Virginia Attorney General Mike Herring Pays W&M Law a Visit!

lennonby Kate Lennon, Class of 2017

On March 24, W&M Law had the privilege of hosting yet another prominent figure in the legal community. In the afternoon of that day, Virginia Attorney General Herring came to the law school for a lecture and Q&A session. This event was open to students and the public, which provided for a great atmosphere and a variety of questions. The Attorney General began his lecture by speaking of the roles of an attorney general: fighting for constituents, fighting for equality and opportunity for all Virginians, and keeping neighborhoods and community safe. He then went into talking about these roles individually.

When speaking of his role to fight for constituents, the Attorney General spoke of the Affordable Care Act. He explained that in his view, the issue of the Affordable Care Act literally means the difference between a modest family of four being able to afford health insurance and not being able to afford it at all. He then spoke about his role in fighting for equality and opportunity in both the areas of marriage equality and domiciliary status for children of immigrants. As most know, Attorney General Herring is known for his refusal to defend Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Hearing his view in regards to this topic was truly fascinating, revolving around his goal of Virginia not being on the wrong side of history with these marriage issues.

herringAttorney General Herring then turned to discussions revolving around keeping neighborhoods and the community safe. He explained that since he used to be a county supervisor, issues of safety are of great importance to him. He reflected on a public safety tour he did to find out the issues and move toward helping these issues like drugs and sexual assault. The Attorney General then ended his lecture listing issues he hopes to address moving forward such as consumer protection, equality, hate crimes, and the criminal justice system.

After this lecture, the event moved in Q&A. The Q&A was incredibly interesting as it varied from public questions on local issues to student questions involving the law and professor questions regarding the Attorney General’s authority in defending state laws. When the questions portion ended, the event moved into a reception where attendees could talk with each other and with the Attorney General one on one. These opportunities to hear from and speak with such a prominent figure in the making of history are another reason law school is such a unique experience. I think taking advantage of the opportunities that interest you in law school are what can round out the law school experience and make the most of legal education.

Click here to read the news story.

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Helping Ex-Felons Reclaim Their Right to Vote

woodsby Lance Woods, Class of 2015

My name is Lance A. Woods, and I am a third year law student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I am a U.S. Army veteran and have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I attended the University of Pittsburgh for undergrad, where I earned a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History. After graduating, I moved to New Haven, Connecticut where I helped supervise a juvenile correction facility. This past year, I served as a legal extern with the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, Restoration of Rights office (ROR), which helps ex-felons reclaim their right to vote.

Given that this is my last year of law school, I wanted to earn class credit while also using the skills I acquired over the past two years, to better the lives of marginalized populations. Each day in the ROR office, I worked closely with probation officers and court clerks from all over Virginia to ensure that applicants completed the necessary steps to reclaim their voting rights. Additionally my supervisor, Carlos Hopkins, Counselor to the Governor, provided me with a number of interesting research projects concerning felon disenfranchisement. I also had the privilege of working along side the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Levar Stoney, who helped Governor McAullife set a new record by restoring the voting rights of 5,113 Virginians in 2014.

My most memorable externship experience occurred when I informed an applicant that his voting rights had been restored. The man, who was in his seventies, became overwhelmed with emotion and cried genuine tears of joy. Virginia’s 2014 general election marked the very first time this applicant had ever voted. Knowing that I contributed to this unforgettable event, serves as the most fulfilling part of my law school experience.

Although great progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to be done. Virginia is one of four states where convicted felons can permanently lose their right to vote.  According to the Sentencing Project, it is estimated that Virginia is home to over 450,000 disenfranchised felons. The ROR office is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to help alleviate the effects of this archaic policy. I would highly encourage everyone to take advantage of this extremely fulfilling opportunity.

Externship Experience: Judicial Extern

wongby Debbie Wong, Class of 2015

Debbie Wong is originally from Needham, Massachusetts. She earned her B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia. She spent her1L summer working at the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Hearings and Appeals, and her 2L summer at K&L Gates LLP in Washington, D.C. After graduation, she will be clerking for Federal Chief Judge Glen Conrad in Roanoke, Virginia for a year before returning to K&L Gates LLP as an associate. She is the Communications Editor for the William & Mary Law Review and a teaching assistant for Torts.

