Thanks to ABA fellowship, Brandeis 2L explores new practice

Thanks to ABA fellowship, Brandeis 2L explores new practice

Brandeis 2L Samantha Wright, second from left, spent most of her summer in the Office of Consumer Protection in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. She is shown here with other law students and Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Samantha Wright spent 10 weeks of her summer at Kentucky’s Office of Consumer Protection, an experience she says has influenced her career goals.

But it wasn’t long ago that Wright, a 2L at the Brandeis School of Law, was unfamiliar with the areas of consumer protection and antitrust law. Her interest was piqued when she read a brochure about the areas at the law school.

“It was a public service job but it still had some litigation,” Wright says. “I don’t want to litigate criminally but I figured litigating big business that is lying to consumers is a good way to get involved.”

Working with the law school's Office of Professional Development, she applied for the ABA Antitrust Law Janet D. Steiger Fellowship. This prestigious, paid fellowship is offered in only a few states every year.

“Each of the highly motivated Steiger Fellows provides tangible, meaningful assistance to states and territories that are in substantial need of additional resources to fulfill their consumer protection mission. Offices that have hosted Steiger Fellows in the past have characterized the Fellows’ work as exemplary, and have often described the students as some of the most talented interns the offices have ever attracted,” states the ABA.

Wright was exposed to a variety of tasks during her time with the Office of Consumer Protection in the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office.

“It was good to see how the day-to-day of an attorney would work because when I graduate law school, I want to know what to expect,” she says. “Everyone there was open. They took my questions. Their doors were always open. It was a really good learning experience — a lot of hands-on work. The first week I started I did a timeline for a case that had been pending for 14 years.”

When it comes to pursuing high-profile opportunities like the Steiger Fellowship, Wright encourages students to think big. 

“Don’t be afraid to try. This was not something that I ever thought I’d be awarded or interested in, but it was a really great opportunity,” she says. “And it just came from me picking up a pamphlet and taking a chance on myself.”

After she completed the fellowship, Wright didn’t take it easy for the rest of the summer. Instead, she started a six-week placement with Judge Denise Clayton in the Kentucky Court of Appeals.

“I wanted to make the most of my summer,” she says. At the Court of Appeals, Wright worked on an opinion and was able to improve her legal writing and get feedback from staff attorneys.

She credits the Office of Professional Development with helping her with that position as well. She received advice on how to apply for the position, how to communicate with a judge and how to apply for funding from the Samuel L. Greenebaum Public Service Program. Because the job with the Court of Appeals is unpaid, the Greenebaum program offered a way for Wright to receive funding.

The Greenebaum program offers several opportunities for students interested in public service, including summer fellowships and public service internships.

Two other Brandeis Law students, Erin Shaughnessy and Miles Tichenor, third and fifth from the left, also worked in the Office of Consumer Protection.