Boyd Students Get Chance at the Corporate World

Thu, 07/26/2012

Association of Corporate CounselThe Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) has teamed up with the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law to create internships in the field of corporate law for Boyd’s law students.

Three companies – The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, NV Energy and Southwest Gas Corporation – selected four Boyd students to work as corporate interns on a paid basis over the summer.

“We want [the interns] to have the full experience of being at an in-house counsel office,” said Elda Sidhu, Immediate Past President of the ACC and General Counsel for UNLV. “The goal was to ensure they have interaction with the in-house attorneys and that [the attorneys] expose them to another opportunity, which is that of being an in-house attorney and not just going into a law firm.”

She added that besides working with the attorneys, the interns would get the chance to network by attending summer CLE social events and luncheons hosted by the ACC.

“The goal is to give experience, and I hope that students will find assignments and activities that will benefit the students as well as the companies,” she said. 

That has been the case with NV Energy so far.

“Part of it is to support the law school in their pursuit to put their students into the community,” said Mike Eason, Associate General Counsel for NV Energy, “and also, we had a lot of stuff that we wanted to get done.”

For Matthew Vantusko, who is interning at NV Energy, the Corporate Summer Internship Program is a chance to put what he’s learned in law school to use.  “I’m interested in practical experience, so the variety of tasks attracted me,” Vantusko said. “So far I have revised power, natural gas, and labor contracts.  Also, I prepared internal documents and memos involving issues of corporate governance, securities law, human resources, labor relations, and tribal law.”
Sabrina Dolson, who also interns at NV Energy, feels that she is getting great hands-on experience.

“It’s been going great so far,” Dolson said.  “During my internship, I have worked on revising company policies, drafting an opposition to motion for summary judgment, and researching and drafting informative memos.”

Dawn Davis, a joint JD/MBA student interning at Southwest Gas Corporation, has also gained experience in a variety of areas. 

“So far I have drafted an employee benefits plan/charter, edited the corporation's Flight Operations Manual, helped create a labor law presentation to executive management, written a few memos about litigation strategies, edited and added to the corporation's mergers and acquisitions checklist, and handled other smaller projects related to issues and questions arising within the corporation,” Davis said.

Ben Reitz, who is also a joint JD/MBA student and is interning at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, said he feels that he has already had plenty of opportunities himself.

“I actually met everyone on the legal team, and it’s a great team. They’ve all been kind and welcoming,” Reitz said. “I’m really enjoying myself. I hope that I’ve been able to contribute to their operation to some extent.”

Jenny King, executive assistant at the Cosmopolitan, said that Reitz has been of great use so far.

“Ben’s been extremely helpful and ready to take on any project,” King said. “We want to see that he gets a full flavor of all the different legal issues that can arise in a corporate casino environment.”

King added that she wanted to show the distinctions between corporate law and other types of law practice.

“One thing that’s important is knowing what your client’s goals are,” she said. “I think in the business context it’s a matter of what you want to do. We’re concerned not just with what we can legally do but what’s good for the business.”

According to Layke Stolberg, Boyd’s Director of Career Services, the program does not only to provide exposure to careers in corporate legal departments, but also gives students the unique opportunity to learn first-hand how the organizations operate.

“Although many corporate legal departments do not hire graduates directly out of law school,” Stolberg said, “when the students who are participating in this program are representing these or other companies as outside counsel in years to come, they will have a greater understanding of their clients’ perspectives, which will be a tremendous asset to both the students and the companies.”

The interns’ time runs through the summer. This is the inaugural year of the program.