Summer internship offers glimpse of legal needs in Miami

Daniel McCain in the Class of 2018 is the latest to be featured in a series of profiles on Elon Law students whose summer internships offer new insights and knowledge into the legal profession.

With an interest in practicing either business law or health administration law in his home state of Florida, Daniel McCain knows that importance of building a vibrant professional network.

Where can you learn each day about the issues facing the people of your community while making connections with other young professionals? Easy: Working for your state’s most senior member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

McCain, a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a member of Elon Law’s Class of 2018, recently completed a summer internship with Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida’s 27th congressional district. He used his summer internship to expand his network with other young staffers and to learn from residents of the greater Miami region about the law’s impact on their wellbeing.

McCain – a member of the Sports & Entertainment Law Society, the Business Law Society and Phi Alpha Delta – is the latest 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 pursuit of a legal education is driven by my desire to be more well-rounded intellectually and professionally. Notre Dame provided unrivaled opportunities in my business education, such as luncheons with Fortune 250 CEOs and workshops with business executives. I believe Elon Law offers similar opportunity in its legal education curriculum by allowing students to network with former and current judges and attorneys from across North Carolina. 

Tell me about the legal issues facing constituents that you discovered through your work with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s constituent relations staff.

Their concerns range widely. This summer we have received input regarding immigration – mostly from Cuba, Venezuela, and Colombia – health care, taxes, the presidency, and the direction of the Republican Party.  While I find all of these concerns to be extremely important and relevant, for my intended career path, issues about health care and taxes are of particular interest. By listening to constituents explain how health care premiums and taxes affect their lives, I obtained a more holistic and personal understanding of how these two areas of public policy influence others. 

What led you to this opportunity?

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is someone I’ve admired from a young age because of her dedication to the Cuban-American community. I come from a Cuban-American family, and like many others similarly situated, I have heard about the struggles and hardships of my family when leaving the island. For me, this internship is an opportunity to become reacquainted with my home community, and learn under the tutelage of one of Miami’s greatest role models.    

In what ways do you believe this internship will prepare you for your Elon Law residency-in-practice early next year?

I’ll be doing my residency at Berger Singerman LLP, a business law firm in downtown Miami that will help me build up my professional network in Florida. I met roughly 20 fellow interns from the Miami area this summer, many of whom have a desire to pursue a legal education, and eventually practice in Florida. They come from the University of Florida, Florida State University, Florida International University, Yale University, Columbia University, and the University of Miami. As we say down here in Florida when it comes to networking, “It never hurts to know a ‘Cane, Gator, or ‘Nole.”

What are you learning about yourself as a result of this experience that wouldn’t have been possible in a classroom setting?

I’ve learned that I have great control over my emotions. In the classroom, for the most part, discussions are rooted from the textbook from a past event. My objective there is analyzing and interpreting. For my internship, I interact with people who often have strong political opinions.  People come in with unreasonable demands, and upon learning that their demands cannot be met, they have had strong choice of words. My inner self wanted to respond or argue, but professionally I understood that I was acting as an employee for the congresswoman and would need to act with proper discourse and etiquette. 

What would you like to share with other students about this internship and the skills you’ve developed because of it?

This internship was amazing. Every day I came home feeling energized and with a huge smile. What I learned as a 1L at Elon Law was immensely important to that success. My greatest takeaway from this summer is that I’ve become a better communicator.  The government is built upon communication, and you are always representing someone of higher importance when you relay information. It is essential that your message be accurate and sufficient. 


Visit the Office of Career & Student Development for more information on summer and full-time career opportunities.

Previous Summer Employment Profiles:

Aarin Miles (Class of December 2017) 
Brittany Hart (Class of December 2017)
Gabe Mirabelli (Class of December 2017)
Janelle Wendorf (Class of December 2017)
Catherine Bryant (Class of 2018)
Maxwell Baker (Class of December 2017)
Andreas Mosby (Class of December 2017)
Samantha Mungro (Class of December 2017)
Jessica Chong (Class of December 2017)