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Last summer Rachel Heron, 3L, interned with the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division Appellate Section in Washington, D.C. The internship lived up to all her expectations and she would highly recommend the experience to anyone who is interested in appellate work and enjoys legal research and writing. Her supervisor assigned only substantive work, the attorneys she worked with offered constructive feedback, and she had the opportunity to write full appellate briefs on a range of environmental issues.

Rachel’s supervisor did an excellent job of controlling her work flow, checking in regularly, and ensuring that Rachel always had interesting projects to work on. In general the projects Rachel worked on took from several days to a week to complete. After completing a draft of a memo or brief, Rachel had the opportunity to discuss her work with the attorneys at DOJ. Instead of editing her work directly, the attorneys would talk with Rachel about how to improve her work and let her make any necessary changes. The experience helped her to strengthen her legal research and writing skills. Rachel also enjoyed working with the other intern at the Appellate Section. They were able to bounce ideas off one another and help each other to organize their thoughts despite the fact that they worked on separate projects.

One of the highlights of Rachel’s experience was getting to observe moots. Rachel is doing an oral argument for the Environmental Law and Policy Clinic this term and found her internship experience helpful in preparing for her current work with the clinic. She particularly enjoyed watching how the attorneys responded to questions and learning what arguments were most persuasive.

The attorneys at the office were mild mannered and flexible about her work hours. In general she worked from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM each day and she only occasionally did work on the weekends. She was treated like new attorney at the office and given a great deal of responsibility right away. She would recommend taking Administrative Law, Environmental Law, or a course that covers the National Environmental Policy Act before pursuing the internship. In short, Rachel loved her experience and would recommend working at DOJ in general to anyone.

Written by OPIA 1L Section Representative Genevieve Parshalle