When I accepted my post-grad federal clerkship in January of 2L year, I knew that externing for a judge during my final year of law school would be a great way to learn about clerking. I vaguely knew what a clerk did after researching for my clerkship interview and talking to current and former clerks, but I really wanted to experience the work firsthand. Each judge runs his or her chambers differently, but my externship with Judge Mark Davis, a federal judge at the Eastern District of Virginia in Norfolk, helped me understand the general day-to-day life of a clerk and allowed me to work on challenging, but extremely interesting, cases.

I spent about fourteen weeks externing for Judge Davis in the fall of my third year. During my first and second weeks with Judge Davis, I was fortunate to sit in on a criminal jury trial and observe direct examination, cross examination, and closing arguments. During my last week of the externship, I also got to observe voir dire for a different case. I was taking Trial Advocacy at the time, a class at the Law School about the fundamental steps of a trial, and it was so interesting to see the concepts I learned in the classroom play out in the real world. Also, I really enjoyed observing criminal sentencing hearings where the judge discussed and considered both mitigating and aggravating circumstances of the case in order to reach an appropriate sentence for the defendant.

One really cool aspect of externing for a judge is that you are free to observe not only your judge’s proceedings, but also the proceedings before other judges in the courthouse. I observed initial appearances, detention hearings, and other motion hearings in criminal cases before the magistrate judges. I saw attorneys with very strong oral advocacy skills as well as those with unpersuasive techniques.

Outside of the courtroom, I researched controlling and persuasive case law, drafted memorandum opinions, and discussed cases with Judge Davis and his clerks. The issues that I handled during my externship include: modification of a restitution order, petition for writ of habeas corpus, attorneys’ fees, motion for default judgment, and interpleader action. Judge Davis and his clerks took the time out of their incredibly busy schedules to meet with me whenever I had questions and also gave me specific, valuable feedback on my work. Most importantly, I was welcomed into chambers and immediately treated like part of the team by Judge Davis, his clerks, his assistant, Becky, and the other staff members at the courthouse.

There is truly no substitute for the experience I received in Judge Davis’s chambers and I highly recommend judicial externships as a way to gain universal skills for every area of the law.

Global Flight Relief Externship

rileyby Abby Riley, Class of 2016

Abby is a 2L from Adams, Tennessee. She went to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she received a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Political Science: International and Comparative Studies. At William & Mary, Abby is a member of the Environmental Law & Policy Review and is secretary of the International Law Society. 

My externship at Global Flight Relief, the non-profit humanitarian arm of a private aviation corporation, was valuable to my legal career in surprising ways. What I expected was a semester during which I would build on the legal skills I had developed during my first year at William & Mary and at my legal internship over the summer. I thought I would hone my skillset in an area that interested me (non-profit work in developing countries). I figured I would learn something about planes. It only took a few hours the first day of work to know that I was going to get much more than I originally anticipated.

An externship allows students the opportunity to work in legal settings for academic credit during the fall or spring semester. For me, this meant that once a week I would lift my nose from my textbooks, trade classroom casual for business casual, and head into the real world instead of Evidence class. The first day this happened, I honestly was a little terrified. Rightfully so, as it turns out – within my first few hours I had a crash course in business associations, non-profit law, and tax law, none of which I had ever taken in school before. People had always told me that law school doesn’t teach you all aspects of the law, but rather how to think like a lawyer. You learn how to analyze and work through problems because you won’t always know the answers right off the bat. It’s almost like getting tossed in a pool, and in sink or swim situations like my first day of work at Global Flight Relief, I was infinitely grateful that my William & Mary professors had prepared me to swim.

Over the next few months, my way of thinking about non-profit organizations entirely changed. I began to understand the extent that the Internal Revenue Code dictates a non-profit organization’s formation and activities. Beyond the fundamentals, I encountered very practical issues that humanitarian actors working in foreign countries face constantly. How does an aviation non-profit carry on its humanitarian missions when there is an outbreak of Ebola? What legal and healthcare structures must it interact with? What laws will affect payment requirements in an airline hangar contract with Tanzania?

The things that surprised me the most, however, were the things I learned about myself (a visit from a delegation from Turkey was a close second). I learned that I absolutely love contract drafting. I learned that I can effectively research business structures, even though I am not at all business-savvy. I also learned what I’m not so great at – I can report well in writing, but verbally summarizing my findings to my supervisor was something that was more difficult for me. Fortunately, I now have a year and a half to improve before I’m tossed into the job market.

In sum, the externship was a great variety of learning experiences. While not all law students choose to extern, I found it to be a formative part of my legal education. I not only learned about the law, but about myself as a future lawyer as well.

