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 1  |  Part 3  |  Part 4

Jennifer Wong, L'16, completed an internship at both Altria and Hunton & Williams this summer. The Hunton & Williams/Altria Diversity Clerkship is integrated with their 2L Summer Associate program, which meant she spent three weeks at Hunton & Williams's Richmond office and four weeks at Altria. Wong said she was interested in the diversity program because of the importance in increasing diversity in the legal workplace. "Having a diverse workplace in the legal profession allows us to service our global practice," she said.

The Leadership Council of Legal Diversity (LCLD), which serves as the umbrella organization for legal diversity programs across the nation, helps to coordinate programs for first-year law students. Wong was especially interested in the diversity program offered by Hunton & Williams because of her interest in working in the Richmond area after she graduates.

Wong first learned about LCLD-sponsored programs through the law school's Career Development Office (CDO). The office circulated information to 1L students about signing up for the organization's mentorship program. Wong was paired with Hunton & Williams's hiring partner, Kim MacLeod, who has served as her attorney mentor over the course of the last year. Wong said, "I found that to be really successful." Not having any connections in the area before law school, Wong said, "I didn’t know a single person in Richmond. I think the CDO did a really good job of connecting us with local attorneys and creating those networks for us."

Wong and 12 other interns participated in several rotations throughout the summer. The first rotation allowed her to work with the labor and employment team, and the second with the sales and marketing team at Altria. At Altria, she had the opportunity to focus on anti-trust and marketing issues. She also worked with their Intellectual Property and Litigation Practice groups.

Both internship placements focused on litigation, which is one of Wong's interests. She attended court hearings and assisted in preparation for trial. 'I really liked attending court because I had done so much behind-the-scenes trial prep. It was cool to see it play out in front of me, especially with an attorney who's very good at his job." She added, "I'm getting a really well-rounded trial experience."

Wong said the biggest take-aways from the experience included discovering that she enjoyed working in a large law firm setting as well as being exposed to so many different practice groups and attorneys with different specialties. In addition, Wong accepted an offer to return to Hunton & Williams next year as a 2L Summer Associate. She said, "I am very excited about this opportunity to work in Richmond and continue my relationship with Hunton & Williams. I am looking forward to another great summer."

Hunton & Williams also coordinated a number of social activities for the interns, including a Segway tour of Richmond, a bowling night, and a Charlottesville, Va., winery tour. Altria sponsored a trip to Washington, D.C., where interns visited the Altria D.C. office and the Capitol. She noted, "They've been really good about exposing us to all that Richmond has to offer."