Samiah Bansal: My 2023 Summer Experience

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The Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD) is an initiative for diversity committed law firms and legal departments to provide opportunities to first-year law students to ensure a talented, inclusive future generation of lawyers. I was fortunate enough to receive a summer associate position through the LCLD program, exposing me to both the law firm and in-house legal setting.  

The application process for the LCLD program began with applying to member firms and corporations listed directly on the LCLD job board. The primary eligibility criterion for the LCLD program is that students should be first-year law students enrolled in good standing at an ABA-approved law school. For my application, I was required to submit a resume, cover letter, transcript, and a writing sample. After submitting my application materials, I had a single interview, during which I had the opportunity to meet with two of the firm's shareholders. Navigating this process was a bit intimidating for me, primarily due to the uncertainty of what to expect. However, conducting mock interviews and meeting with past summer associates were both valuable in helping me overcome my nerves. 

I had the amazing opportunity to work at Greenberg Traurig for the first half of my summer. I was based in the Orlando office, where I became part of the inaugural 1L summer associate class. I intentionally applied for this position, being that I am from Orlando and could spend most of my summer near my family. I worked on matters relating to intellectual property, land use, real estate, and more. I was glad to gain a lot of hands-on experience, from conducting legal research to drafting memos.  

Greenberg Traurig also provided mentorship and guidance as I was paired with both an associate and a shareholder mentor. Throughout the summer, my mentors dedicated their time and knowledge to helping me navigate the legal profession. With their support, I was able to build my professional confidence.  

Moreover, Greenberg Traurig ensured that summer associates could create connections outside of the office. The firm organized events to explore Orlando and network with general counsels of multiple companies, including Triple A and Marriott. The firm also included fun, social events at Universal Studios, Top Golf, and a Broadway show. 

For the second half of my summer, I had the privilege of working at Glassdoor, a client of Greenberg Traurig. This experience came with the opportunity to travel to San Francisco and explore Glassdoor's headquarters. During this period, I immersed myself into the in-house legal counsel setting and learned several of the factors that companies consider when hiring outside counsel.  

Early on in my summer, the legal team asked what my interests were and ensured I explored them throughout my time there. I worked in a range of practice areas, including contracts, data privacy, and employment law. Although the legal team consistently collaborated, each of the attorneys specialized in different practice areas. By working with each of them, I was able to gain a diverse workload, involving both litigation and transactional matters. I did not have any prior experience within any of these practice areas, but the legal team at Glassdoor was very patient and willing to walk me through legal concepts and backgrounds related to the assignments. 

During my time with Glassdoor, one of the most significant lessons I learned was that in-house attorneys wear multiple hats within the company. In-house counsel not only provides legal advice and expertise but also possesses a thorough understanding of the company's business. The legal team worked closely with many different departments including marketing, finance, and human resources to address a range of matters. It was important for the legal team to know the company’s industry and goals to advise the organization strategically and effectively.  

This experience affirmed my decision to pursue the business law track at Maryland because I saw how influential a solid foundation in business could be. Furthermore, as a legal intern, I was given the opportunity to network with the executive team and the diverse leadership throughout the organization. One of my most noteworthy meetings was with the CEO, where I learned about the company's vision and discussed how business and law intersect. This meeting was valuable for me as I gained insights into the importance of relationship building, common challenges that arise in careers, and approaches to overcoming them. Overall, spending half of my summer learning the ins and outs of Glassdoor piqued my interest in exploring a future career as an in-house lawyer. 

Looking back on my summer at Greenberg Traurig and Glassdoor, I am extremely grateful for the LCLD program and the amazing attorneys I worked with. The opportunity to explore my legal interests and work alongside attorneys in various practice areas was extremely empowering.