Minnesota Law

Summer 2023
For the Record

Student Summer Experience: Marina Berardino, 3L

Marina Berardino, 3L, is from Plymouth, Minnesota. She attended Boston University where she studied political science. This year, she worked as a summer associate at Sullivan & Cromwell in its New York office. Marina will spend fall semester studying as an exchange student at University College Dublin Sutherland School of Law. She will also work as a legal writing student instructor and as a managing editor for Minnesota Law Review

Marina Berardino, 3L

How did you connect with or find this summer opportunity?

I found this opportunity through Minnesota Law’s OCI program the summer after my 1L year. Going into OCI I knew I wanted to work at a large law firm, so I applied broadly to many New York offices. My career counselor, Wendy Griak, was extremely helpful in preparing me for interviews and helping me make the decision to come to S&C for the summer.  


How does your experience connect with what you currently envision doing with your law degree? 

I want to be involved in SEC and DOJ investigations, whether it be on the government or the defense side. Being a summer associate at S&C has given me tremendous insight into what that kind of career will look like. I primarily worked on SEC investigations this summer and had the opportunity to interact with partners who have returned to S&C after successful careers in leadership at the SEC and as Assistant United States Attorneys. This experience solidified my interest in working in the Criminal Defense and Investigations Group at S&C after law school. 


Please describe a “typical” workday on the job.

While no day is “typical,” I usually spend my morning working on whatever research assignment I have for the week. I will get lunch with either other summer associates or associates at the firm. In the afternoon, I might attend a practice group meeting where they highlight interesting cases S&C lawyers in the group have been working on. I will then go for a coffee run, wrap up my to-do list, and head out to either go home or attend one of the many events held for the summer associates throughout the summer. 


What is something you learned or experienced that was surprising or particularly compelling during this summer position? 

Throughout the summer, I attended several meetings with an individual client where the team prepared him for testimony in front of the SEC. I had not expected to be able to sit in on any of these meetings. It turned out to be such an impactful learning experience for me. It made the work I was doing feel much more human when dealing with an individual client, as opposed to a corporation as the client. 


What are a couple of your key takeaways from the experience so far?

It is normal and ok to feel confused when starting a new project because being a lawyer, especially a newer one, is a constant state of learning about new industries and issues. Also, finding a job that has a supportive and collaborative culture makes all the difference. 


How has your summer experience compared with your expectations?

This summer exceeded my expectations in terms of the kinds of work I was able to help with and how much work there is to do in the Criminal Defense and Investigations Group at S&C. Each assignment I worked on handled complex and novel issues, showing me that S&C cases and clients challenge the lawyers there every day. 


What advice would you offer another law student thinking about working in a similar position next summer?

Apply early and broadly! Also, everyone works differently and has different goals, so do not compare yourself to others in the same role.


How are you spending your free time this summer?

Spending time with friends, trying so many delicious restaurants, and exploring the City! 


What are you most looking forward to in returning to Minnesota Law this fall?

I am most excited for my semester abroad in Dublin with my two best law school friends, Emma and Olivia. I hope to return to Minnesota Law in the spring with a new perspective from my time abroad.