By Savanna Smith, Cal Athletic Communications
Gearing up for his sophomore season in the blue and gold, Griffin Piatt, a safety on the California football team, took advantage of his summer by adding an internship at the Law offices of Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook in Walnut Creek to his resume.
Piatt became involved with the firm through the connection of Ron Coccimiglio, the team’s director of career development who focuses on connecting players with Cal alumni and helping develop their non-athletic careers.
“I had a few different roles,” Piatt said. “Mostly I summarized depositions, which are witness testimonies. Near the end, I started answering the phones, transferring callers to all the partners, which was a good experience”
Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook, who specialize in personal injury claims, include two Cal alumni – Larry Cook and Stan Casper. Cook graduated from Cal in 1980 and continued his law education at John F. Kennedy University School of Law in Pleasant Hill, Calif. Casper graduated from the Boalt School of Law at Cal in 1973. Piatt said the connection to Cal was always present around the partners as they were continually asking about the team and the upcoming season.
In addition to furthering his career experience, Piatt was focused on his football development as well, attending morning and afternoon workouts to bookend his four-to-five hours daily in Walnut Creek. Learning to time manage became crucial to his success as the summer went on, though he said he was lucky that Walnut Creek wasn’t too far of a commute.
“Being in an office environment was a new experience for me,” Piatt said. “Getting used to sitting in a cubical, you’re alone for a lot of the time. I had to stay focused and not let my mind wander, so that was definitely a transition.”
It can be hard for student-athletes to picture themselves anywhere but on a playing field. Applying their specialized athletic abilities to an office setting can be difficult for most student-athletes. However, Piatt felt that his experiences with the team really helped him excel in his work with Cook, and he was also able to take away some lessons learned and apply them to further developing himself as a well-rounded player.
“Being part of a team and that communication aspect of playing football, you have to be on the same page with everybody, so I had to communicate with Larry Cook and the other secretaries as well,” Piatt said. “That aspect of football translated to my internship.
“Paying attention to detail, really focusing on not necessarily the most exciting stuff, like the playbook, isn’t the most exciting thing but you’ve got to know it if you’re going to be a good team. You’ve got to know what you have to do and know your responsibilities.”
Piatt has plans to pursue a degree from the Haas School of Business, though he’s not ruling out law. He believes that having a sense of how the law systems work is important in getting a job and in life in general.