When considering what to do this summer, going home and finding a legal job seemed like the perfect option. I am a rising senior at Duke University who plans to go into the legal field, but I do not yet know what specific area of practice I will go into. Fortunately, now is the time to explore. I spent the first half of this summer studying for the LSAT—which I took in June—and had the rest of the summer to fill before my upcoming semester. I am so grateful to have been extended a position as an intern at Urquia Law, where I can do meaningful work while learning about all of the working parts that go into a personal injury case.

I was recently accepted to Harvard Law, where I will begin in 2024 after a two-year deferment period between completing my undergraduate work and starting law school. I could not have accomplished these things without the incredible support from teachers, attorneys, judges, and other individuals who invested in me. This especially includes my Port Townsend community and the people at Urquia Law who have given me knowledge and experience that let me solidify my decision to go into law.

Port Townsend was a wonderful place to grow up, one that set me on a path that has allowed me to return home this summer to work as an intern at Urquia Law. The idea of a legal career first drew me in when I began mock trial. The Port Townsend High School team met weekly at Jefferson County Courthouse, filling District and Superior Court with high schoolers eager to play dramatic witnesses or memorize statements for a jury. It was in those competitions that I first learned the joys of connecting the right dots together to make a convincing argument and find the most just outcome. Coming back to the Jefferson County Courthouse this summer to observe trials, I realized how special it was that we were able to practice there with the guidance of local judges and attorneys.

I was often reminded by mentors that mock trial is far from the real world of practicing law, representative of trial litigation and presentation but less so the hard work behind the scenes leading up to a trial. Working at Urquia Law has shown me that a case is much more than just the trial. Here, I’ve been able to draft letters to insurance companies, review and decode medical records, sit in on depositions of witnesses, observe motions and arbitration hearings, and walk through the decision of whether or not to take on a new case based on the facts. The work at Urquia Law has been educationally invaluable, as well as interesting. I see how a case is built, not in the weeks before trial, but from the first day.

On top of the practical skills I have learned during my internship, the individuals at Urquia Law have taught me how to think about situations and issues from a more theoretical perspective as well. I am attracted to the idea of striking balance and ensuring fair treatment under the law. My undergraduate studies in international security have shown me that fairness is nearly impossible to achieve without rules to adhere to. Parties cannot arbitrarily decide important issues on a case-by-case basis; they need to reference relevant historical precedent and standardized statutes. I see the law as a code that is meant to help people, not something intended to trap or harm them. I’ve watched as Rafael has used statutes and legal precedent to win cases and bring joy and peace to injured individuals; I think this is the best use of the law, something I want to emulate in future practice.

I can only be here until mid-August, when I return to North Carolina for my senior year. When I enter law school, I am eager to apply the knowledge and experiences I have gained this summer. My time at Urquia Law has solidified my decision to go into the legal profession. After watching the careful consideration that the team puts into each case and the passion with which they will then fight for the client, I have no doubt this is a career in which I can help people while constantly learning and adapting.