Monday, January 6, 2014

HBA 1L Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession (MOILP) Summer Clerkship Program

HBA Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession (MOILP) Summer Clerkship Program

The HBA MOILP 1L Minority Summer Clerkship Program has been a successful HBA sponsored program for 15 years. The HBA MOILP Committee recruits first year racial and ethnic minority students from the three Houston-area law schools (UHLC, TMSL and STCL) for legal internship opportunities with law firms, corporate legal departments, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and judges.  For more information about this program, download the application here.

HBA Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession (MOILP) Summer Clerkship Program – Reflections from a Former UHLC Student Participant

 A 2012 UHLC graduate, Emilio Grandío-Urrea, who participated in the program as a 1L, has provided the following insights on the benefits of participating in the program.

My name is Emilio Grandío-Urrea and I am a first year associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP in Houston.  I practice transactional law and my main focus is cross border transactions in Latin America. 

It was through the MOILP 1L Summer Clerkship Program that I began my career at Morgan Lewis.  As many of you may already know, the Program is sponsored by the Houston Bar Association and provides summer clerkship opportunities to minority first year law students at Houston area law schools.  I heard about the program through Bill Powers from Career Services during my first semester at U of H.  I remember telling Bill that I wanted to “summer” at a big firm with a strong Latin American presence.  Bill suggested that I apply for the Program and the rest, as they say, “is history.”  Because of the Program, I was able to spend my 1L and 2L summers at Morgan Lewis and ultimately receive an offer to join the firm on a full-time basis as an associate.

My experience as a summer associate at Morgan Lewis was fantastic in many ways.  In the interest of brevity I will only mention a few: For starters, Morgan Lewis hosts a firm-wide “Summer Associate Kick-Off Event” where summer associates, hiring partners, and recruiters from all offices gather together and provide an introduction to the Firm.  The Kick-Off Event was a great experience as I was able to hear from the Chair of the Firm, learn about the Firm’s commitment to diversity, participate in a community service activity, and attend social events with peers from other offices.  The event was hosted in Washington D.C. during my 1L summer and in Baltimore during my 2L summer.

Secondly, during my internship I met great people.  The people in Morgan Lewis’s Houston office, from the staff members to the most senior partners to everyone in between, are some of the friendliest people I’d ever hope to work with.   For those of you who don’t know me, working with great people is pretty much non-negotiable for me.  After all, if I am going to spend most of the day in the office, I want to actually like the people that I am working with.  I had plenty of opportunities during the summer to meet and bond with attorneys at the Firm’s weekly social events.  The Firm provides each summer associate with a partner mentor and an associate mentor to help the summer associate meet as many attorneys as possible. 

Finally, the assignments I was given during my two summers were interesting, challenging, and fun (hard to believe, I know).  I actually received assignments that were substantive and not too different from the work I do today.  Some of the work that I did included attending client meetings, drafting a memorandum on whether a client’s activities in Pennsylvania would qualify as doing business on that state and drafting formation documents for a Texas entity.  Importantly, I obtained constant feedback from senior associates and partners, which in my opinion is the best way to learn and bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law.

In sum, I am certain that applying to the Program was one of the best decisions I made in law school.  If you are thinking about applying, I would highly encourage you to do so.