Briefing Room


Summer internship puts 1L’s legal writing skills to the test

September 10, 2014 | Students

Mandi Grandjean ’16 has one piece of advice for first-year Moritz students: “Pay attention in legal writing. Learn to write well – it matters a lot. People will trust you if you can write well.”

It’s something Grandjean quickly realized when she started working as a legal intern at the Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s office this summer, where she spent her days researching and writing motions on behalf of the state of Ohio.

“I was so lucky to have such good legal writing professors my first year,” she said. “A lot of my success in my job has come from what they’ve taught me about how to write legally.” Her legal writing training proved especially helpful, she said, because she had not yet taken a criminal procedure or evidence course at Moritz.

Grandjean, a 2013 graduate of Miami University, who grew up in Canton, Ohio, said her internship helped broaden her horizons and encouraged her to step outside of her comfort zone.

“It’s been a wonderful experience. It is definitely the most responsibility I have ever had as a professional in training. It’s one of those things where they just throw you in,” she said. “Dealing with murder, rape, felonious assault, and domestic violence was a little difficult for me at first. I spent a lot of time with things that people have nightmares about – that’s what I read and wrote about a lot of the time. But it’s important to keep in mind that you’re a part of the process and you’re helping the victim.”

Grandjean worked on criminal felony cases, observing two murder trials and the high-profile jury trial of Javier Armengau, an Ohio defense attorney convicted of multiple sex crimes in July.

Despite dealing with emotionally difficult subject matters on a daily basis, she said she wouldn’t trade her summer internship experience for anything – even a few months by the beach. After spending her first year in law school steeped in books and lectures, Grandjean said it was exciting and empowering to be able put her newly acquired knowledge to practical use.

“People are depending on you and you are impacting a victim’s life,” she said. “I had to take a step back and be like, ‘I’m using my legal knowledge to win a case or win an argument in court.’ You’re no longer dealing in theory. You’re dealing in real life.”

Grandjean has been an active participant in Moritz’s Program on Law and Leadership (PLL) since setting foot on Ohio State’s campus – a program she said has proven helpful in many aspects of her law school career. She described Jeff King’s Leadership Skills Workshop on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as “the best thing I signed up for at Moritz,” because it involved “learning about yourself in a very constructive way. You were learning about the things you can improve on and learning about your strengths.”

In addition, Grandjean serves as president of board of the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) at Moritz. PILF is a non-partisan, nonprofit student organization committed to reducing the financial barriers to working in public interest law. It offers summer fellowships to law students who wish to work in the public sector and educates students about the rewards of pursuing public interest careers.