I highly recommend the USAO-Boise externship program. I worked for the office following my first year of law school. I cannot imagine a better place to learn about the law. No one I know from my first year class had a comparable experience. No one.
I could speak for days about why this program is so exceptional. Here are the highlights:
Diverse Work. I participated in the litigation of criminal and civil cases. I drafted legal memoranda, motions, and briefs in cases involving appeals to the Ninth Circuit, the death penalty, competency hearings, illegal reentry, mass drug and money-laundering conspiracies, rights to speedy trial, and environmental claims. I got a taste of nearly everything while still having the opportunity to work on a few in-depth projects with a number of talented attorney-mentors.
Meaningful and Quality Work. Many of my friends at other summer jobs were disappointed to find that their work was never really used. In contrast, every single memo I wrote became part of a larger conversation with the legal team or served as the basis for the final court document. Everything I worked on was a necessary contribution to a serious legal matter or answered an important legal question.
Exceptional Training in Legal Writing. Our weekly legal writing workshops were invaluable. In addition, I got constant feedback from the attorneys. My writing drastically improved over the summer.
Inspiring and Diverse Brown-Bag Lunches. Each week, we learned about a new area of the law from attorney-experts. This gave student externs the opportunity to interact with a wide cross-section of attorneys and staff, and learn about areas of law to which we had no previous exposure.
Outstanding Legal Mentoring from both Attorneys and Staff. I had the opportunity to work with attorneys and support staff with various levels of experience and expertise. Everyone was available to offer advice and answer questions about the law. I forged relationships that I maintain to this day.
Unparalleled Collaboration. I was treated as a colleague during all of my interactions. I was expected to contribute, disagree, and ask evocative questions. I felt that my opinion was valued and taken seriously.
If you have the opportunity to work with this fantastic office it will enliven your legal education. I simply cannot say enough good things about this program.