By Digital Risk Legal Intern Jacob Hoffman
Twelve interns. Ten weeks. One chance. As an intern in Digital Risk’s Summer Legal Internship Program, my experience has a short and definitive expiration date, consisting of only one shot, one open door and one opportunity to make an impact. I personally find the internship concept to be beneficial for growth, however rather unusual in practice. While all interns have different motives, the experience is somewhat universal. Interns receive a quick introduction, a short window to bind together, and then a whirlwind journey of getting up to speed, contributing immediately, networking as rapidly as possible, and capitalizing on every opportunity to pick the brains of the company’s thought leaders and mentors. At first it felt as though I was moving at warp speeds, but now I’d compare it to more of a light jog.
Similar to a rollercoaster, the experience is usually over just as quickly as it begins. There isn’t much time to reflect on the adventure until it’s over, so the everyday ride often becomes lost to the bigger picture. As we approach the halfway point in our internship, I write this Blog to understand and appreciate that ride up to this point.
To start, why did I choose a legal internship with Digital Risk? My other options included a sports agency in D.C. and a traditional firm on the Florida gulf coast. With an undergraduate degree in finance and management, I feel drawn toward a business-related legal immersion. While it would be fascinating to work with an Olympic medalist, there is, in my opinion, no better avenue for a JD/MBA candidate to explore than an opportunity that blends functions of law and business into one package. Rising 2Ls, a phrase tossed among the law community that simply means second-year law students, rarely receive the opportunity to intern alongside in-house attorneys without having an inside connection. This needle-in-the-haystack experience of getting real-world experience with leading corporate attorneys is what Digital Risk originally offered to me. So, has that offer lived up to my expectations?
Debbie Hoffman, our Chief Legal Officer with a terrific last name, is my mentor. As a Hoffman myself, we frequently have to disclaim to others that we are not related, but I still often sense quite a bit of doubt—especially from my fellow interns who continue to quiz me on the extent of our “relation” to this day. She has been fantastic thus far by including me on multiple projects, introducing me face-to-face to company executives, such as our President and Managing Partner Alex Santos, sharing lunch and advice and communicating with me almost daily.
Every day, I work on different projects. Today, I am writing a blog post, working with attorneys to draft an employee handbook policy and assessing implications of meeting RESPA compliance. During my short tenure, I also worked alongside the company’s attorneys on Department of State on business entity issues, testing production data for the Finance team, sifting through hundreds of client contract provisions, as well as built the largest binder ever (~1,000 pages) with trademark information and drafted legal notices. You can even find a link to one of my projects, an attorney referral list, on the company home page. Yes, that was a shameless plug, and you should absolutely utilize it!
Outside of work tasks, we receive valuable insight, guidance from Digital Risk team members (they call themselves D-Riskers) and affiliates through educational lecture series. We also watch online webinars concerning industry hot topics. Occasionally, we have been invited to attend networking events with organizations, such as Commercial Real Estate Women, the Association of Corporate Counsel and the Orange County Bar Association. Socially, we play softball, attend happy hours, cheer(ed) on the U.S. Soccer Team (they had a good run), and even take trips to Disney and Universal.
In short, these 5 weeks have been exactly what I was hoping to gain from my legal internship experience, with some extra goodies thrown in along the way, and the glass is still only half full. Cheers to the remaining half of my internship!