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I will be responsible for an extern (intern? Idc about the difference, same function). I never externed for a judge, for those who have, what are things that made your experience enjoyable and what are things you wish were different?

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(With guidance) authoring an opinion was a lot of great experience. I also enjoyed just watching proceedings that were new/different from what I’d seen before. You can learn a lot from observing, then asking questions afterward.

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I agree the opportunity to actually write something is very valuable. I would give the extern a lot of guidance for at least their first assignment. Have them read the briefs and make notes, then talk through the issues with them and come up with an outline/plan for the opinion. After they write a draft, provide detailed feedback and go through it with them. Also encourage them to observe court proceedings as much as possible, including before other judges in the same courthouse if that’s an option. I appreciated when clerks would let us know that another judge had an interesting hearing or trial coming up.

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It was helpful to me to be assigned a case to prepare the opinion 1) where a party referenced evidence and testimony that wasn’t included in their submission, 2) where a party failed to raise an objection at trial that they were relying on now as an objection. These cases helped me understand the importance of having a clear trial record. The judge also reviewed one of the opinion drafts with me to give me a better idea of his view on the issue, which was great insight.

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It may sound weird but I had aspirations of being a trial attorney so my clerks made me the “court watcher” and I would sit in and take notes for the clerks on their cases/opinions. I got chances to write things which I needed for future employment, but the experience I got watching hearings everyday was monumental to my future attorney development. I am a stronger Orator because of it.

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Definitely a chance to research and write - doesn’t have to be an opinion. Even a bench memo was great experience! My judge used to call me early to go over cases on her call in her chambers and I really enjoyed that she walked me through them. Same with pre-trial hearings. She allowed me to be a facilitator between parties (of course on very easy and small cases with her right there). I enjoyed how involved she kept me through the whole time I was her Extern!

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Be accessible and provide meaningful feedback. Eventually, I was doing what a clerk does (I was a 3L) and had my own caseload where I did my own summaries and made my own recommendations for the case. It was very rewarding working up to that.

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