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Daniel Martini ’07 (Chappaqua, N.Y.) and Haley Schaefer ’07 (Hamden, Conn.) were immersed in the legal field in an interim-session externship with attorney Susan G. Rosenthal P’08, partner in the Business Trial and Finance & Bankruptcy Practice groups of the law firm of Sheppard Mullin, New York City.

Martini and Schaefer were among more than 275 students who served two- to five-day externships with Lafayette alumni and other experienced professionals in the business, arts, education, healthcare, law, engineering, science, government, and non-profits fields. The students shadowed the professionals at their workplaces, learning about careers they may consider entering after college, developing professional networking contacts, and building their resumes.

To the surprise of Martini, a double major in international affairs and French, Rosenthal put Schaefer and him straight to work. “I was happy she gave us something to do along the lines of what a first year associate would be doing,” he says. The students read over one of the firm’s actual complaints and, under the guidance of Rosenthal, pored over documents in search of ones that would be useful to the case.

“Young lawyers in a business-law practice often get stuck doing what could be tedious work,” Rosenthal says. “The truth is, trying to find the smoking gun is probably the most critical work in any case.”

“It was a little nerve-wracking, but exciting,” says Schaefer, an English major and women’s studies minor who is studying in Australia this term. “And it was hard!”

The students also met other people at the firm and attended a session of Sheppard Mullin’s training program focusing on sexual harassment and discrimination.

“I think they found the experience interesting, but I also think it gave them somewhat of a realistic idea that it’s not all Perry Mason,” Rosenthal says. The mother of Stephanie Rosenthal ’08 (New York, N.Y.), she first opened her office to Lafayette’s externship program last year.

“A lot of people in college don’t have a clue what it’s like to practice law,” she says “Committing to go to law school is a big commitment, and I thought that offering this experience would be helpful in the evaluation of whether to go or not.”

“Ms. Rosenthal took time to talk to us and answer our questions even though she had a lot of work to do,” Schaefer says. “It was really generous of her to share her time with us.”

“She was very welcoming and helpful,” Martini agrees. “I was very grateful to be given the opportunity to see what her daily routine is.”

Martini says he was drawn to the Sheppard Mullin externship because he has always been interested in pursuing a career in corporate and commercial litigation. However, his externship was an eye-opener.

“There were some allusions to what sort of lifestyle I’d have to live, what sort of hours I’d have to work,” he muses. “I might try to pursue a different type of law now.”

Schaefer became interested in pursuing a career in law last fall and had no idea what it would be like to work in a law firm. Her externship with Rosenthal provided some valuable insight into what her future might look like and confirmed she’s on the right career track, although, she says, she is now also considering criminal law as well as civil.

Martini volunteers with the Landis Community Center’s Kids in the Community and Pre-Orientation Service programs. He is a French tutor and plays club ice hockey.

Schaefer is a member of French Club and serves on the standards board of her sorority, Pi Beta Phi.

Categorized in: Academic News