This summer, we had the privilege to work with a fantastic college student, Mike Mazzella. As Mike’s summer internship with us wraps up, we asked him a few questions:
Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a rising Senior at the University of Arizona Honors College, and I’m majoring in Communication with an emphasis on Pre-Law. I’m also a member of two fraternities, and a former Student Body Senator.
Pre-Law? So you want to be a lawyer?
Yes! I first got interested in law in high school on my debate team. I started following big cases, getting involved with politics, and delivering more public speeches. I found that I had a talent for rhetoric and research. Plus I’ve always wanted to do something that puts me in a position to help other people.
What attracted you to Washington Council of Lawyers?
I think Washington Council of Lawyers is great because we not only want to help those in need of assistance, but we also want to help people improve their standard of living. The legal community can have a monumental impact on the lives of those in need: everything from helping people find jobs, to keeping a roof over their heads, and making sure they have access to affordable and nutritious foods. It feels good to give back, but it feels even better to have a hand in solving an ongoing problem.
What was your favorite part about working for us this summer?
All of the amazing people I’ve met this summer. I was lucky enough to be paired with an amazing boss [editors note: Mike is referring to our Executive Director, Nancy Lopez] who thought it was important to introduce me to as many lawyers and public advocates as possible. I’ve really gotten the inside perspective on public-interest law and what it takes to make it. Their advice and encouragement has set me up perfectly for the next four years.
What exactly did you do for us this summer?
I washed Nancy’s car and walked her dogs…No, I’m just kidding. Mostly I helped to spread the word and set up for events that we hosted. A lot of it was logistics: making name badges, organizing guest lists, setting up the spaces, designing posters, taking notes, and conducting interviews.
What is the most important project you’ve worked on this summer?
That would have to be the East of the River Blog. For about the past month I’ve sat on a committee designed to create a blog with the goal of inspiring lawyers in DC to do more pro bono work east of the Anacostia River. Our plan is to demonstrate the benefits of doing that kind of work by showcasing some success stories and interviewing the people who made them possible. You’ll see the results of our efforts beginning this fall.
Sounds like you’ve been pretty busy. What do you do in your spare time?
Here? Sleep! Or I hang out with my friends in the dorm where I’m staying. I’m also taking two classes right now, so that takes up a lot of my time as well. When I’m back home, I perform every week with my improv comedy troupe, and that keeps me going until the weekend. Do you see a future for yourself here in DC? Absolutely, I love this city. I could completely see myself going to school here and then staying to pursue my career. I’ve figured out the subway system, so by now I’m practically a native.
Thanks, Mike, and thanks for all of your help this summer! We can’t wait to welcome you back to the DC legal community!