Ruby Congleton-Giancaspro is a senior Humanities-Prelaw major who recently interned as a law clerk for Carpenter & Capt, Chartered Attorneys at Law, which is based in Chicago with an office in New Buffalo, Michigan. In the following Q&A that originally was published by the Excel Network, Congleton-Giancaspro shares her experience working as a law clerk intern.
What were your internship responsibilities?
As a law clerk, my responsibilities included preparing and organizing documentation for immigrant visas, removal cases, and political asylum cases, applications for citizenship and adjustment of status for submission; contacting clients via email, telephone, and office software; and drafting and compiling papers for immigration and citizenship including affidavits, petitions, motions, and applications.
How did you obtain your internship?
I grew up knowing the lead attorneys and reached out to them and a few others to see if they would take on a summer intern. I sent them my resume and interviewed with them and was offered a position shortly after. I utilized the resume workshop through MSU to build my resume.
What did your daily routine include?
My daily routine included everything I noted above as part of my responsibilities. I assisted the attorneys however I could by checking the mail as well and going through it for correspondence, picking up completed and closed filings, and so on.
What was your favorite experience from the internship?
I got to observe a court hearing in Chicago where one of my supervising attorneys was arguing a client case I helped put together and researched for. It was exciting to see much of our teamwork in action.
What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?
I learned and improved upon many skills, but what I really learned about was professionalism. When it comes to law, there’s a language and certain behaviors that you really need to hone in on in the office and in the courtroom. After learning about those norms, it made me confident in what the professional settings for my future will look like. I also learned more about equity and inclusion. As an immigration firm, you need to do so much research about the world around us. When we consider equity and inclusion, many of us who reside in the U.S. understand the concept within our country, but learning about DEI in other countries is eye-opening and incredibly informative. It gives you such a wide perspective of what life is like for those around us and those you may have never known about.
What did you learn about the industry as a result of your internship?
I learned a lot about the law industry and a lot about what it takes to be a strong attorney and what it takes to make it on your own. I learned about many people’s stories including my supervisors and it gave me a great understanding of where my goals and priorities should lie.
What are your future plans?
After switching majors countless times, I can confidently say I’ve finally landed in the right place. My future plans are to hopefully continue with school whether that be learning more about law or government and what roles I can take to help. I see graduate school in my future for sure.
What advice do you have for students seeking internship opportunities?
Be proactive in your search for an internship. I reached out to so many places before I found one, and I am grateful that I landed where I did. Utilize networking and connections and, if you do not have any, go to career fairs or anything that can get your name out there. Seek out opportunities and one will come to you. Remember that you’re on your own time frame so act within the realm of your capabilities plus a little more to push your limits!