Externships are About Exploring Opportunities
October 29, 2013
We have all heard it. The economy has changed. Students looking to get ahead must set themselves apart from their fellow applicant. But how? The Field Placement Office is the link between classroom knowledge and the practical experience that employers are seeking. "Being able to say I have worked for the State Department at the UN has certainly enhanced my resume," said Alexi Antoniou, who recently externed with the US State Department in Geneva, Switzerland. Alexi added that some marketable skills he acquired were, "... learning how the professionals negotiate, how multilateral diplomacy works, and how one of the US's most important offices functions." McGeorge students, through the Field Placement Office, have the opportunities to participate in real world experiences.
Having the applicable skills necessary for real legal work is what employers are looking for. Students who emerge from law school with real practical experience will be able to set themselves apart from the other resumes in the stack; resumes that all have comparable grades and qualifications. It is the work experience that will set you apart. Alyssa Cervantes who externed with the International Bar Association in London, England, said, "I learned how to interact and communicate with lawyers from all around the world. I had daily interactions with lawyers from Spain, India, England, France, Italy, Ireland, and various other countries. Moreover, I had the opportunity to work with the UN and OECD on various projects." Ms. Cervantes said that her experience with the IBA has been one of the main topics of conversation during interviews and will definitely help her land a job after taking the bar.
Resume building is, of course, a necessary part of law school. Meeting people, making connections, and engaging in enriching experiences are equally important. Law school is your time to grow. When asked about her internship in Italy, Julianna Triphon, a third year day student said, "I loved my internship. It was fabulous ... The best part about it was meeting Italians, becoming their friends, and going to all of their get-togethers. I learned how to function in a foreign country with an entirely different legal system. Everything I did was in Italian, which was hard at first, but I picked it up quick." Field Placement opportunities offer not only resume building skills, but enriching life experiences as well.
Does it have to be a placement in a foreign land to "stick out"? Jeff Dodd, who externed with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court, does not think so. "an externship looks incredibly appealing on a resume." Dodd said that his most memorable experience was enjoying the extern bi-monthly coffees with the Chief Justice. She would take the time to sit down with the externs and discuss their impressions of cases up for oral arguments as well as other issues on their minds. While improvements in writing are no secret, Dodd was also surprised how often he was able to work on his oral advocacy skills. He made recommendations whether the court would hear a case. He said, "it was a lot of pressure considering what was at stake, but it was extremely rewarding!"
By Annette Rose, '16