This week we feature the 1L summer experiences of Adrienne McKelvey, SJQ 2013-Summer Student and Judicial Clinic Extern, Judge Denise Lindberg of Utah’s Third Judicial District Court & John Wiethorn, SJQ 2013, Intern with Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas.
Adrienne McKelvey, SJQ 2013—Summer Student and Judicial Clinic Extern, Judge Denise Lindberg of Utah’s Third Judicial District Court
Why did you come to law school? I came to law school after working as a legal assistant in government and private practice. Through this work, I was able to see that practicing law was a valuable and rewarding career. Since coming to law school, I think I might enjoy practicing commercial litigation.
What did you do last summer? Last summer, I took summer school classes and did the judicial clinic, working as an extern for the Honorable Judge Denise Lindberg in the Third Judicial District.
Why did you decide to do that? Taking classes and a clinic over the summer was a great option for me because it allowed me to gain in-state residency after my first year. Getting credits out of the way over the summer was also nice because it allows me to take a lighter course load this year.
If you had a job, clinic or fellowship: How did you learn of the opportunity and what was the application and interview process like? I learned of the clinic opportunities by attending the clinic information sessions that happen in the spring and by meeting with the clinic office one-on-one. Then I submitted an application. There was no formal interview, but after I was selected for my placement, I met with the judge and her other 1L extern and discussed scheduling and expectations.
If you had a job, clinic or fellowship: what did you do on a day to day basis? My judge allowed me to work fulltime for about five weeks over the summer. I attended court, in-chambers conferences and did a lot of reading briefs, pleadings, doing research and writing draft orders and bench memos.
What was the best part about what you did over the summer? What did you learn? I especially enjoyed doing research, writing, and working closely with the judge on complex legal issues. It was rewarding to apply the skills I learned in my research and methods classes.
What advice do you have for the 1L’s who are thinking about what to do this summer? I had a wonderful experience and learned a lot. I highly recommend the judicial clinic because I was able to get credit and have a rewarding experience working with a judge. I also found that having a judicial externship on my resume was a great talking point in interviews this fall.
John Wiethorn, SJQ 2013, Intern with Clark County District Attorney’s Office in Las Vegas
Why did you come to law school? I’ve known for quite some time that I wanted to do criminal prosecution. Also, I am a nerd and fell in love with the law in undergrad.
What did you do last summer? I worked as a legal intern in fabulous Las Vegas at the Clark County District Attorney’s Office
Why did you decide to do that? Out of all of the district attorney offices that offered me a position, Clark County was offering the most hands-on experience and was the most enthusiastic in the recruitment process.
How did you learn of the opportunity and what was the application and interview process like? I found the position on my own using the Clark County government website. There was a paper application, as well as a criminal background form, that I mailed in with my materials. A few weeks after I submitted my application I received a phone call (during class) from the Chief Deputy District Attorney in charge of recruitment and hiring. The phone interview lasted about an hour and two weeks later she called me back to offered me the position.
What did you do on a day to day basis? In the mornings I worked with different specialized litigation teams that handled different types of crime. I interviewed victims, prepared witnesses for trial, drafted responses to habeus motions, and observed the cases that I worked on being handled in court. In the afternoons I was in my office in the appellate division, where I drafted the State’s responses to criminal appeals to the Nevada Supreme Court. I also had the opportunity to participate in a number of experiences that gave me different perspectives on the criminal justice system. As an intern I had the opportunity to witness an autopsy, tour the county and city jails, sit in on negotiation sessions with defense counsel, go on a ride along with the police, and even perform research on a constitutional challenge to Nevada’s medical marijuana statute.
What was the best part about what you did over the summer? What did you learn? I worked with some really amazing attorneys on major felony cases. Being able to get perpetrators of heinous crimes off the street and help people who made some poor choices stay away from coming back into the system was highly rewarding. I learned a lot over the summer, from research and writing to interview skills and negotiation tactics. Most importantly, I learned what the day to day life of a prosecutor is like and what the job really entails.
What was your least favorite part? The heat! Let’s just say that spending a summer in the desert wearing a suit all the time is not the most comfortable thing one can do.
What advice do you have for the 1L’s who are thinking about what to do this summer? Apply to as many places you can think of and can afford to apply to. You never know when a door might open. Also, there are amazing clinical opportunities for you this summer that most law students never have a chance to access. Take advantage of them.