What I Learned in My Summer as a Legal Intern

By Dani Meyer

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Going into the dreaded internship application season, I never imagined that I would be dedicating my summer to work as a legal intern. I’m majoring in international affairs and Arabic, I wasn’t focused on getting a legal internship, and I didn’t apply to any other law firms. But working with Christy and her team has been an incredible summer and I could not be happier that I chose to come in as their intern.

There were a lot of learning moments during my first summer working with a law firm. I learned that Christy loves to talk about Clio (a law software), learned how to monitor social media data, and learned that I can’t bring a metal fork into the courtroom! Yes, for all you courthouse novices out there, a fork is considered a weapon! I learned that I love working in a small, women-run office, and that I love working with women who inspire me to always give them my best work. But most importantly, I learned how absolutely dedicated Christy, Megan, and Elizabeth are to the practice of family law, and that’s what makes Z Family Law special.

Christy, our fearless leader, spends her weekends in the office. And as she’s told me, time and again, family law is what she lives for. She loves going to work, because this work is what she loves to do. She has always wanted to be a family lawyer, and it truly shows. Her dedication to her clients is matched only by her love of her (and Megan’s) dogs. She doesn’t just want to be a great lawyer; she wants to change the way we look at divorce. I come from a family of divorce, and there was always a stigma that I felt. I was sometimes ashamed to tell my friends, and I never asked for a second textbook from my teachers so that I could have one at both houses. In fact, the first friend I ever told only found out that my parents were divorced when I brought her to my dad’s house for the first time. But Christy wants to change that. She wants everyone to understand that being divorced doesn’t have to be a moral failing, and it doesn’t mean that your marriage failed – it just ended, and that’s ok.

Megan is the most detail-oriented person I’ve ever met. She keeps Christy’s schedule and keeps us all on task with a military precision that I greatly admire. She’s always there to make sure we’re being realistic with our goals, and are able to do what we set our minds to do. Quiet and serious, Megan is the rock of the office. And, of course, Megan makes sure that we always break down cardboard boxes before we put them in the recycling bin. She and Christy have been friends since college – and that’s one of the best things about Z Family Law. Everyone in the office isn’t trying to upstage each other, or make someone else look bad. They are all truly there to help each other be the best they can be.

Elizabeth is the one who first brought me into the fold. As my favorite professor at GW, she pushed me as a student and as a researcher to always look at the underlying structures of our society, why things are the way they are. Elizabeth is the dreamer of the team, the one who pushes us towards the stars. She is always coming up with daring plans and harebrained schemes that just might work if we all work our absolute hardest. Since I’ve met her, Elizabeth has not only earned her PhD, but also shown me how to be a successful woman while also lifting up those around you. She’s shown me that being at the top of your field doesn’t mean you’re putting everyone around you down, but exactly the opposite – at the top of your field, it is your job to lift everyone else up.

These hardworking, dedicated, intelligent, amazing women are the reason that my summer has been so incredible. They trusted me, encouraged me, and laughed at me when I had to turn my fork in to courthouse security (don’t worry, I got my trusty fork back!). So what I have learned above all is that being good at your job takes more than being smart or having the best degree. It’s doing work that you love, and knowing that, if you work hard enough, you can change your little piece of the world.