PDO continues its series on 2L summer legal experiences during the summer following their first year of law school. This week features Mindi Hansen, who worked at a small law firm and also participated in the Judicial Clinic.
How did you learn about the position? I did a combination of things this summer. The first was a judicial clinic. I heard about the clinic through the clinic information sessions. The other was a part time job at a small firm. For this job, a fellow classmate (who already had a summer job lined up) was asked if she could suggest someone to work part time for a small firm that was starting to grow. Because she couldn’t work there, she suggested me and I was contacted by the firm.
How did you apply and what was the application process like? Applying for the clinic was relatively simple. There’s an application you get from the clinical department. I had to submit the application, my resume, writing sample, and transcript. Then the judges choose who they want. The application process for the job with the firm was a bit different. After my name was given to them, I had a phone interview with one of the lawyers. I then sent them my resume. After that, I went quite a while before I heard from them. When they contacted me again, they asked for a writing sample, which I sent. After a couple more weeks, I had a lunch interview with all of them. I was then offered the position.
What was a typical day or week at your position like? I typically spent the morning at the courthouse doing the internship with the judge and spent the afternoons at the firm. My clinic was with a criminal trial judge, so I did quite a bit of observing of court time. I also did a research projects and memos on evidentiary motions. At the firm, I was given work primarily from the main partner, but have also gotten projects from the other attorneys. They are a family law firm, so I have gotten to work on settlement agreements, motions, replies, affidavits, and have also met with clients to gather information.
What was the coolest part about the position? The coolest part of the internship with the judge was observing drug court and getting to see jury trials. The coolest part of my part time job is getting a chance to work with real people on real cases – knowing that my work will actually be used in court.
What did you gain from the experience? I’ve gained valuable experience from both summer positions. Every interview I’ve had during OCI’s has been impressed that I’ve observed real jury trials. And, the experience of writing actual motions and meeting clients has been a great experience in the firm.
What advice would you offer applicants? Be open to multiple opportunities, be patient, and get to know your classmates. I thought I had my summer all planned when the opportunity to apply for the part time job came along near the end of the year. The process to apply took quite a bit of time, but in the end worked out. It’s been a great experience working at the firm – and they’ve kept me on during the school year. And, obviously, I would never have gotten the job without the recommendation of a fellow classmate!