University of Pittsburgh

Semester in DC: Alumni Spotlight - Chelsea Steiner


Chelsea Steiner ’13 is ready to brief the Congressman. She has worked all semester on a complex legal question, and the Legislative Director has asked her to personally deliver this briefing.

Four months ago, Chelsea started preparing for this moment. She has spent the semester working full-time for U.S. Congressman Scott Rigell (2nd Congressional District of Virginia), writing memoranda and briefs to prepare the Congressman while Congress is in session. She utilizes the plethora of resources available on the Hill to learn who is proposing legislation, what it does, and how it would change the current situation.

“My externship has been great. I have had a wonderful time, and I really love D.C.,” Chelsea says.    

Chelsea, who hopes to relocate to Virginia upon graduation, knows that the Semester in D.C. Program at Pitt Law can help her get the job she wants. In fact, the Semester in D.C. Program was one of the key factors in her decision to attend Pitt Law.

“D.C. has a huge legal community. Someone is going to be able to help you out. They may not be the person, but they probably know someone who is. I never thought I would be doing something in government, but there are a ton of non-traditional legal jobs in D.C. to explore. The Semester in D.C. experience helps with your resume, and during the election season it is very exciting to be right in the middle of the political scene,” she says.

A Political Science major, Chelsea did not enter law school with a narrowly defined goal of what area of law she wanted to practice. Rather, she has been open-mined and has explored various areas of law and taken advantage of experiential learning programs like the Semester in D.C. to direct her to current career goal of practicing tort law. She is excited to find a job she really loves; something that utilizes her public speaking and litigation strengths. Chelsea encourages other law students to participate and take action while in law school.

“Law school has a finite end date. Try non-traditional legal work; try traditional legal work. Whether it is with a firm, agency or non-profit, see what you like. Once you graduate and you have to start making money and your flexibility becomes more limited, your chances to explore possibilities are fewer.”

Chelsea is a motivated, self-starter who has taken in each experience offered to her at Pitt Law.  We are excited to see her next move. 

Revised 09/28/2011 | Copyright 2011 | Site by UMC