And yes, I did learn a little about planes in the process.

1L Interviewing, Part 2: GPIIP

brownby Cathy Brown, Class of 2017

As I mentioned in my last blog post, this is the time of year when interviewing is at the forefront of 1Ls’ minds.  The summer internship search is in full swing, and my peers and I are becoming seasoned interviewees with a variety of potential summer employers.  My classmates have engaged in on-campus interviews and Skype interviews; some have even packed their business suits in their carry-on luggage to interview with organizations closer to their hometowns over spring break.  However, the largest-scale interview opportunity by far was the Government & Public Interest Interview Program, or GPIIP.

The University of Richmond Law School hosted the 13th Annual GPIIP this year.  This program is a collaboration between William & Mary Law School, University of Richmond School of Law, and Washington & Lee School of Law and was available for students at all three institutions.  At the beginning of the spring semester, students received a large list of government and public interest employers who are looking to hire legal interns for the summer.  Each of these organizations sent a representative to GPIIP to sit at a booth for the day and interview candidates for their summer positions.  Students could apply electronically for the opportunity to interview with as many organizations as we’d like.  Each interview slot lasted twenty minutes.

Therefore, this program is efficient for both employers and students; employers could see many interested internship candidates throughout the day, and students could conveniently interview with a wide variety of organizations that piqued our interest without needing to travel across the state to these groups’ offices.

Twenty minutes is not a long time to convince someone that (1) you’re interested in working for them, (2) you’d be a good fit for their organization, and (3) you’re the best candidate for the job.  However, I put my interviewing experience and tips from William & Mary’s Office of Career Services to good use and had a very informative and memorable conversation with a representative from a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. that really interested me.  I had done my research ahead of time, so I knew all about the organization’s goals and past achievements and who would be interviewing me.  This helped a lot, since it meant that my interviewer didn’t have to waste precious time going over this basic information with me.  I had also reflected on my past work experience and my reasons for being interested in this employer so I would be prepared for potential questions.  Finally, of course, I prepared some questions of my own for the employer to show that I was genuinely interested in their organization.  This preparation paid off, since the organization contacted me about having a second interview just a couple of weeks after the GPIIP event.

GPIIP was an efficient and helpful way part of my summer internship search, and I felt very prepared for the interview thanks to the Office of Career Services and Legal Practice Program’s efforts earlier in the semester.

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1L Interviewing, Part 1: The Alumni Mock Interview Program

brownby Cathy Brown, Class of  2017

Have you ever felt nervous before an interview?  One of my college friends was always petrified of the interview process, afraid of embarrassing herself or being unable to think of an appropriate answer to a tricky question on the spot.  Consequently, I’ve been involved with quite a few mock interviews over the past few years, posing as the interviewer the night before her meeting to help her practice and allay her fears.

This semester, however, I had the opportunity to practice honing my own interviewing skills when the Legal Practice Program partnered with the law school’s Office of Career Services (OCS) for the Alumni Mock Interview Program.  This program began with representatives from OCS giving a presentation on interviewing techniques in every 1L’s Legal Practice class.  In class the following week, we watched some demonstration videos illustrating examples of successful interviews and those that missed the mark.  After watching the clips, we had the opportunity to critique them as a class.  We also split into pairs and practiced interviewing with a classmate so we could practice fielding difficult questions in a friendly atmosphere.

Finally, the program culminated on January 30th, when each member of the 1L class was assigned to have a mock interview with a William & Mary Law School alum.  To make the experience as rewarding as possible, the Office of Career Services assigned students to an interviewer from a field that matches our potential legal interests.  For example, I’m tentatively interested in practicing family and elder law at a small firm, and my alumni interviewer – who started his own small firm – specialized in juvenile dependency.  To make conditions as realistic as possible, students were asked to dress professionally and conduct some preliminary research on the interviewer’s work.

Admittedly, I was a little nervous before going into my interview; however, my interviewer was extremely friendly and clearly excited to be back at his alma mater, helping to train the next generation of lawyers.  After a nice twenty-five minute conversation and a few minutes of helpful feedback, he sent me on my way, feeling more confident in my ability to be professional and express myself in the interview setting.

This mock interview program couldn’t have come at a better time, since my classmates and I are beginning to be called in to interview for summer internship positions.  Next week, for example, I head to Richmond for an interview at the Government & Public Interest Interview Program (expect an update on that in my next blog post!).  Although I’m sure I’ll still have butterflies in my stomach before the interview, at least I can go into the program knowing that William & Mary has given me a unique opportunity to develop interviewing skills, and has given me the tools I need to succeed.

