From clerkships to clinical assistantships to working as summer
associates at firms, summer legal work helps students gain practical
skills and experiences that benefit them during law school and beyond.
This is the second profile in a series featuring the summer job experience
of UW Law students. Find more profiles in our Summer Job Series.
Jason Sanders '14
Summer Associate, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.
Describe your summer work experience.
Typically, attorneys and shareholders would sit down with you and explain the matter at hand. They would talk you through the case and the problems, describing what we already know. Then they isolate an area of the case where there is a question we have not answered yet, and your job is to go find the answer (or, in some cases, order a list of likely answers).
What has surprised you about the work you are doing?
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I went to law school because I suspected I would be good at it. Discovering that associate work is essentially "here's a puzzle, now go solve it, or tell me the different ways that someone could solve it" was spectacular, because I'm the sort of person who is genuinely intrigued by (and legitimately enjoys) puzzles. Also, everyone at Godfrey & Kahn was spectacular, which wasn't necessarily surprising, but they broke the mold of my expectations for what life is like at a larger law firm, and in a good way.
How do you think this work experience will shape the rest of your time at UW Law School?
My summer work experience opened my mind to how interesting many areas of the law can be. Prior to working, I hadn't really considered whether I'd be interested in labor and employment law, or antitrust law, or securities law - but once I got my hands dirty working with those areas, I found them interesting and enjoyable. After working, I will definitely be pursuing study in some of those topics, and I'll keep a much more open mind about the vast array of possible practice areas.
What classes have been particularly useful in preparing you for the work you are doing this summer?
Rather than a particular class, I would say that paying attention to the various ways our professors consider legal questions made me a much more effective summer associate. For example, I would listen to an assigning shareholder discuss the case and the problem and think, "Okay, he builds arguments a lot like Professor Alexander does," or "She is essentially playing ping-pong, arguing her way through this problem rapid-fire from both sides, so you need to write for her like you would write for Professor Church or Professor Sidel."
Submitted by Law School News on May 13, 2015