An American University Washington College of Law 2L student spent part of the summer working on litigation matters at Mayer Brown and another part in-house at eBay.

Mayer Brown and eBay Inc. are wrapping up the first year of their Summer Fellowship Diversity Program in conjunction with the American University Washington College of Law. The program gave one law student insight on what it means to be outside counsel and in-house counsel.

Second-year student Britteny Leyva spent part of the summer working on litigation matters at Mayer Brown and another part in-house at eBay.

Leyva said in an email to Corporate Counsel that data privacy litigation has been an interest during her first two years of law school at American University. Working at Mayer Brown and in eBay’s legal department has solidified that interest.

“It’s not often that you see both in-house and law firm perspectives in a single summer, an experience that will distinguish me from my peers as I enter my legal career,” Leyva said. “I feel blessed that I was given the privilege of participating in this extraordinary program, and equally as proud that I am representing AUWCL.”

Patricia Svilik, senior counsel of product, commercial and intellectual property at eBay, said students interning in the legal department focus on a “broad variety of real work assignments.”

“They’re helping the privacy team, they worked with the IP team, the M&A team and the corporate securities team,” Svilik said.

In February, eBay along with other companies such as Facebook and Uber partnered with 12 firms, including Mayer Brown, to launch the Technology Diversity Collaborative  in hope of giving attention to law students at schools where big law firms do not often recruit from. That program focused on first-year students while the Mayer Brown and eBay program accepts one second-year student from American University’s law school.

Svilik said the program serves to broaden law firms’ recruiting practices.

“We’re bringing [law firms] top talent from schools they typically do not recruit from and we’re showing them they’re smart, the hope is that they’ll reconsider some of those traditional recruiting methods,” she said.

John Nadolenco, a partner in Los Angeles at Mayer Brown, explained he had been in discussions with eBay on a diversity program. Months later, he spoke to Camille Nelson, dean of the American University Washington School of Law, about starting a program for students interested in tech law. After connecting with eBay and conducting a full day’s worth of interviews, coordinators selected Leyva as the first summer associate for the program.

“It is so hard for law students to get insight into what it’s like to be on the client side of something,” Nadolenco said. “To really deliver outstanding client service, you have to understand the client side of it.”

It is rare for legal departments to hire attorneys who do not already have in-house experience, Svilik said. “Having that experience would set them apart and give them a competitive advantage over their peers.”

Nadolenco said his practice focuses on diversity. “We understand that the more diverse lawyer group we can offer and the variety of viewpoints we get is always helpful to clients.”

Mayer Brown paid entirely for its part of the program, Nadolenco said. For now, students from American University Washington College of Law will be considered for the program, he said, but the program has the potential to later add more corporate partners.


Reprinted with permission from the July 26, 2019 edition of Corporate Counsel © 2019 ALM Properties, Inc. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited.