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Student interns explore legal careers at TC-hosted institute

July 2, 2013

Felicia Williams and Nelson Williams
Thompson Coburn associates Felicia Williams and Nelson Williams created a mock trial problem for the students to demonstrate how to present an opening statement.
Judge David Vincent presents to the students
Just as he leapt at the opportunity to flex his acting skills in a in 1970s commercial for French’s Mustard, St. Louis County Circuit Judge David Vincent encourages the students to take advantage of opportunities.

Thompson Coburn recently hosted the 2013 St. Louis Internship Program (SLIP) Institute. The firm has supported and been involved with SLIP since its inception more than 20 years ago.

The early June program at Thompson Coburn was geared toward SLIP participants who have an interest in careers in the law. The students spent the day learning about the legal profession and participating in interactive courtroom demonstrations.

Jon Baris, the assistant dean for student services at Saint Louis University School of Law, welcomed the two dozen students, who all attend St. Louis Public Schools. The 2013 president of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, Jon answered questions from the students about bar associations and how they are all connected and support one another. He applauded the students for participating in the program.

St. Louis County Circuit Judge David Vincent began his comments with a YouTube clip. In the video, a 1970s commercial for French’s Mustard, a young David Vincent enjoying a mustard-laden hamburger in the sun. Just as he leapt at the opportunity to flex his acting skills in a commercial, Judge Vincent encouraged the students to take advantage of opportunities, maintain a good reputation and stay motivated. The students had a lot of questions about his career and his career path.

Marissa Lee, the St. Louis Division Training Coordinator for the Drug Enforcement Administration, intrigued the students with details about the life of a DEA agent. Using an official drug display case, she talked to them about various drugs and drug paraphernalia. She also covered state and federal laws governing marijuana and other substances. Students asked questions about the type of education, training and compensation a DEA agent receives. Marissa added that agents have to be physically fit.

Thompson Coburn associates Felicia Williams and Nelson Williams created a mock trial problem for the students to demonstrate how to present an opening statement. The students were engaged, excited and eager to create a winning opening statement. They worked in teams with their coaches to strategize their approach. After the excellent delivery of both opening statements, it was too close to determine the winner.

Thompson Coburn Professional Development and Diversity Manager Michelle Martin provided information on various legal careers the students can consider as they continue their education. SLIP Program Director Shanise Johnson reiterated the importance of taking advantage of opportunities, staying motivated and maintaining a good reputation in the workplace. The students were excited to start their summer jobs. 

Since its inception, SLIP has helped over 3,100 high school students receive job training and internship placement at a variety of organizations around the St. Louis metro area.