As the junior year came to an end, I knew I wanted to do something more with my summer than sleep in and hang out. With my future looming on the horizon, I also knew it was time to start mulling over many of the agonizing decisions facing me this fall.
The piles of college mail gathering dust on my kitchen counter, agonizing career-planning meetings with my counselor, and the cornucopia of job fairs taking place each weekend all had me thinking. Each time I ripped open another envelope, sat down for another discussion, or wandered aimlessly about the aisles of a fair, I felt hopelessly lost. How am I expected to choose my career path based on a few pamphlets or a couple pieces of advice? As a rising senior in a Chicago area high school, I finally realized that what I really needed was what hours in a high school classroom could never give me: hands-on experience.
That’s what landed me here, as a summer intern at Kreisman Law Offices in Chicago. I’d always been told I’d “make a great lawyer”, but most of the people telling me this had little to no experience in law, and were probably only remarking on several qualities they assumed to be the makings of a lawyer. Still, it sparked my interest.
To me law is an exciting field: one that was always changing, yet had a constant novel purpose. However, I also heard horror stories of lawyers acting as money-hungry, self-absorbed, and ruthless liars or cheaters. But I discovered that both the public’ and my images of the modern attorney are completely false. The word ‘lawyer’ is not one-size-fits-all. My internship here at Kreisman Law Offices gave me a crucial backstage pass to the real substance of law, and how it functions on a day-to-day basis.
My experience here can only be described as priceless. Sure, I picked up a general knowledge of the court system, a smattering of law vernacular, as well as basic job experience. And of course I also gained a fundamental understanding of the differences between different types of firms, lawyers, and courts. I was taught how to abstract depositions, research law, and use databases, all of which were great learning experiences.
But if there’s one thing that these generous people have taught me that I was not expecting to learn, it’s that all lawyers are most definitely not the same. I was finally able to realize that lawyers are not defined by their title, but rather they are free to mold their own unique careers, very different, if they so choose, from any other lawyers.
My experience with Robert Kreisman in particular made me realize that it’s possible to be a committed and passionate lawyer and an honest and caring human being all at the same time. I now know that those lawyers who cut corners and make manipulative deals do so by choice, and more importantly, that if I were to become an attorney, I could make that same choice based on my own character.
And that bit of experience is just what I needed to weigh the possibility of a law career in my future. I can now honestly say that whether or not I choose to go into law, I am basing my decision not on a pamphlet or a recommendation from one of my teachers, but on a solid foundation of knowledge, and more importantly, experience. And now that I know exactly what type of experience I need, I am even more prepared to search for new opportunities in my other fields of interest. No matter what path I chose to take in the future, I will remain forever thankful to all the people at Kreisman Law Offices for providing me with a critical life experience of the highest caliber.