10 Week Internship Experience at MSLG My name is Chongho Lee, a second-year student at UC College of Law, San Francisco. I had the privilege of interning at Marshall Suzuki Law Group (MSLG) as a 1L summer associate for a period of 10 weeks during the summer of 2023. This internship has been an unforgettable experience, which offered me fruitful insights into the legal profession and opportunities to utilize the legal knowledge that I learned in law school.
1. Learning Opportunities The greatest advantage that I had working as a summer associate at MSLG was that I was able to explore a myriad of legal fields. Since it was my first time working at a law firm, I was not certain what kind of law I wanted to practice in the future. One thing for sure was that I wanted to pursue a career in cross-national practice. MSLG was the ideal environment for me to initiate my legal career. At MSLG, I was able to experience both transactional and litigation work. I had an opportunity to conduct research for attorneys in assisting the client who was seeking to dissolve LLP. At the same time, I drafted an opposition to demurrer in the process of litigation. Moreover, I was able to deal with various clients, ranging from an individual seeking divorce to a Japanese corporation requesting a review of its contracts with American corporations. It was a great opportunity for me to draft memos and complaints for the ongoing litigation case. I would like to thank Junji Suzuki, a managing partner of the firm, who gave me a chance to participate in several client meetings and interact with clients. MSLG is well-known for attracting Japanese clients in the Bay Area. Having employees who are bilingual in English and Japanese, MSLG specializes in helping Japanese clients with limited knowledge of American legal backgrounds. Throughout my internship period, I was also highly involved in translating Japanese documents into English, which helped me to improve my Japanese language skills.
2. Mentorship At MSLG, I received unparalleled mentorship opportunities throughout my internship period. The attorneys and staff members I worked with generously shared not only their legal knowledge but also insights that I need to be successful at a law firm. Junji shared his experiences as an attorney and methods to succeed as an American attorney. Junji was always open to questions, and he always explained in detail about the legal background and facts that I should know to deal with clients. Ryosuke Togi, an attorney both licensed in Japan and California, taught me how attorneys manage time effectively and advised me to use a work hours tracker during my internship so that I could keep track of my billable hours toward the client in an accurate manner. In addition, since Ryosuke was also licensed in Japan, I learned a lot about how different the Japanese legal system functions compared to the American legal system.
3. Responsibilities and Work Assignments Throughout my internship, I was entrusted with a plethora of responsibilities that let me apply what I have learned in law school in practical contexts. During these 10 weeks, I drafted various documents, prepared trial exhibits, conducted legal research, and attended court proceedings. Getting involved in litigation works helped me to understand Civil Procedure, the class that I felt was the most difficult during my entire 1L year. In a defamation case, I assisted attorney Tomomi Arauchi in drafting an ex-parte application and in preparing for exhibits. In preparing these documents, I had a chance to directly communicate with the Japanese attorney who is cooperating with MSLG to discuss the strategy. During work, attorneys and staff members trusted me and were open to listening to my thoughts and opinions regarding the case. I would like to thank everyone who trusted my outputs and took my opinions into consideration in assisting clients.
4. Conclusion My internship at MSLG was a rewarding experience that inspired my passion for the legal profession. The wealth of knowledge and a network of professional connections I acquired during this 10-week internship would be an irreplaceable asset for me throughout my future career as a lawyer. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work as a summer associate at MSLG and am excited to continue my adventure in law with the invaluable knowledge that I acquired during my time at MSLG.
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