Summer Job Diary: As Legislative Intern, Student Sees Full Cycle of a Law

Sayeh Dalen
Sayeh Dayen ’19

Sayeh Dayen ’19 is spending her summer as a legislative intern for California State Sen. Robert M. Hertzberg and a summer associate at Ravid Law Group, a real estate firm in downtown Los Angeles. These positions are providing her the opportunity to see the process of drafting legislation and the application of that legislation in a real world setting.   

How did you land your summer job?

I met Sen. Hertzberg while working at a law firm the summer before I began law school, and he gave me valuable advice about law school and my career path. After completing my first semester at Loyola, I emailed him asking about a potential internship. A week later, one of his staffers scheduled an interview with me, and I was able to secure the position.

How did the Career Development Office help you secure the position?

The Career Development Office, particularly my counselor Assistant Director of Career Development Jill Myers and Assistant Dean for Employer Engagement Graham Sherr, was instrumental in helping me land these positions. We exchanged countless emails and had numerous meetings discussing my resume, questions or concerns I had, and even how to answer specific interview questions. I felt extremely confident during all of my interviews, and know that I owe much of that to the Career Development Office.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

I find it extremely rewarding when I can apply my legal knowledge along with my research and writing skills to real-world issues. This was particularly true when I was tasked with investigating the ways in which a contract service can improve workplace efficiency – a topic covered in my Innovation Law class this past semester. I also appreciate that I am able to observe first-hand the legislative process of drafting laws one side, then applying those laws at a law firm.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?

The most challenging aspect of the job is learning how to view and analyze public policy issues. This position requires looking at issues with a more critical view of the gray areas than a typical law school class or at a firm.

What new skill(s) have you acquired during your summer job?

I think my networking and public relations skills have improved. The connections I have made, and continue to make, will follow me through my legal career. I am extremely grateful for that. I also have spent much more time focusing on public policy, a topic not discussed much during first-year law classes.

How has your Loyola education helped you make a difference in your placement?

Knowing how the legal system works before attempting to make changes within it has been extremely helpful.  One of my projects was researching the feasibility of creating a statewide PACER system – an area with which I was already familiar because of my Legal Research course.

What LLS courses have you found most helpful to your position? Please explain.

The most helpful course for my position has been my legal research and writing course. It helped sharpen my research skills and made my writing more clear, concise and accurate. Much of my current work requires the use of legal research skills and an ability to navigate through legal databases such as Westlaw and LexisNexis which I learned how to use my first year at Loyola. 

In what additional ways has Loyola helped you map your career path?

There are so many counselors, professors and even other students willing to help that it is almost impossible to feel lost or confused. Loyola is a tightly knit community of people who want to help and uplift others. I would never have made it through any of my interviews, or found my summer jobs, without the counselors at Loyola. I also wouldn’t be able to do my work efficiently and accurately without the skills I learned from my professors.