law & Order!” Nensi laughs. “There’s a lot more that happens behind the scenes – it’s not just litigation. I’m working on digitally filing certain client forms so that they’re more readily available for the attorneys in the office.” Kevin details his trips to the different courthouses with filings for the administrative offices, calling the experience “eye-opening.”
Each task that they complete is a smaller part of a much larger whole, their supervisor Edie Fedder, Human Resources Specialist at Goodwin, adds. “They’re zeroed in on these projects, and what they don’t see yet is that they’re actively helping Goodwin to reach its goals and initiatives. The work they’re doing is really necessary.”
Fedder notes that a summer job like those that are offered through the Summer Jobs Program might be a student’s first professional experience, and that Goodwin is an eager participant in the program to help the students jumpstart their careers and build their resumes. She hopes that their summer jobs will give them exposure to the experience of working in a law firm and help them to gain insight about their career paths, regardless of whether it leads to the legal profession or not.
The jury is still out on that, so to speak – after all, while they’re both interested in the law, Nensi and Kevin are still in high school and just starting to think about college. But they know that what they have gained already over this summer will have a huge effect on how they approach their future professional lives. “It’s been very eye-opening,” Kevin says. “And you can’t just do the tasks without understanding them. When I go to the courts, I have to know what the documents are, what they mean, and what the process is before bringing a case to court, in case the court office asks questions.”
Nensi agrees that the experience has changed the way she perceives the legal field. “This experience with the law is definitely different from what I expected. When I’m doing my work, I can hear some of the conversations the attorneys are having – it’s so complex. With my own work, I’ve really learned patience and diligence.”
And there’s so much more to learn.