Anderson, Riddle, & Kuehler, LLP – Fort Worth, TX
It’s actually a funny story, but it really taught me the importance of networking. I was interning for Judge Wilkinson in Fort Worth. She was very kind to me and let me attend a few events with her associates in the Tarrant County Bar Association. I even had the opportunity to go to a petition signing where judges who are running for office seek a certain number of signatures so they can get their name on the ballot. I had plans to intern with her for the entire summer, but to my surprise I was offered a paid position by Anderson & Riddle at a TCBA docket call. It was really a happy hour for legal professionals in the DFW area. I had my intern badge with my name on it. It was quickly discovered that Mr. Riddle clerked for my father’s law firm many years ago. Ultimately, the two of us hit it off and he offered me a law clerk position right on the spot. Within days, I was interviewed. Judge Wilkinson was very excited for me and urged me to take the position. (I was not getting paid in the 17th District). So short answer, I was at a bar association event where I met numerous attorneys and judges, and from there I was offered the position. It really taught me the importance of networking and selling yourself on the spot.
How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path?
I think the most frightening thing about law school is the uncertainty surrounding the competitiveness within the legal field. That was something I was very worried about, especially because I attended my 1L year completely online. I felt that I was one step behind. I was so thrilled that I was able to intern for a judge. I was able to see a different side of the legal field that not all attorneys get to see. With that being said, I was even more thrilled that I was offered a paid position after 1L year. Not every 1L is offered a paid position, which I am grateful for. This experience contributes to my resume of course, but most importantly it has allowed me to be right at the forefront of pending lawsuits instead of hypothetical scenarios and fact patterns we are taught in law school. I have gained hands-on experience building relationships with practicing attorneys, as well as experience researching and writing. If anything, this experience only confirmed my passion for the law. As all law students and attorneys know, the more experience you have, the better. It also helped me pinpoint what type of law I would like to pursue in the future.
What was the most surprising thing you learned at your job?
Growing up, I watched my father, and all his fellow colleagues conduct themselves in a very professional manner as they are employees of a very respectable law firm in downtown Fort Worth. I had only thought of attorneys as super professional, suit and tie, professionals. To my surprise, I entered a different work environment at Anderson & Riddle. The law firm runs on the smaller side with about twelve attorneys as opposed to a larger firm. Everyone dresses very casual and it was not something I was used to after interning at a courthouse. I went from interning downtown, to clerking in a three-story house made into a law firm. It was not something I pictured when I thought of “attorney at law.” I guess what I am saying is, law students shouldn’t limit themselves to what they think is “uniform code” for attorneys. Whether you are at a smaller or bigger firm, you will still succeed in gaining valuable experience. Don’t be scared to try something new. Even if you realize it’s not your thing, you still have valuable experience under your belt.