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What Did You do Last Summer? Law Students Share Their Experiences in D.C.

Brad Dunkle, Guest, Laure VanHook, and Noah Goertemiller

Each summer second and third-year law students have the opportunity to spend their summer gaining professional experience as they intern with law firms, businesses, and in government offices. Great training ground, it provides an opportunity to get a “bird’s eye view” of a typical day in the life of an attorney. This summer, several law students spent their summer in Washington D.C.  Meet two of them: Lauren VanHook and Brad Dunkle.

Lauren VanHook, a second year student from Mason, Ohio, spent her summer working at the United States Small Business Administration in the Office of the National Ombudsman. The National Ombudsman acts as a liaison between businesses and federal agencies. The Office receives comments from small businesses regarding their concerns, which are then forwarded to federal agencies for a high level review; federal agencies are asked to review/consider the fairness of their enforcement action.

At the Small Business Administration, VanHook worked with Yolanda Swift, a UC Law alumna, who serves as Acting National Ombudsman.  VanHook handled a wide range of projects. For example, she assisted small businesses with navigating federal regulations, helped with the appeals process, talked to federal agencies, and did work concerning regulatory fairness hearings.  One of the coolest experiences was seeing how her work helped to change an application for a regulation.  VanHook is very active at UC Law, functioning as treasurer in the Student Bar Association.

Brad Dunkle is another student who spent his summer in DC. A 2L from Huntington, West Virginia, he completed his undergraduate studies at Marshall University. After working as a teacher for several years, Dunkle decided to return to the classroom as a student.  At the College he is involved in numerous organizations and clubs, including UC’s Law Review and Phi Alpha Delta. 

Dunkle worked alongside VanHook and Swift at the Small Business Administration.  There, he was responsible for organizing regulatory hearings, assisting with environmental requests, and also completing work relating to how the Affordable Care Act affects small businesses. 

What’s Great About D.C.?

Both VanHook and Dunkle liked the challenge of working in the capital. Interested in working in the business sector, they wanted to explore the possibility of working in Washington in the future. Thus, in addition to their internship assignments, they also were able to network with legislators and others, including Ohio’s Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman; Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia; and UC Law alum Neil Chatterjee, Energy Policy Advisor to Senator Mitch McConnell; and Major General John Altenburg, Jr., of counsel at Greenberg Traurig also a UC Law alum.

VanHook said that she really enjoyed exploring the city, from the well-known monuments and museums to the lesser-known gems that each city calls their own.  Dunkle shared that he enjoyed his experience so much that he is planning on returning for UC Law’s Catalyst program this fall. 

Both students recommended their D.C. adventures to students looking for professional experience and exposure on a national level. They admonished, though: just watch out for that D.C. traffic!