Instead of going back home and cleaning other people’s houses for a summer job, political science sophomore, Josue Gallardo, took a chance. After asking the wife of a lawyer his mother used to clean for about a possible internship at her husband’s law firm, Gallardo received the opportunity to intern at the firm. As an aspiring constitutional lawyer, Gallardo discussed how working with localities to collect delinquent taxes and shadowing lawyers in the court room has placed him on a path to success.
How did you earn the internship?
“My mom cleans houses and when I was a little boy, I use to go clean houses with her. And she cleaned this lawyer’s house and the lady was amazing her name was Loresa, and one evening they offered my brother a job to work at the law firm in collections because they had a collections department in there. And I basically was kind of jealous because this happened a couple years ago but then over the summer I was looking to get into a job, you know get more experience than just waiting tables and cleaning houses and so I just took a shot at it and I asked Loresa, and I was like, ‘Is there any possibility that your husband’s still offering that position? I’m not interested in the money, I’m just interested in getting the experience.’ And she said, ‘yes, that’s wonderful, if you could just send a resume.’
I sent a resume to the (lawyer), his name was John, and he said come in for an interview and I went in for the interview and they gave me the job. I had never worked in a job at a desk, most of the jobs have been labor intensive so when I got that job I was actually really happy I had a little tear coming out. It was one of my first jobs to physically get to work more than just doing hard labor.”
How did the internship benefit you?
“The law firm where I worked had no correlation with the law that I wanted to pursue. It was a taxing firm, so it collected taxes for localities and it was a private firm that did contracts for the state government or localities around Virginia. It was also a passion of mine to get experience with that field.
It gave me exposure as to how the system actually works. You may read a textbook and you like constitutional law, but you go into reality and it’s a whole different perspective, you know, the judicial process is different. It’s not like you just read a couple sentences and come out and say okay this is how it’s going to be. Expectations change as you enter the courtroom or you do the actual physical work at the computer and having that experience helps a lot in law school in many aspects in my perspective.”
Did you face any obstacles during your internship?
“Yes, I did, and it was quick learning because there was so much and very little time to learn because certain things had to get done. Just like a real job if I didn’t complete a task it would pile on top of more and more tasks so the day would be longer and that was the hard part, getting to everything. There would be days when I would have little-to-no work and there were days when I would have so much work that tasks would get pushed to the next day and so on. The first month of that internship was really difficult but then after that I just got there, did my work, went home.”
How important is networking in order to receive internship or job opportunities?
“It’s very important. For instance, me just working at this job would help me if I don’t go to law school and I still come out with a political science degree, I will still have a degree that will allow me to have a job because a lot of the individuals that worked in that firm were college educated and had a degree in political science, criminal justice and that kind of prospect. If I ever needed a job in the future and they’re hiring, that could be an asset for me. They are also an asset because they can be references if I end up applying to law school. A lot of the lawyers there went to the University of Richmond and that’s one of the law schools that I was looking into for constitutional law so that could also help me down the road to go to law school.”
What advice would you have for anyone else interested in your field?
“My advice, and this is what I’m promptly going to do, my advice would be just take a shot, just go up to a firm and say I’m willing to work. If you’re really willing and you truly have a passion for the field that you do, my passion is constitutional law. If you really have a passion for it, just go to a law firm, even if it’s family law, go up there and say are you guys hiring an intern this summer. The worst thing they can say is no and just take a shot. They said I could come back next summer, but I said I want to try a different type of law so I think I might look at something like family law just to get a broad aspect of everything.”
Anything else you would like to add, Josue?
“My perspective is no matter what job you do, working at Chick-Fil-A or working at anything, it eventually will pay off. Because everything I learned working at cleaning toilets helped me with things like being on time, it just built me a set of skills, moral skills, and that perfected me for that job. Even though it wasn’t in this discipline, it still taught me a lot. A lot of kids that are out there want to do a certain type of job just like I said take a risk at it, the worst thing they can say is no and you learn a lot from that experience.”
About the Author
Halle ParkerDigital Marketing Intern - University Career Services Class of 2018