Rachel McDonald is a 2L Seton Hall Law student. During this past summer, she was a
legal intern at the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, Division of Law in
Newark, New Jersey. Next summer, Rachel will be a summer associate at Lowenstein Sandler
Did you enjoy working at the AG’s office?
Working at the AG’s office was a great experience. Being surrounded by so many attorneys
from diverse backgrounds doing different kinds of work for New Jersey is a great introduction
to the various areas of a legal career.
What is different about working at the AG’s office ?
An internship at the AG’s office, particularly in the summer, is very much treated
like a program. In addition to being assigned to a section and getting hands-on work
experience, the program includes an intern-led mock trial, training events hosted
by Deputy Attorney Generals covering topics such as E-discovery in social media and
legal writing workshops, as well as presentations from each section in the office
where they share how their work impacts New Jersey.
Did you work on any interesting projects over the summer?
The intern supervisors at the AG’s office are very supportive and prioritize making
the experience valuable. My section made it clear that they would not assign us busy
work and made sure to include me in the assignments they were currently working on.
A majority of my work included researching questions regarding the way professional
boards can operate and drafting corresponding memoranda. Also, my supervisors were
aware that I was interested in transactional work, so I was assigned drafting assignments
whenever they came up, such as consent orders for licensees to voluntarily give up
Did you have the opportunity to shadow an attorney at a deposition, court appearance,
or trial? If so, please elaborate on your experiences.
I worked in the Consumer Affairs Counseling section of the Division of Law. This section
is the only one in the Division of Law that does not deal with litigation, but rather
counsels professional boards of NJ. I attended board meetings and hearings in which
my section’s attorneys counseled the medical and nursing boards on the proper ways
to reprimand licensees. However, all interns were invited to reach out to the other
sections in the office if they were interested in different work and wanted to shadow
any trials those sections were working on.
Did working at the AG’s office help you make decisions about what you wanted to do
with your legal career?
I have always known that I wanted to do transactional work for corporate law, but
working at the AG’s office has been a great experience in developing my legal research
and writing skills, as well as broadening my understanding of the pressing legal matters
in NJ. Although the work I did this summer will likely be different than what I do
post-graduation, the skills and knowledge I have acquired from this experience are
How was your experience in applying for big law jobs during your 1L summer? Any tips
for the current 1L class for next year?
Apply early! Have your resume, cover letters, and working list of where you want to
apply ready to go while waiting to get spring final grades back. Start applying to
places as soon as you can, as several big firms in both New Jersey and New York City
fill many of their spots before Fall Recruitment begins and/or the summer ends.
Reach out to people who have had the clerk/intern positions you want. You can meet
attorneys at school-hosted networking events, and you can ask OCS which current students
were summer associates at the places you are interested in. I spoke with more than
three people who had worked at both my 1L summer internship and my 2L summer job.
Talking to these people helped me better understand what the job would be like, and
I think this helped me stand out in the interviews because I was very informed about
the employer and the program and I demonstrated the initiative I took in researching
the job and how interested I was in working there.
In interviews, leverage the skills component of Lawyering, such as negotiations and
counseling a client. During my 2L summer interviews, I also highlighted the experience
I had from my other 1L internship as corporate in-house counsel. Since I applied for
transactional work at law firms, I emphasized the related work I was already doing,
such as drafting contracts and lease agreements. Firms don’t expect students to be
experienced enough to come in and know everything and just start working, but it definitely
helps if you can showcase you have experience and a working knowledge of some of the
matters you could be assigned.
What are your plans for 2L year?
I am excited to start taking electives and choosing classes that interest me and relate
to transactional and corporate law. I am also looking forward to getting more involved
in the organizations at school, as I am a board member for a few clubs and would like
to be a mentor and resource to new students.