When learning the law helps to craft law
Maxwell Baker in the Class of December 2017 is the latest to be featured in a series of profiles on Elon Law students whose summer internships offer them new insights and knowledge into the legal profession.
In addition to practicing law, completing a legal education can help you better understand how the laws themselves are drafted. Maxwell Baker knows this firsthand.
The Delaware native moved to North Carolina after completing an undergraduate business degree. His focus on corporate law and the legislative process has been buttressed by a chance encounter with a 2016 congressional campaign.
Baker met the campaign manager for Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican lawmaker who represents part of Greensboro in Congress, during a fall trimester program at Elon Law hosted by the Law School Republicans. Baker soon volunteered to help reelect Walker, and his work did not go unnoticed.
He today is completing a summer internship with Walker’s congressional office. The experience may help him eventually craft public policy as a legislative staffer or, perhaps, an elected leader in his own right.
Baker is the latest student to be featured in a series of summer employment profiles that showcase experiential learning opportunities for Elon Law students. The following conversation has been lightly edited.
What inspired you to pursue a career in law?
My desire to aid small businesses and entrepreneurs start and grow their ventures led me to pursue a legal education.
Tell me about the type of assignments you’re completing this summer and the way in which your work is helping others.
I’ve attended several congressional hearings during which I compiled notes for the congressman’s staff to use in making decisions on pending and proposed legislation. I also conduct research to support the legislative staff in crafting legislation. I do whatever I can to aid staff in assisting the congressman during the daily bustle of the House.
What led you to this opportunity and how does it complement your interest in the law?
During the 2016 election season I became involved in Congressman Walker’s reelection campaign after his campaign manager spoke to the Law School Republicans. After volunteering on the campaign, I pursued an internship in the congressman’s office in Washington, D.C. The internship complements my interest in the law by melding together legislative policy, small business law, and my general curiosity about the legislative process.
How did your previous residency-in-practice with Surratt & Thompson prepare you for your approach to this summer internship?
My residency honed my interpersonal communication skills. Listening to clients’ issues at the firm, and understanding what they want and need, has been helpful while communicating with the congressman’s constituents and passing along their thoughts and concerns in ways that best help him serve his district.
What are you learning about yourself in D.C. that wouldn’t have been possible in a classroom setting?
The experience of just being on Capitol Hill and being a part of something bigger than you is something that cannot be replaced or taught in the classroom. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the pursuit to make the country and the world a better place for everyone.
Is your summer internship on Capitol Hill altering your future plans or shifting how you view the legal profession?
While not directly related to the legal profession, this opportunity has changed the way I view the legislative process. The number of minds and hands that touch a piece of legislation throughout the process of drafting and enacting legislation? It’s incredibly fascinating.
Describe how the Office of Career & Student Development assisted you in securing summer employment.
The office has been a phenomenal resource when preparing and updating my resume throughout my whole time here.
What would you like to share with other students about this internship and the skills you’ve developed because of it?
This is really about experiencing everyday life on Capitol Hill. I’ve met many interesting and influential people and I get to listen to our leaders speak and witness decision making that affect the world on a daily basis.
Visit the Office of Career & Student Development for more information on summer and full-time career opportunities.
Previous Summer Employment Profiles: