Doing Work that Makes Me Feel Like a Lawyer

by Thomas Webb
Week 6

With another week down, the summer is more than half over already! It feels like just yesterday that we were all arriving in Orlando for orientation. Since then, a lot has happened—no wonder time feels like a blur.

This past week was a shorter one because of the July 4th holiday, but there was no shortage of things to do. The week started with probably my most involved writing assignment to date. I was tasked with writing a Motion for Leave and a subsequent Reply to a Response that opposing counsel had filed with the court.

While everything I am assigned is legal work, writing the Reply was by far the assignment that made me feel most like a lawyer. First, I had to read opposing counsel’s Response and pull out all of the arguments and case law used to substantiate their positions. Then, I had to read all of those cases and decide the best way to distinguish them from the facts in our case. Finally, I actually had to sit down and write the Reply. In writing the Reply, I responded to each of opposing counsel’s arguments and showed why their cited cases do not have any relevance to the factual scenario presented in our case.

I say that writing the Reply made me feel like a lawyer not because I was drafting a document that would be filed with the court, but because of the experience of actually sitting down and doing the work. This was an issue that I did not know anything about and was a type of filing that I had never written before. There was a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt. But, I knew that if I did the research, read other filed Replies, spoke with other attorneys, and trusted myself, that I would be fine. And, of course . . . I was fine despite all of the associated anxiety with doing something new and confusing. It seems like, at least as a young attorney, there are a lot of situations that will be completely new to you and that you will have to overcome by putting in the work. This is why I say that I felt most like an attorney after finishing this assignment.

In addition to our weekly assignments, we also had the cross and direct-examination workshop led by Miami partners Scott Sarason and Suzanne Singer. For this workshop, we read deposition testimony from a real case and then prepared direct and cross-examinations for the respective witnesses. Each summer associate had the opportunity to do both a direct and a cross and also play the witness being questioned. After each examination, Scott and Suzanne provided tailored feedback to the summer associates and offered helpful tidbits throughout the workshop. This was a great experience that gave us a preview of our upcoming mock trial. I can’t wait to put together everything we have learned in the workshops and try them out in the mock trial!

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