Amongst the events and programs disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic were the summer internship positions for law students. Some firms canceled their internship programs, while others offered them remotely. Ken Kajihiro, L’22, was originally scheduled to work in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Counsel. But the GSA OIG was able to adapt its intern program to virtual operations. Kajihiro started his first remote work experience in May from his home in Richmond.

So just what does the General Services Administration’s Office of Inspector General do? “They are literally general,” said Kajihiro, which means the administration covers everything from managing government buildings to negotiating government contracts to investigating fraud. Kajihiro spends most of his time in research and writing to support the work of the Office of Inspector General.

Learning about government contracts and settlement negotiations has been both the biggest challenge and the biggest reward for Kajihiro. It’s a complex field – and one that requires plenty of on-the-ground learning as Kajihiro researches questions about whether or not the government negotiated a contract in accordance with the law, or whether a government employee has the patent rights to an invention. Asking plenty of questions is key to building that base of knowledge, he explained. 

But the best internships help develop connections in addition to knowledge. Even working remotely, Kajihiro is finding ways to prioritize networking, setting up an informational interview with a different attorney on staff each week. The GSA OIG also helps facilitate connections through a program called the Council of Counsels to Inspector General Summer Law Clerk Program, which includes a virtual opportunity for interns to come together every week and share information about their experiences. 

It’s virtual accommodations like these that help make the internship experience a successful one – and one for which Kajihiro is particularly grateful, especially during pandemic conditions. “I’m pretty appreciative to the agency for still doing the internship,” he said.