Law and Order
Mike Bidart has a passion for consumer law-and wants to share it with the nation’s best and brightest pre-law students. “So often we see the best students going into corporate law, without exposure to any other option,” said Bidart, partner with Shernoff, Bidart & Darras, LLP, in Claremont, and a Scripps trustee. “I wanted them to be able to make an informed decision as to what they prefer: representing people or corporations.”
Last year, Jamie Greene ’03 was the beneficiary of Bidart’s goal, as she, along with Joslyn Smith ’03, were the first Shernoff, Bidart & Darras interns.
“As an intern,” said Jamie, “I discovered an amazing team of legal professionals devoted to protecting the rights of everyday citizens, particularly clients who are put in vulnerable positions when their health is compromised for economic interests. It was truly inspiring to work for a law firm that has earned its prestige and success representing the underdog, as opposed to so many firms that are deemed successful after being built on the backs of corporate interests.”
Shernoff, Bidart & Darras, LLP, is a national leader of insurance bad-faith law on behalf of individual and business consumers. The firm exclusively represents policyholders who are seeking to enforce the terms of their insurance contracts in all types of insurance law, including medical, HMO, catastrophic injury, disability, life, homeowners, property, class actions, and all types of liability insurance. Moreover, the firm leads the field in representing individual Holocaust survivors and their heirs to recover life insurance benefits wrongfully withheld from them.
While Jamie was no stranger to law firms (she had completed an internship at Goulston & Storrs, a Washington, D.C., firm in her junior year), she was excited by the wide range of work and the first-hand look at trial preparation that the internship gave her.
“I had the opportunity to work with so many different people to experience all the aspects of how the firm works,” she recalls. “I got to see what the secretaries do, as well as Mr. Bidart’s legal assistant, and what the attorneys did. Interning allowed me to gain insight into the various tasks of the firm to better understand how a law office operates. For example, the internship gave me the flexibility to observe how the legal secretaries, legal assistants, paralegals, attorneys, and partners all interact and contribute to cases to provide the firm’s clients superior legal representation.”
From May to August 2002, Jamie created chronologies for the firm-logging important dates and what was said to whom to help keep track of various cases. She also proofread complaints and memos for the attorneys, assisted with correspondence, and sat in on conference calls.
“The job also required that I do some medical research since we were dealing with health insurance companies and medical issues,” she notes. “It was important to find out what are the standard treatments and appropriate times for the treatments to occur. Another intern worked on contacting the FDA to find out when certain drugs were approved.”
One of the biggest challenges Jamie faced over the summer was preparing exhibit notebooks for trial. “All the parties involved in a trial get the same notebook, so when one side pulls up a document, everyone can look at it,” she explains. “They’re literally working off the same page. The project involved scanning documents and checking to make sure all the pages were in correct order. Then, the defendants would add documents, and I’d have to rescan everything make sure every party had the right pages.”
Having taken her LSATs and applied to law schools across the country, Jamie appreciates the insight her Bidart internship gave her. “What I like about law is that you can help people,” she says. “The internship provided encouragement and confidence so that when I begin practicing law, I can provide a needed service to society.”