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Externship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

hubbardby Matt Hubbard, Class of 2016

I am originally from Richmond, Virginia, and I attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where I received a degree in Political Science. After graduating I was a staffer for a U.S. Senate campaign in Virginia and also a Director with YMCA Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer. I currently serve as an Assistant Symposium Editor for the William and Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review and am a member of the National Trial Team. 

This past fall semester I had the privilege of accepting a legal externship with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). I had looked forward to the externship program since coming to law school, eager for the opportunity to earn class credit while also receiving real life work experience. I hope to practice within the field of environmental law, and a semester with CBF presented an excellent opportunity to both gain experience in this area of law while also serving the important mission of a non-profit advocacy organization that has been working hard to protect the bay and its watershed for over 40 years.

My externship got off to an unique start when I arrived for my first day to find the office looking like a disaster zone after new carpeting had just been installed. It turned out to be the best possible way to begin the semester though, as there is no better way get to know people than moving heavy furniture together!  My supervisor, Peggy Sanner, is the Assistant Director and Senior Attorney for the Virginia section of CBF. She started me off with some standard legal research surrounding the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, or total maximum daily load, which is a set of pollution regulations developed by the EPA for all the bay states. As the semester continued my research and analysis projects became more diverse, and I was assigned more complicated tasks that were both more interesting and more challenging. My work wasn’t restricted to legal research, however, and some of my favorite days included meetings with members of the Virginia General Assembly, meetings at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to advise the drafting of regulations, and attending a speech about the bay given by Attorney General Mark Herring.

Eel Caught in a River Pot

Eel Caught in a River Pot

The highlight of my externship came when we invited several members of the Virginia Association of Counties to come aboard one of CBF’s educational vessels for a  tour of part of the lower James River. As a group we observed oyster beds, caught several varieties of fish, and examined crabs and eels collected from CBF river pots. A true appreciation for the value of the bay and its watershed can only be achieved by experiencing it, and it was powerful to watch the participants gain this understanding.

My externship has been one of the best parts of my law school experience so far, and I encourage everyone to find an opportunity that aligns with their interests and take advantage of this unique learning experience.

Before and after pictures of planted grass to serve as a runoff buffer on the lower James River

Before and after pictures of planted grass to serve as a runoff buffer on the lower James River

My Introduction to Career Services as a 1L

satiraby John Satira, Class of 2017

Starting December 1st, first-year law students can begin applying for their first legal internships. Upon starting law school, I had no idea that the first of December was such a significant date for 1L students. Thankfully, William & Mary Law School’s Office of Career Services (OCS) offered plenty of guidance in helping me prepare for my summer internship search.

I was first introduced to OCS during orientation week in August. At that time, a summer internship was the last thing on my mind. OCS acknowledged that much of our first semester as law students would be spent adapting to the life of a law student. However, the office still encouraged us to use our free time to explore different career opportunities.

To start us off, OCS had each 1L take a career self-assessment test. If I learned anything from the self-assessment, it was that I had no idea what type of law I wanted to pursue. Therefore, I took OCS’s other advice, and I began contacting current attorneys to learn about their experiences. I began to reach out to some contacts I had made as an undergraduate student, and I had some great phone conversations with lawyers in a variety of fields. While I still do not know what exactly I want to do, I have been able to narrow down my areas of interest thanks to the advice of those who I had talked to.

The Office of Career Services Staff

The Office of Career Services Staff

After doing some exploration on my own, OCS began having advisor meetings with 1L students in late October. I cannot describe how truly helpful my OCS advisor meeting was. My advisor and I talked about long-term career prospects and how to begin the summer internship search. She was able to offer me advice on potential summer employers, geographic considerations, and helpful internship listing resources.

In October and November, OCS also gave resume and cover letter lectures to help us refine the manner in which we will present ourselves to employers. I learned a lot at the lectures; needless to say, my resume received a major overhaul! I also used to dread writing cover letters, but the lectures instructed me on how to break down a job description, analyze my own skill set, and write an appropriate cover letter. Now, I am not nearly as intimidated as I used to be.

As December 1st inches closer and closer, I am excited to begin the internship application process. It is time to put all my newly developed internship-search skills to the test!

