All In a Day’s Work

By: Lauren Adams

It was nothing short of intimidating walking into Rice Law on my first day as a law clerk. Having come into law school with absolutely no prior legal experience, walking into a high-caliber firm like Rice Law was terrifying to say the least. I knew that this would be a summer of learning, trial and error, and a lot of new experiences, but little did I know what was awaiting me at this clerkship.

My only frame of reference for what a legal clerkship looked like came from my first-year writing course in law school, where professors try to emulate a legal internship or clerkship to prepare students for the summer after their first year of law school. My Legal Methods professor did an excellent job preparing me for the research and writing aspects of the job, and I knew I would not be left to flounder at this job, but no class or prior experience could have fully prepared me for even the most ordinary day at Rice Law.

I walked into my first day at Rice Law expecting to be handed a few research tasks and then be left alone at a computer to scour Lexis Nexis, breaking up the hours by going on coffee runs and refilling candy jars. I expected to hand in a research memo every week or so, and I expected to sit quietly behind the attorneys and silently observe while they talk to clients.

Oh, how I was mistaken.

Being a clerk at Rice Law looks like scribbling down every word of Larry’s famous teaching moments on your notepad because a short refresher in Civil Procedure is never a bad thing. Going into this clerkship, I knew that I would be more prepared than most students in my upcoming Family Law class, but what I did not realize is that I would also gain valuable, practical knowledge in subjects like Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and even Property.

This clerkship looks like getting pulled aside during the middle of a deposition to be given an urgent research task, talking to clients, and slipping out of a deposition when something goes awry, and you are needed right away. Quick and thorough research will become something of second nature, and you learn quickly how to think on your feet.

It looks like being included in all the office traditions, celebrations, and storytelling sessions because the whole firm functions better when everyone works together as a team. One thing that stands out about the Rice Law team – aside from the quality of their work – is the sense of cohesion that permeates throughout the firm. One thing that I have learned this summer is that a law firm functions much better when everyone is a team player, and everyone here works hard to make sure that everyone – clerks, paralegals, and legal assistants alike – feel welcomed, included, and important.

It looks like committing every single “Larry-ism” to memory such as, “Bring candy to court because the other side can’t be mad at you if they’re eating a Snickers,” as it is incredibly important to show kindness to Opposing Counsel, the Judge, and everyone else in the courtroom.

Throughout this summer I have been amazed at the amount of information that I am able to take in each day (and the amount of trips I take to the candy jar each afternoon). Everyone at Rice Law is committed to teaching and seeing the clerks succeed. From after-work chats about how to succeed in this firm, to days at the courthouse, every person at Rice Law is dedicated to the clerks’ success, and we as clerks are dedicated to the success of the firm. While each day at work truly is a surprise, the Rice Law firm has fostered a supportive environment and has surely given me an unforgettable summer.

This blog is written by the law clerks and interns of Rice Law. They document their experience working with Memphis divorce lawyer Larry Rice and Memphis divorce lawyer Nick Rice, as well as other members of Rice Law. Rice Law represents clients in divorce and family law matters in Tennessee and Mississippi. We hope these blog posts will be interesting and show their evolution as they move towards being divorce and family lawyers. The statements in these posts should not be used as legal advice about divorce or family law.
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