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Sreya Bhattaru – My Experience

Sreya Bhattaru – My Experience

Clerk

Fall 2020 Intern

Senior at Baylor University

Philosophy and Political Science

Week 1- September 14

First week jitters certainly do exist! I was extremely nervous and excited to start the week. However, many of my colleagues were able to help me quickly transition and adapt. 

Task(s):

My first task was assigned by Megan, one of the paralegals. It was to create a memo for inside-company use. As a philosophy major, I wasn’t necessarily taught the basics of LLCs and corporations and so this was certainly a learning experience for me. However, I did really enjoy getting to learn more about the firm’s role in helping LLCs dissolve their companies in order to change locations. Overall, I really thought that this project was a great introduction to the nature of the work that L&M does. 

My second task which I quickly learned is more of a semester-long project was given by Feras. It was to read up on the firm’s website in order to prepare for Feras’s online business book. It was interesting to say the least! I really didn’t realize how informative the website’s articles are, especially in adhering to one of the firm’s principles of educating their clients. It was certainly a great way for me to familiarize myself better with both the firm, as well as the business side of the law.

Advice:

Do not assume. Ask as many questions as you need and make sure you receive enough direction to complete the job correctly. 

Also, don’t just do the bare minimum of what is expected. Venture to go above and beyond because you will learn more from that.

 

Week 2- September 21

This week was a lot busier than the last. I was given more tasks and there was still lots to learn about the firm and the legal field. However, I think that I am really starting to get into a good rhythm of completing the work and I am excited to keep learning more about the firm!

Task(s):

My first task was given by Megan. I was told to prepare a position on the legal ethics of concurrent representation. This task was right up my alley! As I am currently a philosophy major in college, I thought that this task really helped me to apply my knowledge of ethics in researching more about legal ethics which certainly helped in expanding my knowledge of ethics. Overall, I have been enjoying this subject as I find it also aiding my research process for my final honors thesis project for school. 

My second task was given by Lema. This task was to prepare a memo on a potential medical malpractice case. This case required special attention as it took a while to read through and understand the medical records and documents. As I do not have a medical background, there were certain medical terms and medical procedures that I was not aware of, so it did require me to do a little outside research. However, I found the process, while tedious at times, very interesting and I was quite satisfied with my end product. 

My third brief task was given by Megan. This was a quick and simple task of going through various legal documents for the firm and correcting/changing certain titles and dates to be reflective of the new business that the firm would be representing. This was a pretty fast task as it didn’t require any research or background information–rather it was to make Megan’s job run more efficiently.

Advice:

When in doubt: ask questions! I realize that I said something similar last week as well, but there were many instances of uncertainty this week, and something as simple as a brief video call was enough to save hours of endless worrying and precariousness. 

Work-life balance. This week I was given more tasks (which was great!). However, this meant that I had to learn to manage my time more efficiently. I had to learn to split up my days between my clerkship work, as well as school. It wasn’t easy, but taking the extra time to plan my days this week were really worth the effort! Because I mapped out and scheduled each hour of every day, I was able to manage my time more efficiently which allowed me to get all of my work done on time.

Week 3- September 28

This week overall wasn’t too bad. While the medical malpractice memo was quite time consuming, since I am starting to acclimate myself to the firm and the amount of work, this week wasn’t too bad. 

Task(s):

My first task was given by Lema which was to create a report on a potential medical malpractice suit. This was more so a continuation of last week’s report, but more detailed analysis was required. This assignment was a bit more time consuming as it required me to read through numerous medical records which forced me to learn certain medical terms and abbreviations which I wasn’t previously familiar with. However, I think that it was imperative that I start learning these medical terms now, for this will really help aid me for future prospective medical malpractice cases.

Advice:

In order to make sure I report on accurate information, I learned this week that I have to read, re-read, and re-read again before I can begin to piece together the bigger picture. 

While speed is important, accuracy is even more crucial so rather than trying to meet a certain deadline (although it’s always good to strive to meet deadlines), taking extra time to ensure accuracy is more important.

Week 4- October 5

This week I wasn’t able to accomplish as much as I would have wanted, but I learned the importance of communication and prioritization.

Task(s):

My first task was given by Megan and Feras via Lema. It was to create an article for client use, discussing business scams and how to avoid them. This article did require some research as I was not well aware of business scams, but the documents/resources that Lema and Megan provided me with were very helpful. 

My second task was given by Megan. This was a continuation of the concurrent representation memo that I drafted during week 2. I was instructed to do further research into how to effectively represent two different parties in one contract. This project will carry on into next week due to my limited availability this week, but I am excited to learn more about the legal ethics of concurrent representation and what the firm does to uphold these ethics. I am also thrilled to learn more about the transactional law aspect to the firm. 

Thirdly, I was able to attend my first meeting with a client! I was so delighted that Lema asked me to join in on a conversation between her and a client so that I can gain experience in client interaction and how to effectively communicate with the client.

Advice:

Determining priorities is important! This week, as I had to take the LSATs, I wasn’t able to prioritize my firm work over studying/preparing so, I realized that creating priorities and following through with them are important in order to efficiently multitask and not neglect all my important duties. 

