I have completed a judicial externship and have also participated in two clinics as a 2L. I think experiential learning is perhaps the most valuable opportunity given to Loyola Law students and puts Loyola in a different class than other schools.
I did a judicial externship in the summer between my 1L and 2L years. I applied all across the board to every federal judge in Los Angeles and ended up with an offer from a federal magistrate judge. The experience was great for me. Judges and their clerks have a lot going on, and they could use help when they can get it. I was completely open to doing whatever work was thrown my way. My judge and her clerks responded by giving me a lot of projects. While I worked on matters that would tend to be low on the priority list for a judge or career clerk, as a learning law student I was glad to have the opportunity to make my mark on those projects. I was able to greatly improve my persuasive writing and my judge was extremely generous with her time and gave me a lot of personal feedback. I came away from that experience a much better writer and more confident to move forward into my remaining law school years.
The clinics offered at Loyola are a great way to learn, grow, and impact peoples’ lives in a positive way. In my work with the Juvenile Innocence and Fair Sentencing Clinic (JIFS), I’ve been able to write briefs on behalf of our clients, respond to their needs, and to represent them in court. It’s been a lot of work but I can’t recommend joining a clinic enough. There’s something about working with real stakes and legitimate deadlines that will drastically improve your legal mind. In my experience, you’ll find yourself well supported by experienced attorneys, but at the end of the day, you need to own your work product and represent your client’s position competently and with vigor. Gaining that experience while still in school is so incredibly valuable and will end up looking great to employers when the job hunt is on.