NDLS offers many great externship opportunities that enable students to get out of the classroom and experience different practice areas and work environments. One such experience is the Notre Dame Law in DC Externship, which allows students to work four days per week in federal government-related positions including federal agencies, executive branch offices, congressional offices and committees, federal courts and non-profit groups engaged in policy research or advocacy. To delve further into what students participating in the Notre Dame Law in DC Externship get to do, I spoke with rising 3L Bo Beaugez, who externed at FINRA last semester.
KMB: Tell me about your experience externing in DC?
BB: I was really excited to participate in the law in DC program last semester. Unlike some of the other students in the class, I had significant experience in DC. I had interned there for three summers and I worked there full-time for two years before law school. I was intimately familiar with the city and legal profession there, and was excited to get back there. I considered it home.
I started out working for the SEC. The government shutdown derailed my plans so I had to scramble to find a new placement and I ended up at FINRA. That was a great experience. I enjoyed it more than my previous summer at the SEC.
I got to do exciting work and work on complex investigations. There was a ton of writing, which I was excited about, and the classes I took were phenomenal.
KMB: Which classes did you take?
BB: I took Law and Media, which was taught by a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. I took the DC seminar, which all DC externship participants take. I took one class over video, Advanced Legal Research: Food and Beverage Law.
KMB: Tell me more about your experience in the seminar.
BB: The seminar is an interesting class. A lot of the time, we speak about our experiences at our placements, difficulties we’re facing, and projects we’re working on. It’s mostly discussion based. We also write a series of memos over the course of the semester based on our readings, class discussions, and what we’re working on in our placements.
KMB: Why did you want to work at the SEC/FINRA? Are you hoping to build your career in those areas?
BB: My career is up in the air. I went into the program thinking that I wanted to do securities litigation work in DC. As of now, I am not working in DC. I am in Delaware for the summer and I won’t be doing any securities litigation. It’s undecided whether I will pursue that or whether my career will take me elsewhere.
KMB: Why did you decide to pursue firm work in Delaware this summer as opposed to DC?
BB: I struck out at OCI in DC and Delaware was my second choice but I am in my first week of the summer and I love it here so far so maybe it should have been my first choice.
KMB: Why are you liking the work in Delaware so much?
BB: The people are great. I am primarily staffed in bankruptcy and that is a really interesting area of law I knew nothing about. I have already gone to court once and will go again tomorrow.
KMB: Would you recommend externships to other students?
BB: Definitely. As far as the DC program is concerned, I would only recommend it to students who are interested in working in DC because of the networking benefits. Last semester, I was able to get lunch with a former boss, a partner at a law firm, and another associate at a law firm who used to work at my current firm so the program is tailored to students who want to be in DC and reap the networking benefits.
KMB: Was it nice to get out of the classroom for a little while?
BB: One of my motivating factors for doing the program was to get out of South Bend for the winter. I grew up in Florida and last winter in South Bend was miserable. DC doesn’t exactly have a great winter but it has a more tolerable winter than South Bend. Also, I prefer working to being in class. I think that I learn best by doing and I think a lot of students would agree with me. It’s more engaging to be working on matters rather than staring at a book 8-10 hours a day.
If you want to be in DC and you want to be working rather than studying, definitely do the program.
If you’re interested in pursuing a DC Externship, contact
ND Law in DC Coordinator, Beth Ferrettie, firstname.lastname@example.org.