Works and Days

Gregory Forman Family Law, Reed Externship Program, Aliana Knoepfler

Aliana Knoepfler, sophomore psychology major, participated in the Reed externship program. She spent her spring break learning hands-on about family law in Charleston, South Carolina.

This spring break I externed with family law attorney Gregory Forman in Charleston, South Carolina. Going into the externship, I was not sure what to expect as I knew very little about family law but was nevertheless very interested in learning as much as I could. I was specifically interested in what day-to-day life is like for a lawyer.

For a week, I observed Mr. Forman meet with clients, review documents, attend mediation, visit court and more. I was surprised to learn such a great deal about family law and also discover how interesting it is and how greatly it differs from other areas of law. In addition to learning about family law, I was also interested in learning more about law in general. Before this externship, I did not know about the option of becoming a sole practitioner rather than working at a law firm. I was able to learn that there are benefits to being a sole practitioner, such as more control over one’s career as well as more flexibility.

The best part of my experience was on Wednesday when I was able to observe an all-day mediation. I was excited to observe firsthand the creative solutions and strategies that go into mediating. Importantly, the mediation also allowed me to see the human element of family law, as the work that these lawyers do has direct implications on the lives of real families that are dealing with real and often complicated and painful issues.

After the week was over, I left with not only a greater understanding and appreciation of family law but of law in general. This was an excellent experience and a wonderful way to briefly experience what it would be like to be a lawyer.

Tags: reed spring externship , externship, law, family law, legal, attorney