From the Mountainside to the Capitol. By: Riley Snyder


When I first decided to go to DC this fall semester for my internship, I did not know what to expect at all. During the process of searching for programs and internships, I was determined to work somewhere in a federal agency, public policy or lobbying firm. So when I finally arrived in the city committed to working in an international law firm, I was even more anxious about what was to come. My internship was 9-5 Monday through Thursday in a big downtown law firm, with classes and events every Friday and plenty of activities in between. Coming from a summer internship in a somewhat sleepy senatorial office in Colorado Springs, CO, this was a huge change. The firm had almost 500 employees, 10 levels and countless departments. Each day after scanning into my part of the building and greeting the two other interns at the firm, I would begin my busy day. There were 5 heads of the next law global affairs network we primarily worked for that I would consider my bosses, and they resided everywhere from DC to Houston to LA to South Korea. This means that not only did I account each day for the jobs each boss had, but for the time difference and the deadlines they required. After checking my email and voicemail, I would prioritize my tasks for the day. This was one of the most difficult parts of my internship, as I often would have to make these decisions with no guidance as to what was most urgent or important. After working for about an hour, I would usually receive a call from my DC-based boss about the projects he was working on and have to reprioritize and adjust accordingly. All of the heads of the departments were extremely busy during the month I spent in DC preparing for an upcoming conference in Seoul, so there was a tangible and understandable lapse in communication between them. This is one aspect where I feel I played a critical role, bridging communication between my bosses when they were too busy to communicate with each other. I was also able to learn a lot more about my style of work because I had so much agency in my schedule and what tasks I had to do. Plus overcoming language barriers and cultural differences to work well with the other interns was a very important experience for me. They were both also a few years older and had graduated with law degrees in Gibraltar, their home country, so they were able to offer me some unique insights and advice. The most impactful lesson from my time in DC, however, is that I learned that my interest and passion truly doesn’t lie in the field of a law firm, rather in a place where I can directly help people through writing and passing policy. This realization came not only through my work at the firm, but from a few extracurricular speakers, I attended who worked in policy and really encouraged me to explore the field. Overall, my time in DC was very transformative and an experience that will definitely shape my career path in the future.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *