Summer Experiences: Rising 2L Poojan Thakrar, Summer Associate, Stoel Rives
Rising 2L Poojan Thakrar spent his summer at the Minneapolis office of Stoel Rives, where he had the opportunity to sample a variety of practice areas, including renewables, corporate work, and litigation. Thakrar found the atmosphere of the firm very welcoming, and was appreciative that the lawyers took time out to grab coffee and meals with him and share their insights.
How did you connect with this summer opportunity?
I first met the folks at Stoel Rives at the Law School’s Meet the Market event in the fall. I was introduced myself and briefly heard about the attorneys’ day-to-day. During winter break, I applied to Stoel Rives through Twin Cities Diversity in Practice (TCDIP) and referenced my earlier interactions with them, which helped to put a face to the resume.
How does your experience connect with what you currently envision doing with your law degree?
I came into law school with experience in the solar industry and envisioned working in renewables after I graduate. Stoel Rives has helped me understand whether I like this practice area and has exposed me to different kinds of work within renewables (e.g., regulatory vs. transactional). The firm also exposed me to other practice areas, from corporate to litigation. These experiences allow me to make the most education decision after I graduate.
Please describe a “typical” workday on the job.
A typical day involved working on any of the various projects to which I was assigned. This ranged from a research memo on attorney-client privilege to a 50 state survey on privacy laws. I was also purposeful in talking to all the attorneys over lunch or coffee so that I can get a sense of what their “typical” workdays looked like.
What is something you learned or experienced that was surprising or particularly compelling during this summer position?
I found that I was interested in more practice areas than I initially thought. I spent undergrad and my two years after undergrad studying or working on sustainability. Because of this, I thought I would only like working on the renewable energy practice at Stoel Rives. However, I was surprised in that I really enjoyed other practice areas.
What are a couple of your key takeaways from the experience so far?
Summer associates should be open to a wide variety of opportunities, especially in the 1L summer. If you spend your 2L summer in a law firm, you often are assigned to a practice group, so 1L is the best time to explore.
How has your summer experience compared with your expectations?
The summer met my expectations regarding the kind of work I was doing. It was often smaller chunks of a large project and accessible to a student that only has one year of law school experience. However, Stoel Rives’ welcoming culture exceeded expectations. Colleagues were much more willing to grab coffee, give advice, and generally help than I expected.
What advice would you offer another law student thinking about working in a similar position next summer?
If you aren’t sure what kind of work you want to practice, I encourage Stoel Rives or a similar law firm. Take advantage of the freedom you have to choose projects in different practice areas. Also take advantage if you colleagues are open to grab coffee or lunch; I learned more from these conversations than actually doing my projects.
How are you spending your free time this summer?
A lot of the weekdays consisted of working, petitioning, and On-Campus Interviewing (OCI). However, during the weekends I took advantage of what Minneapolis has to offer during the summer, especially as an out-of-stater. This included the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, the Aquatennial, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
What are you most looking forward to in returning to Minnesota Law this fall?
I’m excited in being able to choose my own classes, including taking advantage of experiential classes. While 1L classes are important, after that you’re able to sculpt your own schedule. This includes adding experiential classes, which most lawyers say helped them in their career versus black-letter-law classes.