[This first-person account was authored by FBA member Darrell E. White II]

My name is Darrell E. White II, and I am a rising 3L at Cornell Law School. This summer I worked as a legal intern at the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS). As part of my internship, ACUS signed me up for the Federal Bar Association Summer Clerk Program. This program was one of the highlights of my summer. As a part of the clerk program, I participated in three agency visits and four panels about working in the government as an attorney. The program exposed me to new areas of law and a variety of legal careers in the government that I was not previously aware of.

 Agency Visits

The three agencies I visited were the Counsel to the Council of Inspector Generals (CCIG), the Library of Congress (LOC), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During my CCIG visit, I learned about an entirely different area of law I had never considered—working in an agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The visit included lawyers from a variety of OIG offices who we were able to talk to directly during a speed mentoring session. I was not aware of the broad areas of law an OIG practices or the importance of the OIG to an agency’s mission. For the LOC visit, I learned about how the Congressional Research Service and the Law Librarians of Congress support the legislature. Also, as a part of this visit, we were given a behind the scenes tour of the Jefferson Building. At my EPA visit, I learned that even agencies with household name recognition have fascinating jobs I had not heard of before. For example, I learned about the Suspension & Debarment unit, a group that investigates fraud related to government contracts.

Credit: Darrell E. White II, Outside the Library of Congress Jefferson Building

Panels

In addition to being exposed to new careers, I was able to connect with future mentors/role models. It was inspiring to see diverse panels of lawyers doing the kind of work I see myself performing some day. At the Careers in Transportation Panel, I learned about the depth and breadth of issues in transportation law in both the public and private sector. At the DOJ Career Panel, I learned about the variety of cases that DOJ lawyers work on beyond the traditional criminal prosecution cases. At the Life as a DMV AUSACareer Panel,I learned about the varied paths one can take to become an AUSA. At the Hidden Jobs on Capitol Hill Panel, I learned about the various attorney positions within Congress.

Networking

One of the best parts of the visits is that I was able to connect on LinkedIn or via email/phone to ask follow-up questions about the events I attended.I was able to connect with panelists after the event and obtain inspiring career advice and help with understanding how to frame my past experiences in terms of a career path. Also, I was able to meet people from other law schools across the country who were interested in government work. It was amazing learning about the different positions people were working in this summer and connecting with people that might be my colleagues down the road. My goal is to work as an attorney in a government agency in D.C. after graduation. I think this program has gone a long way in helping to make that dream a reality. I thoroughly enjoyed the program and I am thankful for the opportunity!

As a member of the Federal Bar Association, I look forward to the opportunity to give back in a similar manner in the future.

About the Author

Darrell E. White II is a 3L at Cornell Law School. He is a member of the FBA and worked as a legal intern with the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) as well as completed the Summer Clerk Program at the FBA.

About the FBA

Founded in 1920, the Federal Bar Association is dedicated to the advancement of the science of jurisprudence and to promoting the welfare, interests, education, and professional development of all attorneys involved in federal law. Our more than 16,000 members run the gamut of federal practice: attorneys practicing in small to large legal firms, attorneys in corporations and federal agencies, and members of the judiciary. The FBA is the catalyst for communication between the bar and the bench, as well as the private and public sectors. Visit us at fedbar.org to learn more.