Law Office of Christine Henry Andresen
Spring 2012 Site Review
Position: Legal Assistant Intern
Student: Government Junior
I am currently interning at a private law firm that mainly handles divorce, child custody, adoption, and LGBT related cases. The majority of our child custody cases are CPS cases passed on to our firm by the county. In these circumstances, the court handles all the expenses associated with the court appointed cases. As a legal assistant, my job responsibilities range from clerical work to drafting and editing important legal documents for upcoming trials. Beside myself, there are three other legal assistants, a senior paralegal and the sole proprietor attorney who litigates all of the cases. On a typical day, one of my first responsibilities is to make sure that the filing system and the office is tidy. This includes file organizing misplaced or recently acquired court documents into their respective files and office duties, such as washing the dishes or taking out the trash. Afterwards, I’ll check my inbox for any assignments by supervisor may have left for me to take care of. These assignments typically involved “serving” (or faxing) documents to all parties, including the assistant district attorney, caseworker, opposing counsel, editing client documents, or contacting clients for personal information and statements. Oftentimes, I’m required to drive to the Travis County Courthouse to have certain documents filed with the county and “file stamped”, which is an official recording by the county of my submission of the document. Filing this information with the county is very critical for our CPS because it certifies that we are representing our clients legally when entering into litigation or negotiations with the opposing parties.
Working at a law firm requires certain qualities in order for the firm to function efficiently and successful. For one, attention to detail is key for all employees, especially when editing subpoenas, affidavits, etc. The language utilized in these documents holds significant meaning and can determine the outcome of some cases. One mistake can not only alter the direction of a case, but also tarnish the reputation of a law firm. In addition, the job requires dedication. Several times this semester I was presented with projects that had strict deadlines. As a result, I had to remain at the office till after hours or take my work home with me to finish it on time. Lastly, it’s necessary to maintain composure during high stress periods in the office. From my experience, trial period, when our cases actually continue to litigation, is the most stressful time period because of all the work required in order to win the case; this includes witness questions, preparing discovery files (a full report of all details of a case), contacting subpoenaed witnesses to inform of trial appearances, etc. Again as stressful as this may sound, working at the law firm has been my most rewarding work experience. Not only because I'm interested in pursuing a career in law, but also I’ve learned a substantial amount of skills that I can implement in my classes and personal life. I am looking forward to continuing my job at the law firm for the remainder of my undergraduate career.