2L’s Share How they got their Summer Legal Experience: Working with SkyWest Airlines & as a Boren Fellow in South Korea


Scott Hutchison—Boren Fellowship in South Korea

 How did you learn about the position? Anneliese sent an email about becoming a Boren Fellow and it piqued my interest.  I knew I wanted to study in Korea but didn’t have the money to self-finance the trip, so I spent winter break writing essays for the fellowship.  I found out about the Fordham-Sungkyunkwan University program from one of the legal magazines in the lobby that had a special article on summer study-abroad programs.

How did you apply and what was the application process like?  The Fordham-SKKU program application was easy.  I just filled out a paper with my preferences for classes, internship and housing and emailed it off.  The Boren application was time-consuming.  I had to have three letters of recommendation, one letter vouching for my Korean language ability, and I had to submit four essays and a detailed budget.

What was a typical day or week at your position like? My classes in Korea were intense.  We covered about 75 pages of text a day and were in class for about seven hours a day, but getting those credits were worth it.  There were about 75 students in my program and we’d go explore different restaurants and night spots almost every night; it was really great!  We went to clubs, museums, karaoke, ball games and even a Kanye West concert.  My internship with the general counsel for Samsung was very educational.  I worked in the insurance section and was assigned a different project every week.  For one week I got to apply what we studied in civ pro to get a case removed, I did a lot of subregation claims, I reviewed a number of significant contracts and I got to research and write memos on insurance laws in the US (all 50 states), the Cayman Islands, UAE and Saudi Arabia.  As part of my fellowship, I took Korean language classes twice a week, studied the Korean judiciary and put together a Korean legal vocabulary list.

What was the coolest part about the position?  The coolest part of the internship was seeing how the skills I’ve learned in law school actually apply in real life.  It showed me that practicing law is something I really enjoy, and that I could be very happy in a transactional setting.  I also loved that I got to use Korean as a dimension to the law.  I got to see how differently lawyers are viewed in Korea and how there are things the US legal system could learn from the Koreans in terms or court structure and efficiency. 

What did you gain from the experience? I gained a wealth of knowledge in insurance law; a legal field I knew nothing about before coming to Korea.  I got valuable contacts and letters of recommendation from my professors and the supervising attorneys I worked with.  I got to meet law students from different law schools and make great friends.  The most valuable thing I gained as a Boren Fellow is a Schedule A hiring priority from the US Government, which makes it easier for fellows to get government jobs 

What advice would you offer future applicants? Have a good, structured plan.  The Boren Fellowship was not my first choice for how I wanted to spend the summer, but it was such an amazing experience.  I applied to over thirty firms and didn’t even get an interview, but it was the perseverance and thinking outside the “firm” box that helped me gain some awesome experience this summer.

(For more information about Boren Fellowships, go to http://www.borenawards.org/boren_fellowship)


Tyson Hafen, Intern with SkyWest Airlines

How did you learn about the position, and how did you apply and what was the application process like?  I worked as a legal intern in SkyWest Airlines’ Office of Government and Legal Affairs.  I didn’t know if SkyWest even had a legal department, so I called them up one day, found out that they did, and got the email address of one of the paralegals and sent her an email expressing my interest and asking if they would consider creating a summer legal clerkship for me.  They created the legal clerk position and posted it on their company website, and I filled out all the formal application materials online. One week later one of their in-house attorneys was in SLC for a meeting and called and asked if I was free for dinner.  We met, had dinner, discussed the internship, and he offered me the job at the end of dinner.

What was a typical day or week at your position like?  There ended up being two interns hired for the summer, me and a 2L from BYU’s law school.  I was only required to work 20 hours a week, but usually put in about 30.  I worked on everything from sexual harassment suits, wrongful termination and drug-testing issues, to cases related to FAA fines/regulations.  Working at the SkyWest Airlines’ headquarters in St. George (approx. 500 employees in St. George, 10,000+ across the country) was awesome.  It is a great company with a lot of young professionals working there, we had a lot of fun.  I also spent a lot of time with the paralegals/attorneys in the office (e.g., the whole legal dept. goes to a matinee movie every Thursday for lunch, etc.).  We had a lot of fun but also worked really hard while in the office.

What was the coolest part about the position?  The coolest part of the internship was definitely the FLIGHT BENEFITS!  SkyWest operates all of the United Express and Delta Connection flights, which means I got to fly for FREE on both Delta and United, which basically opens up the whole world.  Me and the other intern from BYU flew to Tokyo, Amsterdam, Dubai, Mexico City, Guadalajara, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, etc., during the summer.  Your parents/spouse also get to fly for free, so I took my parents to both Fairbanks Alaska and Honolulu for a few days each, it was great.  As an airline employee, you also get bumped to first class if there are seats available, which makes 14 hour international flights actually enjoyable.  Because we only had to work 20 hours a week, we were able to travel for about 3-5 days every week, it was incredible.  We would usually just stay in hostels and mainly get our food from cheap street vendors, so all of our trips were super cheap.  My flight benefits actually don’t expire until next summer, so I can still fly for free right now.  Do whatever you can to get a legal internship with an airline, you won’t regret it!

What did you gain from the experience and what advice do you have for applicants? My advice for 1L’s would be to think outside the box when looking for internships.  Although I had several spring OCI’s, none of the them panned out, so I was nervous to have to find a job on my own.  However, there are so many law firms and companies with in-house counsel out there, just do a little homework, apply to all the firms/companies you wouldn’t mind spending the summer with (I sent approximately 10 applications to non-OCI firms/companies), and something will work out.  After working as a legal clerk to in-house counsel at a large company, I never want to work at a law firm.  The quality of life for attorney’s working in-house for a business is the difference between night and day according to the SkyWest attorneys (who all previously worked for large firms).  I think the most important thing I learned over the summer is that there are a lot more appealing career options in the legal field than just spending your life billing hours at a big firm.

If anyone has any questions about getting a job at SkyWest, let me know.  I suspect they will hire 2-3 legal clerks next summer because I think they enjoyed having us there.