Summer Clerkship

by Leslie Godfrey in ,

Between March of 2003 and December of 2004, I graduated, then Andrew graduated.  Andrew started working for a water treatment equipment company and I started law school.  Between, work and school, we continued with many adventures.  We were mountain biking as much as possible, backpacking and road camping. we took road trips to Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Napa Valley, and Crater Lake.  We drove to Arizona and flew to Maine to visit Andrew's snowbird Grandparents in each of their seasonal spots.  I survived the first year of law school, worked as a Summer Clerk with the General Counsels' office of a mining company, and in the fall of 2004 began the hunt for a 2005 Summer Associate position. 

We were riding the mysterious wave that takes you into the current of life.

For my job hunt, I prepared more than fifty cover letters and resumes to firms large and small in Utah, California and Nevada.  The University of Utah has a robust on campus interview process, and over the course of a week or two, I interviewed with firm after firm.  The interviewer was usually placed in a small conference room with no windows.  The student before me would walk out, and I would take their place in a chair still warm from their interview sweat and nerves.  Most of my interviews were entirely unmemorable.  A handful went well, and one was conducted by an unhappy gentleman who had lost a hearing that morning and treated himself to a scoch of Jack Daniels to sooth the pain of loss.  I declined his offer.  

A few weeks later, I was invited to call back interviews.  I gussied up in my navy blue suit and striped button down shirt, then boarded a Southwest flight to Las Vegas. There, I was treated to eight full hours of interviews with various members of the firm in all departments, and a tasty lunch at Mesa Grill.  By the time I sunk into my Southwest seat for my flight back home, I was beat.  After all the interviews were done, the only thing I could do was wait. 

In the end, I had a few offers to choose from.  The firm in Las Vegas seemed like the best fit. Their litigation department seemed busy and ready to add a few youngsters. In addition, they had corporate transactions, securities, real estate, and lobbying practices.  As a summer associate, they promised the opportunity to see how all the different practices worked.  It seemed like a good place to give my practice a start, but I would have to spend the summer away from Andrew.

We hemmed and hawed for a few minutes about whether we should spend the summer apart.   One of our good friends claimed to have a very reliable set of tarot cards that could help us make our decision. So, we asked her cards whether it was wise for me to spend the summer in Las Vegas.  The cards were decisive.  They told us:

You will have to work hard to make this relationship fail.  You have momentum behind you toward great success with both career and love.  

Good enough for us.  Tarot cards or no taro cards, we decided either we were good enough together that we would be fine over the summer, or we would find out we weren't. If we weren't good enough to last the summer apart then we should find out sooner rather than later.  We didn't want to pass up an opportunity out of fear of failure -- because we just might succeed.

Viva Las Vegas.

When you get your first summer clerkship offer as a 2L law student, it can be a big relief…for a total of five seconds.  Finally, you have at least one option in the bag, ready to go. That feels good up and until the point  you realize a summer clerkship is nothing but a 3-4 month long INTERVIEW.  Every assignment is a measure of your skill set, and every social interaction is designed around one question: Is this kid so annoying that I cannot stand to have my office located next to hers?  Yep, that's it.  Yeah.  If you are a 2L law student who just got your summer clerkship offer, try not to think too much about it.  But really, it's a long interview.  

For my summer, I was lucky to be paired with some really great co-summer associates.  They made the summer really fun.  I worked with great attorneys, who gave me excellent training and advice, many of whom I worked with until the day we left to go sailing.  I lived outside of Utah for the first time in my life, and explored a bit of Vegas.  Andrew and I wrote each other letters like people from the 1800s.  We also wrote each other emails like people from the 1990s. We tested out the mountain biking (too hot in the summer, but pretty), and the swimming pool (also too hot in the summer). We saw the Blue Man Group, and what do you know, Las Vegas has a minor league hockey team that plays hockey. On ice.  

In the end, I was invited to return as a newly minted Associate after I graduated law school.  The skill set that ultimately sealed the deal must have been my stellar (#1!) performance on the first annual Wine Snob Challenge.  I owe you one, Brian Kremer. 


I primarily drank wine from a box at the time I won the Wine Snob Challenge.  Hello!  Student loans, people!