1) My internship was through Manley Deas Kochalski, LLC (MDK) which is a default litigation law firm located in Columbus, Ohio. Throughout this internship, I learned the inner workings of the legal process through creating affidavits to go to court, I handled documents and sorted mail for courts, and I would keep our clients up to date on the progress in their cases.
2) MDK transformed the way I viewed the legal process in a few different ways. I was unaware that law firms with larger case loads had many employees doing the background work for the lawyers. I was also unaware of how long it can take for cases to be adjudicated and closed, because of factors like active military statuses, and bankruptcy to name a few. I also learned a lot about foreclosure and bankruptcy, because those are the two main areas of default litigation MDK deals with.
MDK also helped me to see a different side of myself. I was put in a professional environment, which I had never experienced before, and I was able to thrive. Professional environments are much different than regular college life, I had to dress professionally, and think carefully about what I could say and talk about in a professional setting. Even things like emails have to be professional, which makes sense looking back on it, but I was unaware of how many things change once you enter into a professional environment. Also, I realized that I have the ability to pay attention to detail and ask good questions when I’m learning new things, and I’m good at finding mistakes in the cases.
3) During the first few weeks of my internship, I had to go through a lot of new-hire training and orientation-type activities. MDK has a team of people in charge of making the training videos that are custom for our firm and the programs we use to sort through our cases and everything that goes into them. The trainings of course included videos on “Effective Professional Communication” which go into detail on how, and how not to interact with coworkers. These videos detailed things like not putting emoticons in emails, always using full words and not abbreviations (even if they are firm abbreviations), and to always set up voicemail and email reminders on the days you will be out of the office. All of those seemingly unimportant details can make a big difference on how coworkers view you and your professionalism, which I took to heart. In my 6-week review with my boss, she noted how professional I had been in my correspondences and my attire and she was pleasantly surprised how quickly I rose to the standards of the firm.
I noticed my ability to pay attention to little details while working on some of the more time-sensitive pieces of work. One of my jobs is to check the military status of all defendants in our cases to make sure they are not active-military members or dependents, as they are afforded some extra protections when it comes to default litigation. In these cases, I would prepare military affidavits stating that the defendants are not active-military, and I would have to sign my name, taking responsibility for any mistakes that may be in the document or case up to this point, which is a lot of pressure. This would make me check and double-check all the details so that I could ensure that there were no mistakes.
The legal process for default litigation can be lengthy because there are countless things that can go wrong in a case, like a defendant filing bankruptcy- which means that the case has to be put on hold until the bankruptcy is resolved, which can take years. Before I worked in a legal setting, the only experience I had had with the legal process was in TV where the cases were tried and wrapped up in a single episode of a show and other things like that, but that is not reality. I took the internship with MDK because I thought I wanted to go to law school after graduation, but I started having second thoughts a couple months into my job there. I realized that while many cases are different, the work can be monotonous and dull. I enjoyed my coworkers and friendships I made, but I believe that seeing the real legal process was the most valuable experience I could have attained with regards to what career I want to pursue after I graduate.
4) This transformation was significant to my future because I realized that law school is not for me. I am not completely sure that a career in law is something I would enjoy. I have had to do a lot of thinking about my future and what kind of career I want to pursue because for the longest time, I though law school was the only thing for me after completing my undergraduate degree. My future plans have changed from wanting to be an attorney, to wanting to work for the federal government, and helping the country in a more wide-scale way. The internship at MDK is an experience that I will not regret because I had a lot of fun and got to learn about myself and my future, while gaining valuable experience and professional insights.