This summer 2L Allison Vasilakis made perfect use of the law school’s off-campus Legal Externship Program, accomplishing one of its intended goals for students. She was curious if compliance was an area of the law that could be a potential career path, so she accepted a position with California-based video game company Activision Blizzard on their policy and conflicts team.
“I took the externship to figure out if I enjoyed compliance,” Vasilaskis said. “And while I am still undecided on if I see a career in compliance in my future, I was exposed to multiple teams under the general umbrella of compliance and my co-workers did a great job of providing learning opportunities to give me a taste of how diverse a career in compliance can be.”
These are the reasons the externship program exists at St. Thomas Law, to give law students an opportunity to investigate career paths and gain relevant professional experience.
As an extern, Vasilakis worked on several projects, including the review of employee conflict of interest disclosures.
“My responsibility was to evaluate employees’ disclosures and determine the best course of action that the employee can take to mitigate the risks potentially associated with their possible conflicting situation,” she said. “It developed my risk-analysis skills and helped me to better understand how to issue-spot policy, legal and compliance concerns in real-world scenarios.”
It developed my risk-analysis skills and helped me to better understand how to issue-spot policy, legal and compliance concerns in real-world scenarios.
Vasilakis, who worked remotely from Minnesota over the summer, was also tasked with a project that helped track attendance for and maintain error-free records of Activision’s Workplace-Integrity Program.
“This project exposed me to the operations side of compliance and demonstrated the layered approach to enforcing compliance standards across a global company,” she said. “It was fruitful to see how compliance standards differed internationally and it was interesting to be a part of the administration of a course that was hinged on teaching and developing ethics standards with every Activision Blizzard employee.”
Joining a fully remote team with co-workers spread across the country had its challenges, however.
“It is daunting to join a team and acclimate to the company culture virtually," Vasilakis said. "It took longer than I had expected to feel comfortable asking questions and knowing who to even direct my questions to. Luckily I am on a team that is very communicative and welcoming and so the remote nature of our work didn’t bar my ability to make professional connections."
She says her co-workers were helpful in making sure she got the most out of her externship, which was recently extended through December 2023.
“I benefited from working on a team that values mentorship and networking,” she said. “I am encouraged to speak up if there are other projects or teams that I would like to work on. My co-workers are also more than willing to connect me with other compliance professionals and I have had the chance to learn about the investigations, communications and operations teams and see how they work within the compliance department.”