Communicate well with your higher ups! When Megan gave me an assignment earlier this week, as I had to take the LSATs, I wouldn’t have had ample time to complete the task, and so communicating this to her was both professional and important because she was able to understand and give me more time. This also helped with reducing my stress before the test. 

Week 5- October 12

This week was pretty busy, but I am so incredibly thankful for all the opportunities that the firm has given me this week.

Task(s):

My first task was given by Lema which was to send formal letters of medical records requests to different hospital facilities for our medical malpractice case. This assignment was a little tedious, but crucial so that we can better assess the case with accurate medical information. 

My second task was also pertaining to the medical malpractice case which was to create another timeline detailing the different facilities that our client had visited in the past year. This timeline was pertinent to the case as it would serve as a guide in determining if malpractice had indeed taken place or not. 

My third task was given by Megan which was to write an article on business scam correspondence.  This was an interesting experience as I was not very familiar with business-type of scams and it was interesting to learn about what those scams are, and how businesses can best avoid them. I also received excellent feedback on this from Lema, Megan, and Feras, so I will spend the next week polishing and strengthening the article!

Advice:

Last Friday, I had to deal with my first mistake. What I learned from this is that everyone makes a mistake, and that is okay. As long as I am able to learn and improve, then it will be beneficial. Mistakes are after all the best kind of experiences to have because they teach you about self-improvement as well as developing your skills. Overall, the most important lesson that I learned this week is this: your mistake doesn’t define you as a person, but what you do next in correcting that mistake is what really counts.

Week 6: October 19

This week was pretty exciting! I got to draft my first motion, and I got to learn more about litigation which is what I was looking the most forward to. 

Task(s):

My first task was given by Lema, which was to draft a motion — a request to enter the property. This was my first litigation case to work on and so it was really interesting to see how legal documents look like, and the process of legal writing. I was also very appreciative of the assigning of this motion as Lema told me that she did not draft her first motion until after graduating from law school. Thus, this experience was very rewarding as I was able to draft a motion prior to law school, which will greatly benefit me once I become an attorney. I was also able to learn more about litigation and the formal process of submitting documents to the court. 

Advice:

Always make sure that you receive proper instructions from the person who assigned you the task. This week, since Lema assigned the motion to enter property, I learned to seek more direct instruction and guidelines from her, so that I was able to fulfill her needs and expectations of the assignment.

Week 7: October 26

This week, I was given a lot of helpful constructive feedback, which will help develop my legal writing skills. 

Task(s):

My first task was a continuation of the previous week’s task, in that I continued to work on the motion to enter property and I continued to learn more about litigation and the process of court filing. 

My second task was a continuation of a previous week’s task, of writing a client education article on business scam correspondence. I received very helpful feedback from Feras and Megan and so I incorporated their feedback into the latest draft of the article.

Advice:

Constructive feedback is the best feedback one can ever receive. While positive feedback can be helpful, constructive criticisms are extremely crucial in fulfilling tasks in the most productive and effective (and accurate) manner.

Week 8: November 2

This week was a little slow, as I took 2 days off to catch up on school work, and other pending assignments.

Task(s):

My first task was given by Megan which was to create a brochure on the services that Lloyd and Mousilli offers to small businesses in creating their own LLCs. I really liked this task, as I was able to be more creative with it and completely design the brochure on my own. I also was able to learn about the process of small businesses transitioning to LLCs, and I have not been aware of that process previously.

Advice:

This week, I learned more on the importance of prioritization. As my school work had piled up, as well as my thesis work, I had to take 2 days off this week, and three days off next week, in order to complete my pending assignments and make sure that I am balancing each one of my various tasks well.

Week 9:  November 9

This week was also pretty slow as I had taken 3 days off in order to catch up on school work. 

Task(s):

My first task was given by Megan which was to research and create a memo regarding Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) opinions. This assignment was really interesting as it made me realize the importance of timing. In other words, it was interesting to see how early a LLC registering a trademark will help the likelihood of it getting passed by the court. Timing is one of the most key factors in registering a trademark.

Advice:

I learned more about balance this week. As I had taken three days off this week, I learned that balance isn’t necessarily allocating the same amount of time to each separate task, rather, it’s knowing that some tasks take longer than others to complete, and allocating that extra time is important, even if it means sacrificing time away from other tasks. Thus, prioritization is extremely crucial when juggling various different things.

Week 10: November 16

This week, I was able to find a better balance between my school work and the firm work.

Task(s):

My first task was given by Megan, which was to create a memo on the legal ethics of when a lawyer takes an equity interest in a client company. This assignment was especially interesting as I was able to revisit earlier ABA rules, 1.7-1.8 which I had researched during weeks 2-5. I was able to synthesize what I had previously learned with applying it to this new case which enabled me to expand on my knowledge of legal ethics. Overall, I really enjoyed this assignment as I was able to continue my research of legal ethics.

Advice:

This week, I was taught that in order for my work to be reviewed, I must remind my supervisor to look over it. Earlier, this week, when I asked Megan of her thoughts on the latest draft on one of the articles I was working on, she told me “ if you don’t fight to have your work made a priority, it will get lost.” This was a very crucial lesson for me to learn, as previously when I turned in an assignment/memo, I would just wait for a response, rather than demanding one. This will certainly be a lesson that I carry with me throughout the rest of my legal firm experiences.

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