This summer I had the opportunity to work as a summer associate at Gray Ritter & Graham, P.C. in St. Louis. Though I was initially unsure of what to expect, as I am originally from Wichita, Kansas, my experience at GRG was phenomenal. From my very first day on the job I was given substantive legal projects that had immediate repercussions for ongoing litigation. Every day brought new challenges and practical experiences all of which have proved invaluable as I continue preparing for a legal career.
Unlike most of the summer associates which GRG employs, when I began working there I strongly believed that I wanted to do transactional work. After spending two months with their amazing collection of attorneys and staff the pendulum may have begun to swing in the other direction. As a plaintiff’s firm GRG does almost no transactional work to speak of, and although I relayed my interest in pursuing this particular legal avenue during my initial interview, I was fortunate enough to receive a call back. Upon arriving at the office on day one, I was first shown around and given a rudimentary tutorial of GRG’s electronic document system. Then at approximately 3 p.m. I was asked to work on a motion for an issue of first impression before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. I was absolutely floored by the opportunity: After spending the previous year reading decisions handed down by the nation’s circuit courts I was immediately given the chance to contribute to a document which THEY would have to read.
The momentum really never stopped, as immediately following completion of the (successful) motion before the Eighth Circuit, I was allowed to actively participate in the Schneider v. SSM DePaul Medical Group Inc. trial which resulted in one of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in St. Louis County history. Having the chance to sit in on and actively participate in a trial litigated by some of the best attorneys in St. Louis (on both sides of the case) was an incredible opportunity to experience top-notch lawyers plying their craft.
In addition to attending trial and drafting motions, I was also given the opportunity to do various research projects and attend a deposition. There was never a dull day at the office, and the opportunity to collaborate with law students from both Washington University and Saint Louis University on a myriad of legal projects gave me a glimpse of what a true firm practice will be like.
I had a uniquely invaluable experience at GRG over the summer, and I encourage every law student to explore the possibilities open to them. Particularly, I encourage those who may not have been successful in opening round OCIs to continue to pursue placements as there are incredible experiences awaiting those who explore beyond that first layer.