I Came, I Saw, I Clerked

By Blake Alford | April 09, 2020

One night around mid-January 2019, I was sitting in my living room enjoying some television after a long day of classes and studying, when I received a call. Normally, I let late-night phone calls go to voicemail and tend to them the following day. As it was around 7 pm, I let the call go to voicemail. However, little did I know that this call was one I should take. The caller was insistent and called back. This time, slightly annoyed that someone would be calling me “after dinner” as my folks would say, I picked up the phone. “Hello?” A female voice answered, “Hello, is this Blake?” I stated it was, and my heart dropped when the voice on the other end identified herself as Dean McClellan. My mind immediately started racing with thoughts, all of them leading to the ultimate question, “What have I done wrong?” As soon as I knew it was Dean McClellan, I couldn’t help myself from asking, “Hi Dean McClellan, is everything okay?” She quickly answered, probably noticing I was slightly anxious about receiving a phone call from the law school at that hour, and she calmly explained that everything was more than fine – she was calling to let me know I was the recipient of the Rice, Amundsen & Caperton Family Law Scholarship.

I was thrilled. Not only did the Rice, Amundsen & Caperton Family Law Scholarship provide a stipend, but it also allowed the recipient to be a summer intern at the firm. I quickly thanked the Dean for her time and the good news, and hung up. I was to meet the senior partners the following month, and I couldn’t contain my excitement. On the day I met the partners, Larry Rice, Amy Amundsen, and Coble Caperton, I put on my best suit, arrived at the four-column, red brick office building and punched in the code that swung the gate open. When I arrived, I was asked to wait outside Mr. Rice’s office. Of course, the first thing I noticed was the awards that lined the halls of the firm’s excellence in the field of family law. After each partner politely greeted me, we walked into an office where I was met with a giant brown bear, a coyote, and other various animals that Mr. Rice collected over the years. Throughout the meeting, we exchanged stories and experiences that showed our character, our goals, and most importantly, our work ethic. Following the meeting, I was shown around the office and introduced to the other employees. My takeaway after speaking with everyone was that I was going to fit right in. My feeling was more than correct.

Finally, May came around and it was time for my first day at Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, PLLC. Once again, I put on my best suit and arrived just before the office opened. I wasn’t sure what my first week would entail, but as a student, I was eager to take on any task given to me. I was thrown headfirst into open waters as I got my first assignment of drafting a brief for a trial that was days away. I had never been under that sort of pressure, but I enjoyed it. The summer led to many tasks that I never thought I would be a part of, such as staying at the courthouse until 1 am to hear a Judge’s oral ruling on a divorce where we came out on top! Another experience was attending my first deposition. I had never seen a deposition taken before, especially not from Larry Rice. The knowledge and experience you obtain by observing seasoned attorneys are invaluable.

As the summer intern, I was not looking forward to going back to school, as that meant that I would be giving up a job where I was learning so much. I was grateful, however, for my time there and knew I had performed my best. One Friday afternoon, as I was leaving work for one of the last times before school started back, Larry pulled me into his office. I sat down across from his desk, and he asked me, “How do you like working here?” I told him I really enjoyed working with everyone at the office and that I had learned so much in those three months. He responded by explaining that he had spoken with everyone at the office and that he believed that I would make a good fit on the Rice Laws as a law clerk the following year. I was thrilled! I immediately accepted the position. Within two weeks, I would be starting a new position at Rice Law with my very own desk. I couldn’t wait.

That was over 8 months ago. As I sit here at my desk reflecting on all that I have accomplished at this job, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. The many research assignments I have completed, the depositions, mediations, and trials that I have attended and aided in their preparation, and the relationships that I have built with the employees at the office are all irreplaceable as I continue my journey to become a successful attorney. Without the help of the Rice Lawand everyone who works at Rice, Amundsen & Caperton, I would not be the student I am today.

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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