Profile of an Extern
October 14, 2015
This is the third installment in a series of stories featuring some of the over 100 Lewis & Clark law students who completed summer externships in 2015.
Third year law student Gurjeet Brar externed in California for the Santa Clara County Superior Court. This was one of three externships Gurjeet will have completed by the time she graduates. The first was at a boutique law firm during her second year and she is currently externing with the Multnomah Public Defender’s Office.
Below, Brar shares her experience as a summer extern with the Santa Clara County Superior Court:
Q: How did you learn of this externship opportunity?
GB: I learned of this externship after my friend from school gave me the contact information for the Director of Development for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ). The Director helps place law students in judicial externships (i.e., family and juvenile courts) all over the country and I reached out to her to inquire about any such opportunities in California.
Q: How many other externs worked there this summer?
GB: I am not sure exactly how many worked at Santa Clara County Superior Court this summer, but I believe it was approximately 30 students spread out throughout the various courts (e.g., Family Court, Dependency Court, Criminal Court). However, where I worked in the Juvenile Justice Center, I was the only full-time law student extern.
Q: Why were you interested in applying for this particular placement?
GB: I was really interested in getting some courtroom experience. Additionally, I really wanted to the opportunity to work alongside a judge, specifically in either family or juvenile court.
Q: What area of law are you hoping to practice when you graduate from law school?
GB: After this experience, I hope to start my legal career practicing in the field of criminal law.
Q: What responsibilities did you have as an extern?
GB: I was responsible for three research assignments over the course of the summer. One of the projects culminated with a presentation in front of the judges in the juvenile justice center. I also attended various meetings and trainings.
Q: What were the most significant things you worked on?
There wasn’t one specific thing I worked on that was the most significant or rewarding, but it was the entire externship experience I found to be extremely valuable. Santa Clara County Superior Court’s internship program gave students like me the opportunity to have a meaningful learning experience. The judges who participated in the program encouraged students to observe as many different legal proceedings as possible so that we could get the most well rounded experience.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience externing?
GB: This experience was eye opening for me to say the least and exceeded any expectations I had. I had the opportunity to learn about juvenile court proceedings, in addition to observing a criminal felony trial, drug and dependency court, and visiting various correctional facilities (e.g., San Quentin State Prison).