LLM externship experience Q/A with 2015 Moritz graduate, Jane Aparecido
Jane Aparecido graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2015, completing her LLM degree. She currently serves as the Director of Ohio State’s Brazil Gateway, where she leads Ohio State’s in-country efforts in Brazil towards internationalization for students, alumni, research and partnerships.
During her final semester at Moritz, she participated in the Public Interest Externship Program, working at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in the Charitable Law Section.
Why did you choose to participate in the Public Interest Externship Program?
I wanted to have some practical experience in addition to attending regular classes. I did not know if I would be able to stay in the U.S. for the Optional Practice Training (OPT) so I thought the externship would give me a similar opportunity.
How did the program enhance your academic experience at Moritz?
It made many of my classes clearer, because I could see legal concepts and procedures that I had been learning at Moritz being applied in real life. I saw the day-to-day activities of U.S. attorneys and that made a difference because I was able to see legal cases from a different perspective than that of a foreign student.
What type of activities and projects did you do at your externship? How did these experiences help with your professional development?
I did a lot of case research for many different attorneys, drafted memos, accompanied attorneys on moot oral arguments and case-strategy meetings. The experience helped me find a different professional path I could follow back in my country (Brazil) or internationally. The knowledge and skills acquired, as well as the network connections, helped me secure a paid internship at a non-profit in Columbus for my OPT period, which was another amazing experience. It was at the Economic & Development Community Institute (ECDI), nonprofit and micro-lender that helps refugees and low-income minorities start their own businesses. I started in May 2015 as a Compliance Legal Intern and then was a Compliance Legal Specialist from September 2015 to April 2016.
Please describe skills that you developed or enhanced through the program.
Through the program I enhanced my research and writing skills, I also developed a better understanding of the state and federal law regarding non-profits, which was the field in the department I externed at. Being in contact with the work environment helped me adapt more easily to my internship during the OPT.
What did you learn about U.S. work culture?
I learned a lot about how the U.S. sees and works with non-profits and how important their work is considered in the country. I learned how attorneys need to specialize if they are interested in the field. I was glad to find out how attorneys respect interns’ previous experience and education and how some organizations have been supporting work-life balance for their employees.
What aspects of the externship did you enjoy the most?
I enjoyed receiving feedback from my supervisors and other attorneys. I also enjoyed when they talked to me about their personal experience in their careers. The celebrations were also very nice, such as Groundhog Day, which I had never heard of before. I was surprised when, by the end of my externship, the human resources representative from the office reached out to discuss my employment opportunities with them. That meant my work was appreciated and it meant a lot to me.
Why would you recommend that LLM students participate in the Public Externship Program?
I would recommend it because it is a great opportunity to get practical experience, to be in touch with the work culture in the U.S., to prepare for future internship or work opportunities in the U.S., and to network with professionals in a field of interest. If I am not mistaken, my year was the first one to be able to enroll the Public Externship Program (2014-2015) and I remember my colleagues and I worked hard to show that LLMs could and should have this opportunity. I would recommend LLMs participate and take advantage of this opportunity that will enrich their experience with real life practice.