Journalism in the Public Interest


Santa Clara University

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1 reviews

  • CJ 10:00 p.m.
    March 18, 2014
    Major: Law, 2005
    Internship No rating
    Oversight & Aid No rating
    Payment Unknown

    This review is in regards to a legal externship for credit while attending the Santa Clara University SCHOOL OF LAW. The externship was for summer term for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, working as a judicial extern for the Appellate Division. The division consisted of 4 or 5 judges (do not recall exact number, as there was a judge who just retired and the division operated w/o a replacement for a while) and their research attorneys. The externs were given research, citation checks, and sometimes drafting of opinions for cases. The work itself was interesting, but the social aspect was very bizarre. I worked in corporate finance and management consulting for 6 years prior to returning to get a law degree, so i had some professional experience and therefore a point of reference for decent work environment. There was no structure, no training, and overall what seemed like resentment from the clerical staff. I got yelled at (as a grown 30 yr old woman) by a female clerk (in her 50's?) for staying late and working on a case in the law library the division had. Apparently, she did not like externs in "her" library (where we were assigned to work from). It was all very confusing. Upon bringing the issue to my managing research attorney, i was told that the particular clerk always picks an extern that she can "make cry" every term. The judges themselves didn't encourage anything beyond doing the bare minimum and almost frowned upon extra effort. I thought perhaps because it was government but later on I worked as a prosecutor in another agency and found that was not at all how people behaved in my agency. We were beyond happy when junior, new, or clerical staff would go above and beyond their assignments and i personally tried to foster a learning environment so any non-lawyer person in the office who showed curiosity felt encouraged to learn anything and everything I can shed light on. With regard to the externship, I got to see how the appellate process worked and got to draft a couple of simple limited jurisdiction opinions. For all the work I tried to do, when I asked for a recommendation letter at the end of the term, the judge I supported wrote up two sentences on his letterhead. I compared it with other externs during that term, they didn't even get that from their judges. Would I do it again? No. If a first year law student asked me for my advice, I would recommend they seek a intership/externship at a non-profit who can use all the eagerness they can offer.


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