Anonymous User wrote:Got an offer at a district court last week. The judge told me that I wouldn't get much hands on experience, but that I would learn a ton from observation and discussing my observations with her every week. Is this typical for internships with judges; that is, do most 1L judicial interns simply watch court all summer, and do no hands on legal work? Also, will it hurt me in OCI next year if I take this offer and don't have any hands on legal work to talk about with firms?
I learned much, much more observing at the district court I worked at over 1L than I did doing substantive work. I had a couple projects over the summer, but I would say that 90+ percent of my time was spent sitting in on trials and hearings going on in the court. I know that some judges wanted their interns to do more substantive work (that the clerks would end up redoing anyway), but not mine. The projects I did have were enough for me to talk about during OCI if I was asked about them, and sitting in on this one set of hearings (that my judge was not even a part of) may have sealed the deal for getting an offer from my dream firm. That firm has a reputation for having lawyers that conduct themselves in a certain way that's unique among biglaw firms.
Since I wasn't tied down with a lot of writing and research, I was able to go to different hearings and trials involving lawyers from that firm. So during my OCI screener and callback, I was of course asked about my summer experience at the courthouse. Invariably, I was able to spin this into how great it was to be able to watch truly grade A attorneys at work. I would describe how the attorneys carried themselves in the courtroom and how those are the professional characteristics I want to be able to hone. Naturally, I mentioned the names of the attorneys I was most impressed with and usually the person interviewing me knew at least one of them and had very good things to say about them. It completely changed the tone of the interview from that second going forward.
It's one thing to say, "I have heard such good things about the attorneys at your firm from Mr. X," and a whole other thing to say, "I was so completely and totally impressed with Ms. Y from this firm. This is what she did in the courtroom that so few other attorneys did. I hope to be able eventually to develop that same level of professional confidence, poise, enthusiasm, etc. And judging from everybody I've talked to and everything I've seen, I know that this firm will absolutely get me on the right track."
Oh, and also, don't even worry about getting a writing sample from your 1L summer job. I think there was one firm at our entire OCI that even asked for them.