This experience is real. I wasn’t given token assignments like the ones big firms give their summer interns. This has given me real legal experience, and real confidence in practicing law someday. I completed a brief to the Ninth Circuit (very demanding but extremely rewarding). I appeared in federal court on behalf of the U.S. Government (nerve-racking, but fun). I worked on a response to a habeas corpus petition. I did all of these things with Assistant U.S. Attorneys as my mentors, teaching me how to practice law.
I came into this experience as a student. I expected to be treated as just a student volunteer (like my official title would suggest!). But I was absolutely treated like a colleague. I wasn’t dictated to and I wasn’t coddled. For instance, I had an assignment to write a response to a defendant’s motion for new trial. I did the research and drafted a response. The assigning AUSA gave me suggestions on how to direct my revisions, but really left it up to me to make the changes. After my revisions, I sent it to her. She e-mailed me back and said: “Looks good. Send it to (our legal assistant) and have her file it.” It was a salient moment for me. The United States Attorney’s Office had just filed something I had written with the court! I had many moments like this that gave me confidence to meet any issues head on. I realized I could attack hard legal concepts and questions and come out on top.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, I am 100% sure that this experience is going to make me a better attorney. I am indelibly grateful for the opportunity the