Jacob Donnelly ’17, Novack and Macey LLP

Jacob-DonnellyI had a wonderful time participating in a Princeternship at Novack and Macey LLP, a boutique commercial litigation firm in Chicago, and learned a lot. I was given copies of actual complaints on which their office was working before I arrived and familiarized myself with them so as to be able to discuss them with the staff. (It was made very clear that as an employee of the office for two days, I was under the obligations of attorney-client privilege.) From the get-go, they included me in the operations of their office, whether it was reviewing interrogatories (sets of questions that one party is able to ask the other in a lawsuit), presenting my analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of a recently filed appeals brief from an opposing party, interviewing expert witnesses, attending county and federal court sessions (including the proceedings of a federal jury trial), attending a law school class, or having lunch with the partners and associates and discussing everything from legal history to, of course, Princeton. The firm was so warm and welcoming, always explaining very thoroughly the legal issues that they were confronting despite the demands on their time. I was saddened not to have more time to spend with this fine group of men and women, although I now consider myself to have a wonderful group of friends in Chicago whenever I return to that city.

When I first decided to do a Princeternship, I was unsure whether I was interested in the field of law. Stereotypes die hard, and I pictured lawyers as only minimally creative and mostly as glorified paper-pushers. Novack and Macey showed me that law can be so much more. Associates met with partners and received valuable feedback on challenging concepts while at the same time maintaining the merits of their position, not unlike a precept at Princeton. The partners explained to me countless issues of litigation strategy, which made the law seem like an exciting chess match, complete with issues of foresight, mutual dependency on your opponent, and end-game, as well as ethics, emphasizing the multiple ways in which the integrity of the courts and legal profession depends on the continuing cooperation of the men and women who practice. Perhaps most importantly, the partners and associates all seemed to genuinely enjoy their jobs and seemed excited to come to work every day to tackle new intellectual, strategic, and practical challenges in the process of representing those who had been wronged by one party or another. I arrived in Chicago indifferent to the legal profession and left very excited about its prospects and possibilities.

Overall, this Princeternship was a wonderful experience, and I would highly encourage anyone contemplating one simply to do it. I had never been able to envision myself in any particular career so strongly before I did this Princeternship, and this clarity will be valuable to me as I move forward in the years to come here at Princeton and beyond. I just want to thank everyone at Novack and Macey and Career Services again for making this wonderful experience possible!