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July 27, 2012

By: Justine Burke
Justine has completed her first year of study at the University of Georgia School of Law and is one of three students participating in the 2012 pilot of the InteRDom Correspondent Program. She is participating in the 2012 10-week Graduate and Gap Year Program. You can read more about her, her interest in the Correspondent Program and her career ambitions here.

When I tell people that I am a rising second year law school student, after congratulating me on being so brave, the first question that they usually ask me is “So what kind of law do you want to practice?” And the truth is, up until now, I had no idea. I’ve always had an idea of the areas of law in which I could see myself practicing and those that I could not. Criminal law? Not for me. Some realm of international or property law? Maybe. Day after day, I waited for some kind of sign or some realization to hit me… and that time has finally come.

This week at my internship, I worked with a lawyer, R, who is the manager of the litigation and settlements department of the company. The insurance company that I work for, being the largest in the Dominican Republic, insures many of the hotels and resorts that are located throughout the country. And where there are foreign tourists, law suits are sure to follow! I reviewed endless cases about tourists sustaining personal injuries stemming from small slips and falls to burns resulting from bar fires. Because many of the hotels and resorts have their headquarters or principal places of business in the United States– Florida to be exact– many of the complaints were being litigated in the United States. While this may sound boring to others, I found myself absolutely enthralled!

Complaints, answers, and motions to dismiss on the grounds of forum non conveniens? I couldn’t get enough. Page after page, I found myself completely absorbed in reading the case details and imagining how I would begin to prepare memoranda discussing both the particulars of the cases and possible outcomes at trial. I was so excited to see abstract concepts that I had learned during my first year of law come to life.

By the end of my first day working with R, I knew that this was what I wanted to do! Working as an attorney for a firm that represents large corporations such as hotels and resorts incorporated in the United States, but with locations abroad, would allow me to combine my interests in both torts and international law. Who knew it would take traveling to the Dominican Republic for me to discover what I wanted to do following graduation!

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