By Allison Tinsey, L'18
For 1L students, the summer after their first year in law school is an opportunity to finally put theory into practice. Three Richmond Law students did just that – together – at the Chief Staff Attorney’s Office for the Supreme Court of Virginia this summer: Etahjayne Harris, Katie Love, and Kathleen Pulver.
"A typical day at the Chief Staff Attorney's office involves reviewing the record of a case on appeal," said Pulver, "which includes transcripts and opinions from the trial court and court of appeals, and then writing a memo regarding the case."
The legal writing program is a core component of Richmond Law’s 1L curriculum – and lessons learned in the course helped prepare the students for their work at the Supreme Court. Love, Pulver, and Harris all wrote memoranda as a way for the Supreme Court to determine which cases to review, and to see if the case filings complied with court rules. Love said her job also consisted of providing independent legal analysis. And at the end of the memos, the interns provided recommendations on whether or not appeals should be granted, said Harris.
Working at the Supreme Court provided all three students with access to a distinctive work environment – one that many attorneys don’t encounter during their careers. "The Supreme Court receives some of the most unique legal issues, as they are at the highest level of appeal, so many cases addressed situations that most people will never encounter, or only encounter once, as a lawyer," said Pulver.
"I worked on a wide variety of criminal appeals involving malicious wounding, grand larceny, and embezzlement charges," said Harris.
That variety adds up to a pretty impressive summer experience. "Interning at the Chief Staff Attorney's office is the best,” said Love. “I can't say enough good things about it.” As for words of advice: “They prefer hiring rising 2Ls, so to all the incoming [first-years], I would definitely recommend applying in the spring!"
Left to right: Love, Harris, and Pulver pictured in front of the Virginia Supreme Court building in Richmond. Former Richmond Law student Amy McMahon is also pictured (far right).