Isabella Smith

Adventures in Employment - Isabella Smith

Adventures in Employment - Isabella Smith

Isabella Smith is a 3L student at Seton Hall Law.  She has participated in two different externships during her time at the Law School, working at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in the Transit Division.  After graduation, Belle will be clerking for The Honorable Jeffrey Jablonski, J.S.C.

Can you talk a little about each internship and what you did there? 
At the Port Authority, I was assigned to three separate attorneys, and I was able to split my time between the litigation and transactional departments.  Each of these attorneys gave me various assignments, whether it be researching for a brief or editing contracts and leases for the PA, just to provide a couple of examples.  While this was a partially remote position, I liked going into the office and seeking work with attorneys other than the ones I was assigned to. I wanted to learn as much as I could, as each attorney there has different skills and specialties that they have for their positions.

I also was an intern in the Attorney General NJ Transit Division during my 2L spring. There, I worked with all the DAGs in the department and they each gave me different things to work on. Since this was during the semester, I had some long-term research projects, as well as quick assignments, to assist the attorneys with their daily work. In both of these positions, I wrote various memos as well.

What types of environmental law were you exposed to while you worked in these two jobs? 
With a background in Industrial and Systems Engineering, I have always had a strong interest in transportation and the way it affects the environment around us, which is why I was drawn to these positions. While both of these positions were not focused on environmental law solely, both experiences were environmentally adjacent and had unique legal positions being government and quasi-government agencies.

The Port Authority is committed to the sustainability of infrastructure, which is directly affected by environmental impacts. I was able to work with various engineers who consulted on these environmental issues. Much of the environmental issues had to deal with the storage of materials or property disputes.

At NJ Transit, I worked on various cases that all dealt with the environmental issues that are inherent to this area of New Jersey. I was exposed to the process of environmental clean-ups and the process and litigation that can ensue. I researched a lot of property disputes related to environmental clean-ups, as well as various federal environmental issues.

What was your favorite assignment/observation/activity that you did in each internship?
The Port Authority organized a trip for us to tour one of the roll-on/roll-off boats which was an amazing experience and a personal favorite. Growing up in the area and seeing these massive cargo ships pass by daily and, knowing how they affect our worldwide commerce, I had always wanted to see how these large cargo ships functioned.  Being able to tour one made the whole experience immensely worthwhile.

At the AG NJ Transit office, I really enjoyed getting to work on the property disputes that occurred, as the way property law intertwines with environmental law has always interested me. I loved getting to know and work with all the attorneys there and learn about their different careers and life paths.

When did you participate in the internships (what semesters) and when did you look for/get the jobs? 
I worked for the Port Authority during my 1L summer, and I got this position through the NYU Public Interest Law Fair. I had known that I did not want to do a judicial internship at the time, so the timeline was a bit after everyone had secured their judicial clerkships.

I worked for NJ Transit as an extern during the spring semester of my 2L year. I applied when an email came from OCS for Attorney General externships; however, I knew that I wanted to specifically work in the NJ Transit division with my interests and background, and I was grateful to be able to have this opportunity.

What advice do you have for other students who are looking for internships? 
Having an externship is an amazing experience! You get to work in an actual office and see the things you are learning about come to life in the law. It also helps you determine what type of office you want to work in going forward and exposes you to different types of law to help you determine what you have an interest in. Plan and make sure you are able to do these externships! I did two back-to-back externships during my 2L fall and spring which is not the norm and, while these were amazing experiences, it does take a lot of time management to do this successfully! While working at the positions make sure to connect with the attorneys you work with and don't be afraid to ask questions if you need guidance!