Time flies when you’re having fun! It’s already the beginning of the fifth week here at the WilmerHale Palo Alto office, but it feels like our summer cohort just got here. While we’re all deeply engrained in our work assignments, the past two weeks have allowed for some truly exceptional engagement with WilmerHale’s pro bono work. Our first collective pro bono activity as a group was to poll monitor during California’s statewide elections, an activity which allowed us to pair with the Asian Law Caucus to ensure that the democratic process was properly followed at local voting sites. A number of us got up early on the morning of June 5 and were paired with one of our attorneys, which allowed for a lot of fun bonding on the road! Once we arrived at our respective voting sites, we observed poll workers and noted any issues that could foreseeably prevent a rightful voter from being able to partake in the election process. My partner, Eric Hanson, and I had a relatively trouble-free set of polls to monitor in the Stockton area, and we enjoyed getting to meet and talk to poll workers who were locals in their community. We then drove back and grabbed lunch together, talking about everything from career strategy to lifelong dreams of hiking the National Parks in Utah.
A week later, WimerHale hosted its annual Pro Bono Awards breakfast (where all the offices got together via a videoconference), and Khoa Tran, a senior associate from the Palo Alto office, won an award for his dedication to pro bono work! Natalie Hanlon Leh, a partner in the Denver office was also honored for her work with the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. It was uplifting to see how much the firm values pro bono engagement and hours, and even more so when reflecting on the seemingly insurmountable odds that some pro bono clients face. Meanwhile, I can’t wait for our next summer associate pro bono activity—a food sort at the Second Harvest Food Bank!
We also had two very cool social events over the past two weeks. The first was a sailing trip, led by Peter Buckland and Joe Wyatt, two partners who are expert sailors, from the San Francisco Bay to Tiburon for lunch. The sun was shining, the wind was in our hair, and we laughed, talked and listened to music while we made our way across the Bay. On the way there, we passed by Alcatraz and had the most astounding views of the city and Golden Gate Bridge. To top it off, we saw a pod of dolphins near our boat! It was a total blast. The second event, which really brought out everyone’s competitive streak, was the fifth annual office-wide margarita contest. The rules were simple, but the competition fierce—between the creativity of an Oreo-based margarita and the refreshing taste of a classic watermelon-based margarita, our team (who made a grilled pineapple and mescal margarita) had stiff competition. While we didn’t win this one, it was a joy just to be outside on the patio, relaxing with each other and the rest of the office before heading home for the weekend.