Natalia Oehninger '10: Focusing on Employment, Labor Law

August 6, 2009

Summer associates at Jones Day's Dallas office have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. While other firms assign work based on a rigid two-week rotation through different practice groups, Jones Day encourages its summer associates to work in the practice areas in which they are most interested.

Natalia Oehninger '10

Therefore, although I worked on different types of projects, I was able to narrow down my focus to trial and labor and employment assignments. Along with drafting legal memos regarding complex litigation issues and writing an article discussing recent trends under the Fair Labor Standards Act, several summer associates had the unique opportunity to create and present a business development project.

This project was the highlight of my summer. Teaming up with another summer associate, a partner and an associate, our group created a presentation that will likely be of practical use for the firm in the future. This summer-long project, entitled "Key Things to Consider Before Choosing Arbitration," ended with our team giving a mock pitch to prospective clients in an audience consisting of attorneys from the office. As a result, this project gave summer associates the chance to demonstrate our ability to interact with prospective clients and show we were comfortable thinking on our feet.

While the work was the central focus of the summer, we were also encouraged to attend social activities in order to become more acquainted with the firm's culture and interact with attorneys. As a UVA law student, it would be remiss of me not to mention that every Wednesday Jones Day participated in a law firm softball league. Although we did not win a trophy, playing softball was fun and stress-relieving as well as a bonding experience between summer associates and attorneys.

On a personal level, I was fortunate to work under the guidance of several mentors in a nurturing and positive environment. In addition, since Jones Day values integration and communication among its offices, I had the opportunity to work not only with Dallas attorneys, but also with a partner from the New York office. This sharing of information is highly encouraged, as it ensures clients receive the best advice from the most appropriate source.

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