Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Loyola Externships

This summer I accepted an offer to be an extern for a federal magistrate judge. I am very excited to have been offered this position and it’s precisely what I was hoping for when I started sending out my resumes. Unlike state court externships, there is no electronic method for submitting your materials to federal judges. This meant that I put together around 30 physical packets with a cover letter, resume, grades, and writing sample and mailed them to various federal judges. I was planning on electronically submitting my materials to the state courts as well, but I got an interview and offer before that was necessary.

Loyola definitely helped me along the way in this process. I didn’t even know what a judicial extern did until second semester orientation, where all returning students attended a panel about judicial externships. The panel extoled the virtues of externships, speaking about the value it adds to your resume, and the real-world significance of working with a judge. I was sold on the idea after that panel. Then I discussed my options with my career counselor, Jolene Horn, who then edited my resume and cover letter and counseled me at length about interviewing in the legal world. In addition, Professor Rebecca Delfino, Loyola’s externship coordinator, answered any technical questions I had. I could send emails to either one of them with questions and they answered within an hour or two! I was pretty amazed by their commitment to student’s summer opportunities.

This semester, I chose Immigration Law as my first “elective” course. I knew pretty early in the school year that this was the class I wanted to take. I felt like it was the one that struck the most “personal” chord with me amongst the ones that we could choose from. Immigration law has effected me less in my own life than it has for millions of others, but has played a large role in the lives of my wife’s family; who immigrated in the 80’s from El Salvador. I have always felt that it’s important to stick up for the rights of people who are fleeing oppressive situations and want nothing more than a shot at success in a place where that success can actually be found.

What I’ve come to “love” about Loyola after several months here is its inclusiveness. As a guy in his early 30’s with a toddler and a music degree from 12 years ago, I definitely expected to be seen as an outsider in law school. In fact, before I applied to law school I was quite sure that people with arts degrees were not even allowed to apply. What I’ve found at Loyola is that my “outsider” status has been a benefit. Amongst my professors, I have received nothing but encouragement and confidence in my abilities to do what is asked of me. My peers have been extremely nice and even curious about my background. Overall, Loyola values how their students are performing and participating in the law school culture. Whether a student attended Harvard as an undergrad, or a student was a theater actor before coming to law school, what matters is what you’re doing now.

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