News from campus and beyond

Law firm internship helped student focus on future

Blake Hundley ’24 (right), a Summer 2023 intern at Merline and Meacham, listens to attorney Phillip Martin ’09 at the law firm’s office in downtown Greenville, South Carolina.

Last updated August 11, 2023

By Furman News

Before hitting the practice field to prepare for his fourth season on the Paladin football team, Blake Hundley ’24 spent some time this summer in a different kind of practice: law firm Merline and Meacham.

An internship at the firm, which concentrates on tax, estate planning, trusts and estates, corporate and business transactional law, was a good fit for the business administration major, even if he may not go into the legal profession himself.

“Everything comes back to the law at some point,” said Hundley, who is considering a career in private equity or investment banking. “Our firm dealt a lot with mergers and acquisitions, which investment banking intersects with a lot, so I can connect to some people in that industry.”

Merline and Meacham partner David Merline Jr. is a 1980 graduate of Furman. Among the attorneys Hundley worked with in the firm’s downtown Greenville, South Carolina, office were alumni Jonathan Colao ’10, Phillip Martin ’09 and Douglas O’Neal ’02.

“It was mostly helping organize their documents so they could present to clients more easily,” Hundley said. “The lawyers have to read and revise the documents over and over again. Contracts, wills and trusts are so particularly worded, and you can’t go back on them once they’re written.”

Concepts and consequences

It was a different experience than studying contracts, wills and trusts in a lecture hall – which is one advantage of an internship, said Marion McHugh, an associate professor of business and accounting at Furman.

“Students who take internships at Furman get to apply the concepts and ideas discussed in the classroom in a setting where actions have real consequences,” he said. “They also learn the technical and interpersonal skills required for professionals in their area of interest. Perhaps most importantly, students get a better understanding of what types of work they prefer, of their talents and of areas they need to improve on in order to excel in a work environment.”

Internships are a key component of The Furman Advantage, an educational framework that provides every student an individualized educational pathway and opportunities for high-impact learning experiences, noted McHugh, who oversaw Hundley’s Individualized Internship course. The academic component of the course, an elective within Furman’s business administration B.A. program, requires students to reflect on their learning goals and experience before and throughout their internships, he said.

“It facilitates both conscientious behavior while at the internship site and a better understanding of the meaning of their experience for their long-term career goals,” said McHugh. “One great advantage is that graduates of Furman have performed exemplary work at internship sites in the past. This has led to a significant number of organizations with interest in providing internship opportunities to Furman students and several long-term relationships with these organizations.”

Finding fulfillment

However, not every internship will turn into a career – which is another advantage of the program, McHugh noted.

“For students, an internship is a low-risk opportunity to test out an area of potential interest,” he said. “They don’t have to accept a full-time position to discover that another occupation might better align with their interests and talents. Their next position is more likely to be more fulfilling because of what they learned at an internship that didn’t result in a full-time position.”

That definitely rang true for Hundley.

“I was interested in a law career before the internship,” he said. “But there was a lot of desk work, and I’m not too far into that. It was a good experience, though.”

Contact Us
Clinton Colmenares
Director of News and Media Strategy