After an insightful experience in a middle school mock trial, Alexis Switzer was inspired to pursue political science at the University of Kentucky, where she earned her bachelor’s degree.

Kimberly Zenteno Valladares shared a similar experience at a young age, later deciding to pursue her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Xavier University.

Both women now attend Northern Kentucky University’s Chase College of Law, and following their first year of studies, they set out to find a summer program to continue learning about their field. It brought them to GE Aviation.

Switzer (left) and Zenteno Valladares (right) are making the most of their Law Clerk Program experience.

“I first heard about GE’s Law Clerk Program through our university. I wasn’t sure of what kind of law I wanted to practice, so I thought applying to a program that allowed me to experience different facets of corporate law would help me to discern,” said Zenteno Valladares. “I just knew that I wanted to make an impact, no matter where I was placed.”

Both first generation college students, Switzer and Zenteno Valladares both worked during their undergraduate careers and continue to do so while attending law school. While they felt prepared to begin working in the law field academically, they also felt disadvantaged due to the time they had to focus on supporting themselves outside of school.

“Most law students are able to focus completely on their studies, and it is recommended that they do. In both of our situations that wasn’t an option,” said Switzer. “Going into the interviews I wasn’t sure of what to expect. It was eye-opening and reassuring to have the people I now see as mentors celebrating our accomplishments that didn’t fit the norm.”

GE Aviation’s Law Clerk Program is geared toward exposing first year law students to the various experience, career paths, and learning opportunities available within a corporate setting. The program seeks to develop deep talent and help students build a network within the profession.

During their time at GE Aviation, Switzer and Zenteno Valladares worked on various projects supporting teams and processes across the globe. The focus of these projects ranged from researching and creating briefs to supporting contract management and storage.

“This program is not only focused on teaching students about in-house law practice at a global company, we also want to build meaningful connections with members of the legal community inside and outside of GE,” said Gene Droder, Law Clerk Program Co-Leader. “Our goal is to allow our clerks to use their skills, experience, and learning to make impact within the organization and help them build a foundation for success in the broader legal community.”

Law students interested in the GE Aviation Law Clerk program are encouraged to visit the GE Careers website. Applications to the Law Clerk program open in January for full-time rotations during the summer.