Ashley Mallon is a junior on the UGA Swimming & Diving Team. She is currently studying Public Relations and had the opportunity to participate in an internship with Cook & Tolley LLP Law Firm during the summer of 2017.
If I could sum up my experience working for Cook & Tolley Law Firm this summer in one phrase, it would be “eye-opening”. To further break that phrase down, I truly experienced what it is like to be in the atmosphere of a law firm and all the nooks and crannies of being an attorney as well as working for attorneys.
I began my job at Cook & Tolley Law Firm in late May and finished in late July working for the firm. I had a variety of tasks that were given to me to do. In the beginning, I mainly worked the front desk and handled all the client-attorney communication, as well as doing anything necessary in order to help the lawyers as well as their clients. Cook & Tolley LLP does a large proportion of real estate law, which I never knew would be so complex. I worked mainly with the real estate department throughout my time there at the firm, whether it would be running checks and documents to other attorney offices or to the Athens-Clarke Superior Court across the street from the firm.
I was very blessed to develop a solid relationship with every person in the firm in my time there. I built some great friendships as well as some great contacts for the future that I know I could rely on for recommendations or maybe even a job or two. They really invested in me and my potential for the future. I also got to know what it was like to put hard work into something that wasn’t school or swimming-related. I would leave work many days and be wiped because of all that had gone on that day at work. I also experienced what it was like working 9-10 hour workdays then going home and attempting to get everything else I needed done, done. Along with swimming before work, it showed me that being a student-athlete along with working a job takes lots of endurance and not much sleep is allotted. I learned so much about practicing law and the little details that go into every deposition, every trial, every real estate closing, every will, etc. It was so eye-opening to all the hard work that goes into these contracts and it really made me appreciate the little thing in life we take for granted.
This experience for me was oriented around the goal of figuring out if this is what I want to do in my life and whether I should pursue law school or not after finishing my undergraduate degree here at UGA. I luckily now understand that law school is definitely a career path I want to go down. I am so thankful for this experience and all the people who helped me get this position from UGA Athletics. One of the pieces of advice I have now after working this summer is to recommend it to any student-athlete that has an interest in a certain career or profession but isn’t sure if they are meant for that specific lifestyle. I would recommend taking a risk and trying to work in the area you want to pursue, don’t wait till you’ve walked across that stage and received your diploma for something you “think” is what you’re going to be good at. Experience is the greatest gift I could have received. I felt like I learned more this summer working than I would have taking classes this summer. I had to become an adult and learn to manage in ways I never have before whilst being in college. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I couldn’t thank Cook & Tolley LLP enough!