Summer internships hone practical skills in real-world settings, but they also allow students to build their professional networks. This series will highlight four students who spent their summers interning in Richmond, Virginia. Read Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
Saud Aldawsari, L'15, spent the summer working for Virginia Commonwealth University's general counsel, a position that taught him not only about the law but also about the nuances of working in the legal profession. Aldawsari learned about the internship through Richmond Law's Career Development Office and Professor Margaret Bacigal, Director of Richmond Law's Clinical Placement Program.
Aldawsari was pleased to have the opportunity to work with Richmond Law alumna Martha Parrish, L'82, Associate General Counsel for both the MCV and Monroe Park campuses in Richmond, Virginia. Ms. Parrish enjoyed getting to know Saud and providing guidance to him as he approaches his third year of law school and entry into the profession. "He was an enthusiastic learner and most conscientious. The fact that he prepared a 'dish' popular in his native country for our office party endeared him to me—not to mention that it was gobbled up by all in attendance."
Aldawsari's internship has prepared him well for future work in constitutional law. Interning with a state agency that is heavily regulated by the federal government allowed Aldawsari to research state and federal law as well as the interaction of a state agency with its sovereign immunity and 11th Amendment protection. "Every issue I have is basically constitutional law or civil rights." He added, "I could go to the bar without studying constitutional law right now because I'm ready."
Aldawsari noted that constitutional law is abstract and theoretical in nature, so he was fortunate to have the opportunity to apply the case law in a practical setting. "You wouldn't think a student comes in and knocks on your door, and you'll open up these cases you studied in constitutional law about fundamental rights and procedural due process—how do you apply this to real people?"
Aldawsari's internship and related independent study coursework materialized in the form of a long-term research project focusing on state actors and the development of jurisprudence. He explained, "It's about more than the law—it's about how lawyers function and interpersonal skills that you don't get in school." He said the skills he learned during the internship have prepared him to work just about anywhere. The experience has also piqued his interest in pursuing a career in constitutional law after he graduates next spring.