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How Can Law Students Prepare for Entering the Workforce (Video Interview)

Professor of Law, Gonzaga University

Ann Murphy, Professor of Law at Gonzaga University School of Law, answers the question: “How can law students prepare for entering the workforce and representing real life clients?”

Transcript:

ANN MURPHY:

If students want to be prepared, when they are in law school, to prepare for the future, there’s a number of things they can do. Of course, it depends on the law school where they’re going, but most every law school has a clinic and an externship program. So I recommend those really highly. Those are structured within the system, and then of course they can also get jobs outside of law school.

I learned a lot from the employment I had outside of law school, and it paid really well… It didn’t. It paid $5 an hour. I was running things down to the County Courthouse in Chicago. It was a little crazy, but it gave me a real good idea of how things actually worked. You have all of what’s happening in law school, and they say, “Be sure and do this well in advance,” and I’d have a lawyer saying, “The statute of limitations is running today. I have to get this down,” and it’s 4:30.

It’s a great experience to actually go out and do it. I have students who work in our clinic. So it’s a fully functioning law office in the first floor of our building. They act as lawyers. They have supervisors, of course, so they’re not going in unprepared. But we have what’s called a Rule Nine in the State of Washington, so they’re recognized as lawyers and they stand up and they do it all themselves.

I’ve had students do Ninth Circuit appeals, I’ve had students do full jury trials. I’ve never done a full jury trial because tax court is a judge, so all my trials were bench trials. I’ve never done a Ninth Circuit appeal. What a great experience! What a fabulous experience. They love that.

The externships, many times they’re with judges, so the judge will tell them, “Here’s what I think is professional behavior, here’s what I think isn’t.” It just works out really well, so I’d really recommend those in their third year.

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