Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Experience, Experience, Experience

A couple weeks ago, I attended the Criminal Law Association’s “Clash of the Crusaders” event.  Kevin Kelley (Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of Ohio, L’89) and Steve Nolder (Federal Public Defender, Southern District of Ohio, L’87) discussed hot topic issues and career experiences that led them to where they are today.  When posed with the question, “How can students best differentiate themselves out of a large pool of applicants,” the answer was “experience.”

I, like many of my fellow classmates at Capital, chose to attend law school right after graduating from undergrad.  When I arrived at Capital, I had some legal experience on my resume, but not enough to make me feel particularly confident going into an interview for a law clerk position.  However, my feelings of uncertainty soon changed after finding out about the externship program.

Capital’s externship program offers students a glimpse into the legal real world.  This program is one of the many ways Capital molds its students into market-ready practitioners of law.  The number of externship sites available to students is beyond impressive.  Placements include:  positions in the court system, various government agencies, and other legal service organizations.  Students have the opportunity to apply for an externship in the fall, spring, or summer.  It is common for a student to complete multiple externships.

I completed an externship at the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas this past summer.  Because it was such a positive experience, I applied for a placement in one of the divisions at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for this spring.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my externship was proving to myself that I could successfully apply the theoretical knowledge learned in the classroom to a judicial externship.

So, if you are worried about not having enough legal experience on your resume, do not fret.  Make a point to investigate the externships Capital has to offer.  No matter your interest, be it litigation, corporate law, or labor and employment, Capital’s externship program can set you up with a position geared specifically toward your intended career path.  Before you know it, that resume will be filled with diverse legal experiences that will differentiate you from the pack.