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Catherine Holm

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Idaho, offered me a wonderful experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. I applied to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a couple of reasons: 1) I wanted experience with criminal law; 2) the U.S. Attorney’s Office offered practical experience that I would not receive anywhere else; and 3) I would have a chance to speak in court, which was my biggest fear. I worked out of the branch office in Coeur d’Alene, with three attorneys and two support staff. It’s a smaller office, which gave me a completely new and different experience. I worked with all the attorneys on a variety of issues, and was able to get to know them on a personal level. The attorneys were amazing attorneys who truly believed in justice. They included me both in the courtroom and outside the courtroom, in different efforts to improve our community.


I was lucky enough to be at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for almost a full year. I wrote and researched a variety of different topics which included, but was not limited to, distribution of narcotics, white collar crime and aggravated assault. I assisted in pretrial and post-trial issues, and even helped write a Ninth Circuit appeal. My writing improved beyond what I ever expected. Two big cases went to trial, and I was able to help with those cases from beginning to end. I assisted in all phases of trial preparation from interviewing witnesses to working on the trial brief.


In Summer of 2016, I attained my limited license. I represented the United States in many hearings, such as sentencing, hearing detentions, and probation violations. I learned proper courtroom etiquette, developed my own speaking style, and conquered my fear of the podium. All of this would not have been possible without the attorneys’ guidance. They helped me through every stage, while giving me a push to be independent and do things on my own.

My year at the U.S. Attorney’s Office was exactly what I needed to grow not only as an attorney, but as a person. I recommend this externship to anyone, even if you are not interested in criminal law, because of practical skills and experience you will receive.


Catherine Holm

J.D. Candidate, 2017

Gonzaga University School of Law

Updated April 3, 2017