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Gum J.D. ’16 Recounts Summer Experience in Iraq

Kaylee-Gum

 by Leslie McCullough

Reposted from the William & Mary Law School News, Originally Posted on  October 27, 2014

The primary purpose of an internship is to offer students real-world experience. Few opportunities achieve that goal as profoundly as Kaylee Gum’s summer 2014 internship working to enhance the delivery of legal aid to the Iraqi people.

“It was a very interesting time to be in Iraq,” says Gum, a second-year law student at William & Mary. “As Iraqis look into the next steps for their country, it was interesting to hear local opinions and learn how people perceive the politics, economy, and future of their country.”

Growing up in a military family, Gum spent several years of her childhood abroad, living in Germany and Italy. She enlisted in the Air Force ROTC program and graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2013 with a degree in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies, then continued directly to law school.

“William & Mary had great credentials and I knew I’d be happy here,” says Gum, who is a second lieutenant and reservist on an Air Force JAG educational delay. “I liked that the school offered lots of international law classes and that there is a lot to do outside the classroom to enjoy a well-rounded experience. Everything I heard was positive and it has all proven to be true.”

Last spring, when Professor Christie Warren, director of the Program in Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding, posted a selection of international internships, Gum applied to go Iraq, the only Middle Eastern country on the list.

“Almost 100 students have participated in international internships since the program began in 2002, but this is the first time anyone has gone to Iraq,” says Warren. “Kaylee’s experience was definitely unique, and she was the perfect match for the opportunity.”

Gum_Iraq_475x265For 12 weeks, Gum worked with two senior legal advisors in the Iraq Access to Justice Program, part of the United States Agency for International Development’s five-year effort to improve access to justice for vulnerable and disadvantaged people in that country.

“I worked on legal aid development within Iraq,” says Gum. “One of my primary projects was to conduct comparative research on legal aid systems in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. I drafted a document of best practices for delivery of legal aid in an ethical way.”

Her recommendations were provided to an Iraqi organization whose mission is to assist in the on-going development and sustainability of legal aid in the country. She also developed an assessment tool for legal aid clinics to ensure that those best practices are followed. Another part of her responsibilities included teaching the legal aid clinic staff how to write grants to fund their programs.

“I learned a lot about legal aid in general,” says Gum. “It was interesting to see both sides of the process. I had the opportunity to see how vulnerable groups can receive legal assistance and I got to see the inside working of the clinic. It was a perspective I wouldn’t get in the United States.”

Gum’s supervisors were thrilled with her accomplishments.

“Kaylee is thoughtful and analytical, and provided valuable input and feedback,” says Wilson Myers, deputy director of the Iraq Access to Justice Program. “In meetings with civil society, government, and international partners, Kaylee demonstrated professionalism and preparation and an impressive ability to communicate with stakeholders in both Arabic and English.”

The unrest that took place all summer in Iraq made Gum’s internship particularly challenging. She spent the first half of the summer living in Baghdad. During the second half, she was moved to Erbil, a city in Iraq’s northern Kurdish region. Baghdad was no longer safe, and concern mounted when Mosul and surrounding cities in the north fell to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). After careful assessment of the developing situation, and in consultation with her supervisors at the Law School and in Iraq, Gum made the decision to stay in the country to complete her internship.

“She handled herself impeccably in a very challenging environment,” says Warren. “Her experience is one of the best examples of why the Comparative Legal Studies and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Program is so important and useful for the Law School. She benefited and the project benefited.”

“I never really feared for my personal safety and I never felt threatened,” says Gum of her summer experience. “I am very grateful for the opportunity and the contributions that made this experience possible.”

Gum’s internship was supported by a gift from Lois Critchfield, a donor who shares Gum’s interest in the Middle East.

“I’ve been involved with the College for more than 10 years, trying to help students focused on Middle East studies,” says Critchfield. “My long-time interest in the region goes back before Saddam Hussein. I had a career in the CIA, stationed in Jordan, and I made many visits to the embassy in Iraq. Iraq is a wonderful country, and I’m thrilled to be able to help students, like Kaylee, who are interested in helping the Middle East.”

Next summer, Gum will complete a required internship with the Air Force JAG Corps. After graduation, she will serve four years with the Air Force.

“I’d like to go back to the Middle East,” she says. “Ultimately, I want to work in international law.”

Read more about it: Kaylee Gum and other W&M law students who worked at projects around the globe in summer 2014 blogged about their experiences at law.wm.edu/voicesfromthefield. You can go directly to Kaylee’s blog here.

