New internship gives students behind-the-scenes law firm experience

Katherine Schutes ’23 came to Maryland Carey Law to participate in the top-ranked Environmental Law Program with the goal of working in a non-profit setting after graduation. Taking advice to explore a variety of career paths, however, she looked for a 1L summer work opportunity that would help her understand the inner workings of a law firm. An innovative new internship at Miles & Stockbridge did just that. 

The idea for the pilot program, developed by James Shoemaker, director of pricing and matter management at Miles & Stockbridge, was to offer a behind-the-scenes view into the operations and management of the firm, giving the intern an intimate understanding of how firms approach balancing the practice of law with the business of law.  

“Studying the ecosystem and understanding the dynamics and how firms are set up,” said Shoemaker, “can be a great benefit in helping students become well-rounded lawyers.” 

According to Schutes, the experience was “exactly as advertised.” She was even able to use her background in economics and data science in learning the mechanics of practice management, law firm economics, legal operations, client service, and legal innovation.  

During her 10 weeks working in-person at Miles & Stockbridge in downtown Baltimore, Schutes was involved in projects that included reviewing and synthesizing client guidelines, structuring client engagement letters, clearing ethical conflicts, and evaluating financial performance at the practice and client engagement level. 

Dina Billian, the law school’s deputy director of career development, says this internship is a distinctive opportunity for students to learn to think like business owners. “It provides our students with a new and creative way to become knowledgeable about the legal landscape,” she said, “and how to be an effective lawyer and business owner going forward.” 

For Schutes, it was also a chance to explore a practice setting she had not previously considered. “It was a wonderful experience,” she said, also noting the supportive and flexible culture at the firm, which far exceeded her expectations. 

This new partnership with Miles & Stockbridge builds on a long and strong relationship between the firm and the law school. More than 60 of the firm’s attorneys are Maryland Carey Law alums, many of whom remain deeply involved with their alma mater, serving on boards, mentoring students, and hosting summer associates. President Emeritus Joe Hovermill ’93 is a member of the Maryland Carey Law Board of Visitors, and the firm’s Chairman, President & CEO Nancy Greene ’97 recently served on a Women, Leadership, and Equality Program webinar panel. Miles & Stockbridge is also a founding firm partner in Maryland Carey Law’s Diversity Scholars Program. 

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