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 2  |  Part 4

Chris Keegan, L'16, spent the summer working for Judge Robert Payne in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He first learned about the opportunity during the Career Development Office's (CDO) Spring On-Campus Interview Program, during which he interviewed for the position. Keegan said the judicial internship seemed like a fantastic opportunity to see how the other side works.

Keegan researched cases, wrote memos for the judge, and observed court hearings. In addition, the Eastern District Court judges sponsored a lunch-time speaker program that allowed interns to learn about different areas of the law. Keegan explained, "We've had folks from big law firms as well as judges, and Mike Herring, the City of Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney, also came in to speak with us." The interns also participated in several field trips to the state capitol, the Petersburg federal prison, and the Virginia state forensics laboratory. Keegan said these social activities were a great way to meet people and gain different perspectives about the law profession.

Keegan said he has not decided on a specialization yet, but he is interested in both intellectual property and energy law, based on his previous work with the United States Navy. He said, "I wasn't really seriously considering a clerkship before, but now after working in the courthouse and seeing what the clerks do and how they interact with the judges, I'm seriously considering trying to apply for a clerkship after I graduate." For Keegan, spending time in court and having the opportunity to assume some of the responsibilities of a law clerk were a few of the most beneficial experiences. He also enjoyed gaining a behind-the-scenes understanding of how cases work.

Keegan said he is warming up to the idea of becoming a trial lawyer. "I didn’t think I would finish law school and want to try cases and be in a courtroom. However, now I'm definitely thinking more about doing something like that after seeing it all in action," he said.