Re: Law Internship Advice
He needs to find a gig ASAP.
William Mitchell has a good career services department. But, the best way to find a gig is to network. Is he interested in criminal or civil? If it is criminal, tell him to stay away from private law firms. They suck as far as experience goes. Tell him to try getting a gig at the Public Defender's Office. Either Ramsey or Hennepin. They are the biggest counties in Minnesota. He will gain a ton of experience at a Public Defender's Office. Minnesota is one of the few states in the country that allows law students to practice as attorneys (as in make court appearences representing clients). You have to be certified by the MN Supreme Court and then whenever you represent a client, a practicing lawyer has to supervise all your appearances. I did it all through law school. Awesome experience. I used to crucify practicing attorneys who went to the best schools in the country. They simply didn't have much courtroom experience. They spent their whole law school careers writing legal briefs as law clerks in law firms hoping to get hired after they finished school. When they finally did and had to represent someone, they were world class a**wipes when trying to represent clients in front of a judge or jury.
If he wants to practice civil, he should try to get a clerkship with a judge. The judges in both those counties will teach you a lot of great stuff. Having a judge clerkship is good for your career because you get courtroom experience and you have a judge looking out for your career interests. The experience you get depends on whether the judge is on the civil or criminal rotation at the time. If he clerks for a judge for one year, scores high in his class and takes advantage of the access he has to big name attorneys appearing in front of his judge, he should be able to score a gig in his third year as a law clerk for a big name firm (if that is what he wants).
I've never been an advocate of working in a law firm as a law clerk though. You get no courtroom experience and end up writing briefs until you can't see anymore. Some people are great legal writers and some are great courtroom attorneys. I'm of the opinion that if you are just a good legal writer but a great courtroom attorney, you will kick as* everywhere. However, if you are a great legal writer and an average courtroom attorney, you won't win shyte. Someone else will be winning cases for you with your brief.
By the way, I went to William Mitchell. I graduated in '99. Great school. There are better schools of course but I enjoyed my legal education there. They have one of the best Intellectual Property centers in the United States.
Call me if you want to talk.