Saturday, September 12, 2009

My first week

I started work on Thursday morning at 9am. Of course, timing the red line and the shuttle in the morning is a consistent challenge. I walked through the doors of my building at 9:08am.

After I made it past security, I headed up the elevator to my office. I walked into the front door. The student working the front desk asked, "Josh?" The fact that he knew my name, that I was arriving that day, was immediately comforting; I, for one, knew that I had made it to the correct office, which assuaged one of my first-day fears.

After waiting for a few minutes, I met my supervisor, and another student, Dan, a fellow AU student! Dan was talking super-quickly as he got me set up on my computer, and showed me my office. He had to make it back to an 11:20 class, so he was running me through some basic procedures on our databases. Great information, but I was too busy trying to soak it all in to remember to take notes. I gave myself a self-guided tour of the Microsoft Access-based database system to get a feel for how things run. Oh, and yes, I actually have an office with my own desk and computer, and a door. Not a cubicle. My name is even on the door.

I share my office with another intern, Shanley, who has her own desk and computer as well. We're great office buddies, despite how hard we both work all day. Shanley is working on some data entry for a big case, so she is always super-intensely typing away into Excel. We have nice conversations, but I try not to distract her too much.

Anyway, back on topic, after Dan got me all set up and ran off to class, I went into a three-hour meeting with my supervisor, Ken. Ken is a great guy; he wants to be sure that I fully understand what the office is doing, how things work, how our computer system works, etc. Although our meeting went for a significant portion of the morning, he never made it seem like I was wasting his time, or that he had better things to do. My project was going to be to talk to an attorney and do research for a major case that she's working on. But, sadly, she emailed my supervisor just as I was about to go meet with her saying that another intern started the project and was making major headway, so the extra set of hands wasn't necessary.

Instead what I've been working on for the past two days has been checking the system to see where the files are supposed to be in certain paralegals' offices. From there, I make sure that they're in the right place. It seems really meaningless, but it's actually important. People have to be able to find their case files, and in an office where each attorney is handling at least 10 and at most 40 open cases, finding the hard copy of a file should be as easy as possible. I completed the starting task of finding the files just before I left on Friday (meaning, 5:28pm). Next, I get to go talk to the lawyers and paralegals about the current status of the cases, and update the system with the latest information.

What I like most about this task is that even though it involves a lot of grunge-work, it's also allowing me to meet and chat with a number of paralegals and attorneys. It's breaking some of that obvious ice that exists when you first meet someone; we're getting past the simple "where do you go to school," and beginning to talk about law school applications, law in general, etc. It's been quite fun, actually.

I'll post next week with an update on this project. Apparently on Monday we have a staff meeting where I'll get to introduce myself formally to the office and ask for stuff to do! It's exciting.

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