9/23/21 - News
Meet Hana Ferrero
Hana Ferrero joined the firm in June as a project assistant. She recently graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in Economics and Political Science. Her legal experience includes a judicial internship with a Florida circuit court judge as well as an internship with Michigan Justice Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for legislative change on behalf of incarcerated citizens.
When did you become interested in law? What motivated you to pursue this position?
After taking a number of law-related electives in college, I participated in a few initiatives, including an internship with a criminal justice reform organization and a student-led immigration policy project, which opened my eyes to the importance of legislation in every facet of our society. Last winter break, I interned remotely for a judge in Florida and had really stimulating discussions about judicial philosophy, which furthered my interest in the legal field.
Even though I knew I wanted to go to law school by the time my final year of college rolled around, I thought it would be valuable to get some real-world experience and take a break from classes. I still wanted to find something legal-oriented for my gap year to prepare further for law school, so I started looking broadly at research positions and office jobs.
How did you connect with SHJ?
I saw a posting for this job on Handshake, Notre Dame’s career development platform, and connected with Adam Dinnell (who I learned also went to Notre Dame for undergrad). I quickly realized that SHJ could help me meet my goals for the upcoming year.
Houston was a big transition for me—I’m from Seattle and went to school in the Midwest—but it’s also an exciting adventure. It’s been helpful to be in the office with people who are from this area; they’ve given me great recommendations and really made me feel at home here.
What is your day-to-day like? How are you finding the work and the culture?
No day is the same. I’ve gotten to work on wide range of projects for different cases, and now I’m doing everything from research to shadowing the lawyers as they go about their work. I’ve gotten to sit in on depositions, which I know is a really valuable opportunity to have before law school. I love how much the workload varies, and that it’s not just the same type of case over and over. I’ve seen how intellectual curiosity is rewarded here because you continually have to dig in deep and learn about new things.
All the lawyers are eager to discuss their work and are very adept at explaining things in terms I can understand. And because I joined the firm while the summer program was underway, I got to connect with all the 1Ls and 2Ls, who have been amazing resources for questions about law school.
What’s one thing you hope to get out of your time at SHJ?
Getting to see how a law firm functions is important. SHJ is the perfect size for that: it’s small enough that I get to know every person individually, but still big enough that I can gain exposure to a diversity of matters. Participating in research was one of my favorite parts of college, so being exposed specifically to legal research interests me. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work in-person and to have such a direct perspective into what the career is actually like.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
After a few months at SHJ, I can definitely see myself doing litigation upon graduating from law school. I also know that I will always be passionate about the political advocacy side of law, and I’m eager to explore these areas further.
SHJ’s project assistant initiative is part of an ongoing effort to better serve clients’ needs by optimizing our internal processes. Over the course of a one- or two-year term, project assistants gain hands-on, real-world law firm experience as they assist lawyers with fact research, data analysis, and trial preparation. According to recruiting partner Adam Dinnell, “our goal was to identify candidates with an interest in law school and litigation who recently graduated from some of the country’s top undergraduate schools.”