Brett Lashley, J.D. Candidate at University of Florida Levin College of Law
Q: How has the program helped you to prepare you for a future in law?
This program allowed me to work closely with the attorneys and be a part of the actual preparation that goes into each case. In addition, I was a participant in client interactions, which was very helpful and not something that you are privy to in law school. I was introduced to many issues, both procedurally and substantively, that have real-life implications for the parties involved, and I learned that strategic decisions are not necessarily made on the basis of whether something can be done, but rather if it should be done.
Q: What did you enjoy most about your time as a summer associate?
I enjoyed being able to work closely with so many of the attorneys, from Associates to Senior Shareholders. I didn’t feel that I was just here as an extra resource to handle overflow; I actually worked alongside the attorneys and was mentored. They included me in external industry meetings such as client interviews, depositions, mediations, and sitting in on trials. The highpoint for me was the unique opportunity to sit in on a full-day mediation with the Firm’s Vice Chair and Litigation & Dispute Resolution attorney, Scott Hawkins. That experience will stay with me for years to come.
Q: Did the experience of working with different practice groups provide insight into any new areas of interest?
Coming into the summer, I hadn’t really contemplated probate litigation, however, after working with the practice group I realized that I enjoyed the work and it is an area of interest that I may pursue. I also was able to attend The Florida Bar’s Real Property, Probate and Trust Law conference at The Breakers, which was interesting and impactful. I saw practitioners from across the state participate in discussions on important legal issues that can affect all Floridians.
Q: What advice would you share with other J.D. candidates interested in a summer associate experience?
I would encourage them to make the most of the experience by actively participating in as many events, meetings, and interactions as possible. I would also encourage them to explore various areas of practice, especially those areas that you think you may have an interest in, and to remain open-minded because you may enjoy something you hadn’t previously considered.
One of the reasons I chose Jones Foster was because I knew I would be able to work closely some of the best attorneys in the State of Florida. When I had my interviews, the attorneys were open and seemed understanding of the learning process I was going through. When I spoke with three of the previous Jones Foster summer associates they shared their positive experiences and said that they developed relationships while they were here, and had felt involved in the process and practice so that solidified my decision.
The team at Jones Foster ensured that I was continuously learning, participating, and producing quality work during my 11 weeks at the Firm. This experience gave me insight into the day-to-day life of an attorney and helped me to build a foundation for my future career in law.