NEW YORK – Early in my Litigation rotation, I told my assignment coordinator that I wanted to go to court. A few days later, an associate popped her head into my office. “Would you like to attend an appellate argument?” I scribbled a maze of facts on my notepad as she rapidly described an upcoming case. Ten minutes later, I was pulled into an intense meeting about the case, then handed a thick briefing binder. “Don’t forget your suit on Tuesday!”
On Tuesday, we took the subway down to the courthouse, a grand building with soaring columns and an exquisitely-ornate courtroom. Several arguments preceded ours—criminal, child custody, insurance, and mortgage appeals. The judges grilled the attorneys. Some responded nimbly; others quaked. I noted which argument techniques were most effective and eagerly awaited our turn.
Finally, the Weil partner rose to argue our case. His argument was seamless; his demeanor, calm and polished. The judges were visibly impressed.
On the way back to the office, the attorneys debriefed my fellow summers and me. This argument was the fruit of several years’ labor, and—pending the court’s decision—the attorneys’ work was done. For them, the moment was bittersweet. For me, it was exhilarating. I was thrilled to be learning from lawyers who were masters of their craft, who carefully explained their work to me. And the summer was only three weeks old…