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More on Judicial Internships

February 4, 2011 Leave a comment

By Christopher Dize

Yesterday, Danny posted on the benefits of interning for a judge.  I have also had very good experiences with interning, and I want to highlight a couple of things in addition to what he said.

First, if you do any writing for the judge or the law clerks and you decide that you want to use it as a writing sample later on, make sure you ask the judge for permission before you use your work product as a writing sample.

Of course, you probably won’t have to ask the judge personally, unless you’re fortunate enough to be working directly for him or her, but you should at least run it by a law clerk.  If there is no problem with you using the work product (and rarely there is, because they’re not likely to give the really hot stuff to an intern anyway), you will probably have to redact names and dates and any other personal information of the parties, such as social security numbers.

The reason for making sure you have permission is not that you might screw up and accidentally show a memo to a prospective employer who happened to be representing one of the parties mentioned in the memo . . . or even worse, what you wrote in the memo was adverse to the prospective employer’s position in the litigation.  How ridiculous would that be!  Yeah, probably too crazy to happen . . . but you never know.

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Benefits Of Judicial Internships

February 2, 2011 3 comments

By Daniel E. Bonilla

Regardless of whether you’re interested in clerking for a judge one day, becoming a litigator, or a transactional attorney, you should consider interning or externing (an externship is basically an internship but for school credits) for a judge before you graduate law school.  One semester or summer with a judge will expose you to many different aspects of the law that law school simply can’t teach you.  It will be a tremendous learning experience that you’ll be able to build upon going forward.

So, how do you get a judicial internship? First, it’s just like applying for any other job.  You could talk to your school’s Career Services Office to get information on which judges are looking for interns or you can even ask for a list of all the judges in certain areas.  If not, you can simply use the Internet to find different judges and then mail your materials directly to them.

Be sure to talk to other students or the Career Services Office to find out what materials you should send to the judge that you’re interested in interning for.  Usually, the initial submission will include your resume and a cover letter.  If you get an interview, you should bring a writing sample and your transcripts just in case the judge or the law clerk needs it.  But, it might be different for the judge you have in mind so check with others first.

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How To Read Cases In Law School

January 21, 2011 1 comment

Each case or written opinion is comprised of different sections and components.

A well-written opinion usually begins by outlining the legal issue(s) followed by the background facts pertaining to the situation in controversy.  After these two sections comes the procedural posture of the case, which simply means the case’s history with regards to how the courts have ruled on the matter.  Then, the court delves into the “discussion” or legal analysis of the issues.  Last, there is a brief conclusion followed by the court’s ultimate ruling.

Well-written opinions will have headings for each different section.  Unfortunately, however, some cases are not structured as neatly and require the reader to delineate each section on his/her own.  Initially, this may not be as simple as it sounds but over time it becomes second nature.

Eventually, the reader will recognize where one section ends and the next begins.  For example, legal issue sentences usually begin with the word “whether.”  Thus, when the word “whether” appears, you should ask yourself if it is framing the legal issue for the opinion.  If so, you should mark it.  You should also realize that once the legal issue has been stated, a different section should follow.  Continue this practice until you have reached the end of the opinion.

Sections (usually in this order):

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5 Law School Tips For Entering Students

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

If you’re thinking about going to law school and you’re looking for some tips on ways to improve your chances of doing well, consider the 5 tips below.  These are tips I’ve put together from my personal experiences in law school and the experiences of some of my law school peers.

Just because these tips have worked for us doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll work for you.  Nonetheless, these are still pretty straightforward tips that will never hurt!  Ultimately, you’ll decide what works best for you.  Until then, consider the following.

1) Read The Assignments!

I know, it sounds really obvious, but it can’t be stressed enough.  Read the assignments in their entirety!

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