Reinhart Offers High School Students Active View of Legal Profession

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MILWAUKEE – For the fifth consecutive summer, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c. (Reinhart) has provided a local high school student with an inside look into life at a law firm. As part of Reinhart's Diversity Program, the Legal Opportunity Youth Internship Program (LOYIP) selects one young person each year to spend the summer in the firm's Milwaukee office.

"Each year, Reinhart looks to provide the opportunity to a student from Milwaukee's inner city who may never be exposed otherwise to the inner workings of a leading law firm," said Antonio M. Trillo, attorney in the firm's Litigation Practice and LOYIP chair. "We want to help prepare them for their next steps and give them an idea of what they could face and accomplish if they go to college or law school."

Darnell Welch, a senior at Pius XI High School in Milwaukee, was Reinhart's 2010 intern. Welch has wanted to become a criminal defense attorney for as long as he can remember. Before this summer Welch noted he had gained most of his knowledge of the legal profession from television shows like Law & Order and CSI.

"This really opened my eyes to other options in the legal field," said Welch, who also plays football and baseball. "I've learned what law really is and that there are many more areas of law than I had considered."

While at Reinhart, Welch received training in research, using databases such as WestLaw and LexisNexis: the same databases used by law students and lawyers across the country. He also helped lawyers complete Freedom of Information Act requests, worked on the formation of an LLC, accompanied lawyers to trials at the courthouse, sat in on client meetings and gathered information on social media policies for corporations.

"I wanted him to know what we do and to work on things as independently as possible so he would be able to use those skills in the future," said Trillo, who had the dual role of "overseeing his assignments and being his mentor." Trillo said in addition to law, the two spent time this summer talking as friends about school, sports, and life in general.

"This has really given me a head start for college," said Welch. "I took it seriously and tried to collect as much knowledge as possible. Having this experience under my belt gives me more options." Despite all he learned, Welch said one highlight that he'll always remember is finding out on his first day that he would have his own office on the 21st floor and could see his home from the window.

Welch applied for the internship as a sophomore, but is glad he waited a year, saying it is definitely a program that requires maturity and dedication. His mother heard about the program through a Reinhart attorney and encouraged Welch to pursue it. Welch interviewed for the internship and when he received the notice he had been selected, he said it was cause for celebration in his family. He hopes to attend college at Texas Tech or another southern school.

Trillo stays in touch with many former interns and recently had lunch with Mario Sinclair, Reinhart's 2009 LOYIP intern, who is studying Political Science at Drake University. Sinclair told Trillo he found the internship to be a huge confidence booster.

Many of the firm's interns have applied for the program through Reinhart's partnership with Neighborhood House of Milwaukee. The firm is considering opening the application process to a broader audience in the future.


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