Summer Intern Diaries-Working at Houlon Berman: It’s Not All Fun and Brains

I have survived my first week as an intern at Houlon Berman without any intern horror stories to report!  I’m sure I will have a battle with the copier or some telephone system screw up to report soon, but not so far. In this week’s blog, I will share my initial observations and lessons on life at a law firm and in the practice of law, both exciting and mundane.

Constant Preparation

What I have seen most clearly so far is that lawyers are constantly preparing behind the scenes for court, depositions, discovery or whatever.  It’s not so glamorous but it is easy to see how important it is!  And in helping to prepare a criminal case, I had my first CSI moment: I came upon very gory crime scene photos of… let’s just say “biological” material.  (Email me if you want to know exactly what I saw in those photos.)  Analyzing them made me feel like a forensic investigator as I tried to figure out how best to organize the photos and related reports, etc.

Each day presents a new obstacle to overcome and a new client to aid. The attorneys at Houlon Berman have already showed me that they handle a wide variety of cases and treat them all with the same commitment and expertise.

The Mundane

In opposition to my TV moment earlier in the week, I came to realize a major part of being an attorney is about completing grunt work. Cases do not open and close in an hour like a TV episode.  Quite the opposite is true.  Things seem to take forever. A key aspect of being a great attorney is staying on top of your work. Even though I’ve only been interning for just over a week, I’ve witnessed countless examples of how the least glamorous responsibilities of being an attorney may very well be the most important.

Discussing Cases

I was surprised that the lawyers even talk about their cases at lunch.  My first lunch with them was to this great Peruvian chicken place; each lawyer took a turn talking about a case.  I could see how the chance to talk about cases and bounce ideas off of each other could help them get ideas and help our clients.

A Prepared Attorney Makes a Great Attorney

I can already tell from the countless hours of reading and research, to the organization of case materials, a prepared attorney makes a great attorney. A lot of work goes in to the cases outside the courtroom that may not seem the most intriguing, but critical to an attorney’s success. Even though some parts of an attorney’s job may be more appealing than others, I have seen how some of the less exciting responsibilities of being an attorney truly make all of the difference.

I hope everyone follows along to hear more lessons and experiences I encounter. To get updates directly and follow this blog, “like” Houlon Berman’s Facebook page or visit

-Adam Firestone