Discovery        D.C. Externship Heightens 2L’s Passion for Labor and Employment Law

Working for a D.C. law firm for two years as a case assistant taught Cassie Pedicelli 2L a couple of things – one, she enjoyed working with the law, and two, she wanted to pursue a career as a lawyer, which meant it was time to go back to school to earn her juris doctorate.

“I always saw myself going to grad school, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity. In undergrad I got a taste for the law, but it was more in the context of how it can influence behavior and more from a policy perspective,” she said. “After spending some time working as a case assistant, I realized litigating seemed really interesting so I decided to go to law school.”

Pedicelli graduated from Cornell University in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in industrial and labor relations. Last summer, she worked as an extern with the U.S. Department of Labor through the Washington, D.C., Summer Program at Moritz.

“It definitely affirmed for me that I like that area of the law. I still don’t know exactly how I want to practice it – if I want to work for the Department of Labor one day or if I want to do something more like private firm litigation – but it was definitely very helpful and gave me an understanding of what I like specifically, like researching and writing, and all the different aspects of what a lawyer can do in the field,” she said.

Pedicelli was placed in the office of the solicitor. There she worked on civil rights and labor management issues including workplace discrimination matters, litigation and compliance issues, and union election complaints.

“I felt like I was treated like an actual attorney, which was scary at first, but I really appreciated it. That’s what you want out of an externship,” she said.

Aside from a renewed passion for labor and employment law, one of the biggest lessons Pedicelli said she will take away from the experience is confidence in her own lawyering skills and abilities.

“I think that a big lesson – because I was the only intern in my division – I learned this summer was about judgment – when I needed to ask questions and follow up and when I knew enough that I could figure it out on my own and be confident in my decision,” she said.

Overall, Pedicelli feels the program gave her a great start in gaining experience she’ll need when she embarks on her future career path.

“The Washington, D.C., Summer Program is really nice because it gives students great substantive work right after their 1L year,” she said. “I would recommend the program to anyone. It’s also been something that has been helpful to talk about in job interviews. Recruiters are really interested in what the program is about, how it works, and what kind of work I did at my externship.”