Steven Helton and Zachary Van Horn, students in their final semester at Wayne State University Law School, will be spending several months after graduation in the international arbitration practice of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, a 1000+-lawyer firm with offices around the world, and one of the premier international arbitration practices in Europe.
Helton and Van Horn will be the first Wilmer Hale interns in a program initiated by Wayne Law Professors Paul Dubinsky and Gregory Fox, both of whom worked as young lawyers for Wilmer Hale’s predecessor law firms -- Hale & Dorr and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering. The idea of an internship abroad in commercial arbitration took off last spring when Gary Born, managing partner of Wilmer Hale’s London office, received an honorary degree from the University and gave the commencement speech at the Law School’s graduation.
“As I was listening to the speech, I was thinking whether there was some way to get Wilmer Hale involved with Wayne,” Dubinsky said.
Wilmer Hale, home to some of the world’s foremost experts in commercial arbitration and investor-state arbitration, recently was named “International Arbitration Firm of the Year” by U.S. News magazine. In agreeing to fully fund the intern positions, Wilmer Hale sought students with strong academic records, excellent writing skills and backgrounds in international law. Initially, the firm expected to hire just one intern for 2013. After receiving the batch of student resumes and an overview memo from Fox and Dubinsky, the firm decided to hire two interns.
In anticipation of their work ahead, the students have enrolled in Wayne Law Professor Charles “Chip” Brower’s course in international commercial arbitration.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Wayne Law students to gain valuable experience at one of the world’s leading law firms,” said Fox, director of Wayne Law’s Program for International Legal Studies. “This experience will be of lasting value to those interested in careers in arbitration, federal litigation, commercial law and international business transactions.”
“I applied for this internship because I want to use my law degree to do something different, and whatever I do, I want it to be mentally challenging on a daily basis,” Helton said. “International commercial arbitration fits the bill on both fronts. I really look forward to working for Wilmer Hale because it’s such a well-respected firm.”
Van Horn said one of the draws of Wayne Law for him in the first place was the Program for International Legal Studies and what it has to offer.
“I am very interested in pursuing a career in international arbitration, so this internship is an incredible opportunity for me,” he said. “An internship with Wilmer Hale’s London international arbitration group presents an excellent opportunity to gain real-world experience.”
While at Wayne, both students have profited from the law school’s many opportunities to work as research assistants for faculty members and as interns in the Detroit area. Van Horn did internships with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration and with the law firms of Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone PLC. He has served as a research assistant for Fox and as a judicial intern with Executive Magistrate Judge R. Steven Whalen and Senior District Judge Arthur Tarnow, both of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Van Horn grew up in Traverse City and studied performance music before entering law school.
Helton has served as a teaching and research assistant to Wayne Law Professor Anthony Dillof, as a judicial intern to Judge Marian Blank Horn of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and as a legal assistant in the Detroit law office of Daniel Helton. Helton also serves on the executive board of the Wayne Law Review. He grew up in Riverview in a family of lawyers (“except for my mom, who’s an awesome librarian”) and completed his undergraduate degree in film studies at Wayne State.
The Wilmer Hale internship is the latest of a series of steps taken by the Program on International Legal Studies to foster career developments in international law for Wayne students. Other initiatives include a series of international public interest law fellowships and a summer internship in the general counsel’s office of TATA Motors in Mumbai, India.