Monday, May 21, 2018
Colleges

Think ahead to college internships: Platt Hopgood Attorneys at Law

Distract yourself from college applications by reading how one college student found a great summer internship. In the coming weeks we'll run more internship profiles. Just think how far ahead of the internship game you'll be!

David Costello, Melbourne

University of Florida senior

Major: English

Interned with: Platt Hopwood Attorneys at Law

How did you hear about the opportunity?

Mr. (Jack) Platt is a longtime friend of my family and was my baseball coach for three years. After the LSAT I felt I would benefit from some real-world experience with the law and contacted Mr. Platt. I was able to work with him and experience the day-to-day operations of a law firm for two weeks.

What were your duties?

I was charged with organizing incoming paperwork, sitting second chair in negotiations, and any other task Mr. Platt may have asked of me. However, each task was specifically designed to be instructional, rather than simple busywork, which I felt benefited me greatly.

What is something outsiders wouldn't know about working there?

Most people think that the law is constant trial work. In reality, the majority of a lawyer's job is preparing endlessly for trial, while also trying to bring in new business to the firm. Any lawyer hired at a firm must not only be an excellent attorney, but must also be able to bring cash flow into the firm through recommendations and word of mouth.

What was the best part of your internship?

I was allowed to be a part of every single negotiation, deposition or trial that occurred during my time there. I was introduced to many important business contacts that I will be able to maintain in the coming years, and it has given me a strong foundation to start my career.

What did you learn?

At one point during the internship Mr. Platt sat me down and asked, "Where is your line?" After asking him what he meant, he went on to say that every lawyer has a line that they draw in the sand, a distinction between the client they will defend and the client they simply cannot defend in good conscience. Like a quintessential prelaw student, I fired back the answer that "even if guilty, every person deserves a fair defense," to which he replied, "Yes, you're right, but not everyone deserves you." This piece of advice was without a doubt the most enlightening lesson I learned from Mr. Platt. In a profession associated with "questionable morals," it will forever stick with me when there comes a day when I need to decide if I can defend a murderer in good conscience.

Favorite moment as an intern there?

During a deposition, which is a prequestioning of a witness in an upcoming trial, I watched as Mr. Platt barraged a potential witness with striking questions until that witness made a mistake on record. Watching an experienced lawyer successfully nullify the testimony of a witness was a powerful thing to see and completely cemented my decision to practice law.

What advice would you share?

To not just use (an internship) as a line on a resume. The reason I loved my time in Mr. Platt's office is that every task was meant to be instructional. I learned more about the reality of working with the law in two weeks than I have in my entire time as a prelaw undergrad. These internships pose as opportunities to tap into a wealth of knowledge. All you have to do is grab it.

Kelly Price is a junior at UF and a former student editor of tb-two*.

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