Why do judges require a full-time commitment for externship?

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Anonymous User
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Why do judges require a full-time commitment for externship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:44 am

I am a 3L right now, and am looking into judicial externships for the spring semester. I will not be able to do a full-time externship during the semester (I have to take Professional Responsibility and a course that satisfies the writing requirement next semester in order to be able to graduate, and am involved in two student organizations on campus).

I asked around and looked at job postings, but it seems that judges all require a full-time commitment. Why is that? Are there students who have done part time externships with judges? Any advice would be appreciated!!!

traydeuce
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Re: Why do judges require a full-time commitment for externship?

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:53 am

This is usually not the case, so far as I know. I go to Georgetown, and all the D.D.C. judges are on symplicity, and they all want 15 hours of people's time. I've externed, over the summer, for some COA judges who had externs during the year and didn't demand a full-time commitment, and even some of my fellow summer externs only came in 1 or 2 days a week. That said, there are very good reasons to demand full-time commitments, particularly on the appellate level. Writing a bench memo (I assume you know what one is, but if not, a bench memo is a memo that recommends a disposition of an appeal, and includes a thorough facts section, and a considered analysis that responds to the parties' briefs and considers on-point authority outside their briefs), even in an easy case, is a large undertaking. They can take 2 days at the shortest (maybe one if it's something in which you have a great deal of experience); they can take, on rare occasion, 2 full business weeks. Now, if you come in the equivalent of 2 days a week, that bench memo can be stretched out over several weeks, which is too long, because there's a certain timeframe in which a bench memo must be finished. Many circuits circulate them to the other judges on the panel in time for their clerks to write supplemental memos, if necessary. So the externs that I've seen who come in 1-2 days a week don't really do anything outside of certain research projects or making recommendations in easy matters that are handled in the main by staff attorneys - that is, recommending whether your judge signs off on an order that a staff attorney has already drafted - and their presence is more of a favor to the schools where they go than anything else. On the district level, however, there are smaller and more discrete tasks to do, and shorter time commitments are workable. In short, I wouldn't even bother externing for an appellate judge if you can't give him a full week. Otherwise, it's just a meaningless line on a resume, and you'll learn nothing. But I might recommend externing for a district judge part-time.

Anonymous User
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Re: Why do judges require a full-time commitment for externship?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:36 am

it depends.

some judges because they truly want it to be a learning experience and think anything less than full time isn't doing you much good. i had a volunteer externship with a really cool judge this fall, but after i gave him my schedule, which only permitted me maybe ~15 hours max, he said candidly it might be a waste of time.

other judges because it's a waste of their time. some stuff is time-sensitive, and not being there for even a day can be a problem.

it's my understanding federal judges only allow full-time as a matter of standardized policy.

traydeuce
Posts: 680
Joined: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:07 pm

Re: Why do judges require a full-time commitment for externship?

Postby traydeuce » Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:38 am

^^ Well that's not true, of federal judges, because like I said, virtually the whole District Court for the District of Columbia is seeking 15-hour externs this fall.




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