Summer legal work helps students gain practical skills and experiences that benefit them during law school and beyond. For student Katie Barglind, it meant the opportunity to intern at the US Consulate in Frankfurt, Germany, and it solidified her interest in international law.
Describe your summer work experience.
“I spent the summer in Frankfurt, Germany, where I was an intern at the US Consulate in the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit. This was an extremely exciting opportunity. The job exposed me to a broad range of duties: from the mundane, like hours of fingerprinting; to the more challenging and interesting, such as legal research and writing for documents to be shared with US embassies and consulates worldwide; to memorable meetings and conferences with high-ranking diplomatic officials.
“The most interesting project I worked on was a diplomatic cable sent to all US embassies and consulates regarding treaty trader and investor visas, involving citizens of countries with which the US maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. My research and paper analyzed the process by which officers adjudicate this category of visas, what they have done to make the process more efficient, and what changes or issues can be expected in the future.”
What surprised you about the work you were doing?
“I was surprised by how many important legal questions came up on a daily basis in my unit. The majority of these questions were based on legal interpretations of the Immigration and Nationality Act. However, we also worked closely with another unit, the Fraud Prevention Unit (FPU), to effectively detect, prevent, and investigate cases of potential fraud. I shadowed an FPU employee and witnessed firsthand how the separate units, sections, and government agencies work together. I have learned that bureaucracy and diplomacy might not always be efficient, but there are sometimes significant and legitimate reasons why these barriers exist.”
How do you think this work experience will shape the rest of your time at UW Law School?
“My experience in Frankfurt will definitely change the way I approach my last year of law school and my future career path. The people I met at the consulate live extremely interesting lives. They have traveled to many countries, speak multiple languages, and have challenging and rewarding careers. My internship with the State Department has solidified my desire to work in international law, and perhaps one day as a foreign-service officer.”