My favorite part of the semester is my private placement externship. I am externing at a civil litigation law firm that specializes in business litigation and personal injuries. I am lucky enough to shadow a few attorneys and have had the opportunity to see some really cool things [cool to a law student, not as cool to a seasoned attorney]. My day usually consists of different attorneys stopping by my desk to ask me to go to court with them, sit in on a deposition, help with trial preparation, or observe a new client interview.
My externship is my favorite part of the semester because I feel like I am getting the opportunity to see a day in the life of a lawyer. I have taken a mediation class, I am currently enrolled in the civil litigation practicum, and I am learning about client interviews and interactions in ethical lawyering. However, having the opportunity to sit in on an actual mediation this semester, watch an attorney prepare his client for a deposition and observe attorneys deal with [sometimes difficult] client interactions, has been a whole different type of learning that is hard to compare to in-class learning.
No law student can deny that law school can be so rewarding, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. While I’ve had moments where I feel motivated about my future profession and excited to become a lawyer, I have also had moments [usually mid-finals] where I question my ability to practice law or wonder if I chose the right path. I love my externship because it helps confirm that lawyering is doable. Of course lawyering may be overwhelming at times, but I’ve loved observing how rewarding it can be as well. The externship has allowed me to see that being a lawyer is much like being a student of law school. Not simply in curriculum, but rather the unforeseen obstacles, important deadlines and sometimes quite literally mounds of work. However, what is missed in law school practice is the biggest reward of being an attorney, which is participating in the betterment of other people’s lives.