Each year, Ireland Stapleton hires promising law school students to join our Summer Associate Program. In this 10-week program, the summer associates receive practical and substantive real-life, on-the-job training, preparing them for a successful career in law.

Jack Holt, coming from Wyoming, has joined us for the summer as one of our 2022 summer associates. We got the chance to sit down with him and learn more about his background and aspirations, what life is like as a summer associate at Ireland Stapleton, and the great learning experiences he’s had so far at the Firm.

Tell us a little about yourself!

Hey, I’m Jack. I’m originally from Buffalo, Wyoming, but I went to Colorado Mesa University to get my undergraduate degree in history. Now, I am finishing up my law degree at the University of Wyoming. When I’m not at work, you’ll either catch me outside at the park or at the theater watching a movie.

What made you want to get into law?

For me, law really was just the natural next step after getting my history degree. I graduated in 2020, and due to the global pandemic, there weren’t very many jobs for recent history majors. Luckily, law kind of just fell into my lap. I’d been flirting with the idea for a long time, from interning at a local firm in Buffalo when I was 15 to joining the Mock Trial in college. I think it was my junior year in college when I decided to really start looking at law as an option for my future. I’ve always liked helping people and being able to effect meaningful changes, so law was the perfect avenue for me to continue those passions.

What kind of law would you like to practice, and what is it about that area of law that is intriguing to you?

At the moment, the area of law that most interests me is litigation. The rules of evidence and discovery may seem boring to some, but for me the dance of trial is fun and always keeps you on your toes.

What do you hope to get out of this summer program?

I want to get the experience of what it’s like being an associate at Ireland Stapleton. Getting a true feel for the work that we do here at Ireland Stapleton, not just a fading glance but a true deep dive, is exactly what I need to become a better lawyer. Most of my past experience has been in criminal law, which the Firm doesn’t practice. So, for me, I came into Ireland Stapleton wanting to learn as much as I can about different areas of commercial law and from as many different people as I can.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Once I get to the office, I start things off by heading to get myself a cup of coffee, and saying hello to everyone on the way. After getting my coffee, I settle in and check my email for any news that came in overnight. After that, it’s time for work and I get busy researching legal issues, drafting memos, participating in team meetings, and observing court proceedings. Next, I find a lunch spot someplace downtown, and then it’s back to work in the office for the rest of the afternoon. Once I’ve finished up all of my work at the end of the day, I’ll get my bag, head downstairs, and walk home.

What types of projects are you working on right now?

The current projects that I’m working on include: drafting motions for a litigation team that is about to go to trial over a real estate related breach of contract case, observing status hearings for construction defect cases, and preparing research memos for a variety of issues ranging from employment law to marijuana regulation.

Which attorneys have you been working with the most and what are you learning from them?

I’ve been working with a bunch of different attorneys, but many of my projects have been in coordination with one of the litigation associates. Although she isn’t giving out the assignments, it’s great to have a newer attorney, who was also a summer associate at Ireland Stapleton, readily available to help answer any quick questions that come to me.

I have also been working closely with K.C. Groves, James Silvestro, and Tim Atkinson on a case that is about to go to trial. I was put on the team to help research and write a complex response motion that will hopefully ensure that one of our expert witnesses will get all of his testimony in without a hitch. From the lead attorneys on the case, I am learning quite a bit about writing for trial, rather than memos or more research-based writing. I also got the opportunity to go through a deposition and learning how that process works was very enlightening.

Do you have any tips or tricks that you’ve come up with?

If you’re bad with technology, like me, sit next to the IT guy if you can!

What have been some highlights of your time at Ireland Stapleton so far?

When the entire building’s electricity went out, we all had to walk down 28 flights of stairs together. It was a great team bonding experience.

Also, getting to see the Colorado Avalanche’s Stanley Cup Championship Parade right outside the office building was amazing.

What has been the most challenging and rewarding thing you’ve done so far this summer.

For me, I think the most challenging thing about associate life is getting used to juggling a multitude of projects at the same time. I generally like to focus on one project at a time and complete it before moving on to the next one, but that’s just not a reality in the practice of law. As a lawyer, you’re going to have a bunch of different projects all milling about the same timeline, so learning how to delineate time for all the projects has been individually challenging for me. But luckily I’ve never felt overwhelmed either!

Also, learning how to work the billing software! Coming from the public sector [Jack worked for the Department of Justice], billing and the procedures behind it were just completely unknown to me.

What is something you are most looking forward to this summer?

I am really looking forward to helping the litigation team get prepared for their two week trial coming up soon and getting the opportunity to see them in court.

Outside of work, I am most looking forward to being here in the heart of Denver. I’ve only ever visited Denver for a few days at a time, but I’ve never actually lived here. Getting to know the areas and finding the best places for food in my neighborhood is always the best adventure!

What is a piece of advice you’d like to give others who are thinking about a career as a lawyer?

Don’t let yourself get talked out of it. Getting into law school can be daunting, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at times. However, once you get through the paperwork, it’s really not so bad, and the potential that it gives you afterwards is so worth it. Do you want to write the law? Do you want to argue about it? Do you want to help small businesses? Help save ecosystems? As a lawyer, all this and so much more is right at your fingertips.

For more information about Ireland Stapleton’s Summer Associate Program, contact Elizabeth Woodward at ewoodward@irelandstapleton.com.