2L Lesley Smith discusses her summer internship at Williams, a Tulsa-based Fortune 200 energy company.
I could not have asked for a better 1L summer. This summer I interned in the legal department at Williams; the summer was fast-paced, busy, and full of learning opportunities. During my first year of law school I learned to “think like a lawyer.” At Williams, I learned how to think like an in-house lawyer. Being in-house requires another level of thinking—its anticipatory and preemptive—rather than responsive. Working in house this summer has allowed me to become more of a strategic thinker—learning to anticipate possible legal issues before they occur and preparing for plans A-Z.
I worked alongside attorneys in each practice group at Williams with the corporate secretary, corporate, records management, employment, and midstream groups. With the varied assignments I received, strategic thinking was key. The true learning came from balancing the needs and wants of the client and understanding any possible legal ramifications. My research and interpretation thereof was relied upon for decisions that were vital to the company.
I had to be client focused. While a twelve-page research memorandum was necessary to understand all of the legal ramifications the client needed a more workable product. The client needed to understand what steps needed to be taken for implementation and an estimate of how long each step would take. The product the client needed was something concise yet thorough. This real-world training is what will help me in my future career.
Aside from my projects, I was also able to attend the annual shareholders’ meeting and the preparation meeting for analysts’ day with the president of the company and other senior level executives. I even presented to the general counsel and assistant general counsels.
I had no clue what to expect each day as I exited the elevator on the 47th floor but the experiences and relationships from this summer will without a doubt be key to my future success.