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Christine Socha ’02 (Clark, N.J.) gained legal experience and academic credit this fall by interning at Laub, Seidel, Cohen and Hof, an Easton law firm. The work also provided Socha with her first exposure to the legal area of personal injury claims.

At the initial meeting between Socha and Phil Hof, her supervisor at the firm, Hof went over her schedule to make sure there were no conflicts with schoolwork, introduced her to members of the firm, and stressed the importance of confidentiality.

“My internship focused on the work of attorneys,” says Socha. “I read through case material, sat in on meetings if the client didn’t mind, and went to court with the attorneys. I also helped out in the office wherever needed. I did not, however, just lick envelopes or make photocopies. The attorneys always involved me as much as they could and had me do research and work that was important to them.”

Says Hof, “Christine was such a self-starter that she immersed herself in three or four of her cases and produced information that we found very helpful. She did research within the file itself, using our data base and publications, and sitting in on conferences with clients and in the courtroom. Our interns are exposed to all aspects of the work of our firm, from standing at the copier to sitting through conferences involving DNA and fingerprint analysis.”

Hof says he has developed great respect for James Lennertz, associate professor of government and law, who coordinates the department’s internships. “For our part, we feel that it’s our duty to decline if we don’t have work for the students to do or can’t give them the investment of time,” says Hof. “We have to make sure we’re meeting the educational component of the internship.”

Socha’s internship is playing a major role in helping her decide her future. For the past three summers, Socha worked at Bourne, Noll and Kenyon, a law firm in Summit, N.J. BN&K is a larger firm than Laub, Seidel, Cohen and Hof and specializes mostly in banking and real estate.

“I am applying to law school for the fall of 2002,” said Socha. “I still do not know what type of law I want to practice. This internship is helping me learn more about different areas and elements of law practice, as well as what it is like to be a part of a small firm. Before I started there I didn’t want to do litigation, but this internship has changed my mind about that.”

“I think that Lafayette is very good at providing opportunities for different academic experiences,” she adds. “When I applied for a government and law internship, I had a choice of where and what type of internship I wanted. I think the best part about Lafayette is that it has such roots in the community that businesses and people are very supportive and excited to work with the students.”

In addition to her internship, which kept her at the law firm for 13 hours each week, Socha is president of Alpha Phi sorority, captain of the Senior Class Fund Drive, and a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the political science honors society. She also has served as director of philanthropy for Alpha Phi and was a peer counselor last year. She has worked as an EXCEL Scholar with Bruce Allen Murphy, Kirby Professor of Civil Rights.

Categorized in: Academic News