What You Need to Know
- Nineteen students are participating in the Association of Corporate Counsel Greater Philadelphia's Diversity Internship program.
- Programs like this give interns an advantage by learning the client side of the law.
- Interns in this program end up doing a good amount of contracting work.
The Association of Corporate Counsel Greater Philadelphia’s annual diversity internship program allows new law students to have an understanding of client needs, as they also work on the basic skills required of practicing lawyers.
Now in its 14th year, the ACC GP diversity internship program has 19 law students working as summer interns for 18 companies this year, said Laura Bautista, member of the Board of Directors and co-chair of the Diversity Internship Program Committee at ACC GP. The program runs from June 7 to July 30.
The companies that took on interns this year are Wawa Inc.; Saint-Gobain Corp.; Unisys Corp.; Bancroft NeuroHealth; Pilot Freight Services; Lockton Re LLP; American Water; Cigna; Teleflex Inc.; Venerable; TE Connectivity; AmerisourceBergen Corp.; Exelon Corp.; Toll Brothers; PJM Interconnection LLC; Fanatics Inc.; and Chesapeake Utilities Corp.
Last year, all of the interns in the program were working remotely. This year, Bautista explained ACC GP left it up to the companies to determine if interns worked remotely or went into an office. Some are working from home, some remotely and others have a hybrid work setting.
Despite the pandemic, the work the interns are assigned has not changed. Bautista, who also serves as Associate Counsel at Vanguard in Malvern, Pennsylvania, said the work interns do varies by company, although much of it is routine contract work.
“Historically, the interns have seen a lot of research, writing and contracts-based work. These types of projects are good for first- and second-year law students, as they get them acquainted with some of the basic skills required of practicing lawyers,” said Bautista.
An opportunity like this gives young law students a unique understanding of what clients are looking for in their counsel.
“Those companies are going to be similar to the clients you might serve if you went to a law firm. It helps you see the legal questions from both sides and be able to provide clients with practical legal advice,” Bautista said.
“It allows you to be able to differentiate yourself from someone who hasn’t had that hands-on practical experience yet,” she added.
The defined criteria for those who could apply are 1L and 2L law students who have overcome substantial obstacles in the pursuit of a legal career, or who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession. That can be based on race, ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ+ status, disability or economic status.
Students submitted a personal essay, transcripts and a letter of recommendation for the application process. Bautista said the Selection Committee paid a lot of attention to personal essays. The application process for this year is closed and applications for next year have not opened yet.
“It is their opportunity to tell us about any obstacles they overcame in pursuing their legal career or as a member of a group traditionally underrepresented in the legal field and what they hope to gain from the experience,” Bautista explained.
Companies that participate must pledge to give interns an in-house work experience, Bautista said. They also must agree to pay the interns $7,500 for the course of the internship. For companies participating for the first time, ACC GP will give them a $2,500 stipend so they only have to pay interns $5,000.
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