During the OCI process, I was focused on finding a firm where I liked the people and where the work would be interesting. Many law students, including myself, want to join law firms that work on exciting cases and high-profile deals, and this summer I have thoroughly enjoyed shadowing attorneys, researching complex legal issues, and developing my writing skills. However, one important aspect of a firm’s culture that many law students overlook during the interview process is the firm’s commitment to serving the community – in legal and non-legal ways. Maybe this is because it is difficult to gauge a law firm’s commitment to service solely through interviews. However, I have experienced Weil’s commitment to helping others firsthand over the past eight weeks in the New York office.
Weil’s commitment to pro bono service is clear in many ways, including the opportunities the firm offers for summer associates to get involved. For two weeks this summer, I externed at the Innocence Project, an organization that exonerates the wrongly convicted through DNA testing and seeks to reform the criminal justice system. While I was there, the attorneys at the organization allowed me to work on research projects in interesting and newly developing areas of law, which helped me to better understand the many injustices in the criminal system that can lead to wrongful convictions. This experience was incredibly moving, and once I got back to the firm, I volunteered to complete another Innocence Project assignment.
Weil is also very dedicated to serving the community in non-legal ways. Last week, the firm organized a community service day at the office, where we hosted a Free Arts Day with Free Arts NYC, an organization that empowers underserved youth through art and mentoring programs. We spent the afternoon bonding with our “buddies” and assisting them with art projects before capping off the day with pizza and juice boxes. Although the summer associates were sad when we had to part with our buddies, everyone found the experience very rewarding.
The summer program has been a fantastic opportunity not only to observe Weil attorneys engage in top-notch legal work, but also to see their commitment to serving others.