Summer Experiences: Judicial Intern for the Eastern District of Virginia

BuyrnSue Buyrn is originally from Chesapeake, Virginia. She earned her B.S. from Virginia Tech, double majoring in Philosophy and Psychology. In her second year at the Law school, Sue will be joining the staff of the Journal of Women and the Law, as well as serving as the Community Service Chair for the Student Bar Association.

After hitting the books hard and finally finishing my first year of law school, I was ready to see what the real world had to offer an aspiring lawyer. Knowing that I wanted to practice law in Virginia, I focused on job opportunities in the Commonwealth’s capital city…and I hit the jackpot.

At the conclusion of this summer, I will have spent fourteen weeks interning for Judge David J. Novak, a magistrate judge at the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond. While in the courtroom, I have observed all of the district court judges preside over a variety of civil and criminal matters: child prostitution, drug distribution, wire fraud, and identity document forgery, just to name a few. I have seen good lawyering and bad lawyering, and as time passes I have been able to identify the habits and skill sets that make an effective attorney.

Outside of the courtroom, I draft bench memoranda that are used to assist in pretrial settlement conferences. I then sit through the conferences with Judge Novak, and he teaches me how to gauge the value of a case. To date, I have been involved in settlement conferences focused on patent infringement and trademark infringement.

Last month, I turned in my first draft of a thirty-one page social security opinion. The issue is whether a man has been rightfully denied social security disability benefits. The case has been appealed four times before it gets to the federal court level. I spent weeks sifting through the plaintiff’s medical records, reading and re-reading the Administrative Law Judge’s opinion, and ultimately considered whether a substantial amount of evidence was provided to rightfully deny benefits to this man. Judge Novak will review the decision I made and offer me guidance on how I analyzed the issues and can better my legal writing skills.

I have never been so appreciative of a job. However, it is not the substantive law or the courtroom spectacle that make this job great. It is the people. Judge Novak and his team, Maria, Frank, Al, and Cheryl, have welcomed me and my fellow interns into chambers like we are a part of their family. They have created a program that has made this summer both educational and entertaining for us, organizing interesting field trips and bringing in outside speakers. In all ways imaginable, they work to help us succeed. Judge Novak and his law clerks have set great examples of what it means to be a citizen lawyer in today’s job market, and I have nothing more to say than thank you.

Summer Experiences: Circuit Court in MD

cooperMatthew Cooper is originally from Elkton, Maryland.  He earned his B.A. from Virginia Tech in 2013 with his major in Political Science.  As a 2L, Matt will be working on the staff of the William & Mary Business Law Review and as a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Team.  Matt is currently interested in the fields of contract law and general business litigation, including both construction and government contracts.

After seven years of exposure to the law and life inside a private-practice firm, I entered my first year of law school with the goal of obtaining a judicial internship.  Being familiar with the process of an individual first obtaining legal representation and then finally having their dispute either settle outside of court or litigated in court, instilled in me the desire for gaining knowledge of how the process works from beginning to end in the court system.  As a result, I have spent my summer as a judicial intern for the Honorable Jane Cairns Murray at the Circuit Court for Cecil County in Maryland.

The experience and skills I have gained as a judicial intern for Judge Murray have been unbelievably rewarding.  As a judge at the state trial level, Judge Murray oversees a wide range of both civil and criminal litigation matters.  Among the most common areas of law that I have been exposed to in Judge Murray’s chambers include family law, criminal law, and estates and trusts.  The internship has been a phenomenal supplement to my first-year of law school, as I have been able to work on complex legal issues that I spent my first year of law school learning and studying.

From my first day on the job, Judge Murray has demonstrated complete confidence in my legal research and writing abilities.  I have drafted countless memoranda, and I have even drafted an Opinion on a complex civil procedure issue surrounding a riparian rights dispute on the Chesapeake Bay.  I have also had the opportunity to observe voir dire and the interviewing of potential jurors before a criminal jury trial, as well as assisting in the formulation of jury instructions in accordance with the Maryland Criminal Pattern Jury Instructions.  When I am not conducting legal research or drafting memoranda and Orders, I spend a significant portion of time in court observing trials and assisting Judge Murray on a myriad of different areas of the law.  Being able to view how different lawyers litigate, including how they formulate opening statements, motions, and closings, and then being able to discuss with the Judge exactly what she was thinking and seeing on the bench has been a truly invaluable experience.  The skills and knowledge that I have obtained as a judicial intern will be helpful as I enter my second-year at William & Mary and begin my fall externship with Kaufman & Canoles.

 

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