As a result of TU College of Law’s continued push for experiential learning opportunities, I was able to participate in a Summer Externship with Garrett Law Center, PLLC. I chose this firm in order to maximize my exposure to a variety of different legal fields and do so under the mentor ship of accomplished attorneys in each of these fields.
Summertime is precious to all law students. It is when we supplement our classroom knowledge with practical experience to prepare us for the “real world.” However, as a rising 3L graduating in December, I felt added pressure to maximize my learning and practice skills during these summer months. Externing at Garrett Law Center has helped me achieve this goal, while providing an invaluable experience.
2. What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities and/or duties?
I have been assigned projects dealing with a wide range of topics. Each attorney in the office has a specialty, whether it is criminal, family, personal injury, bankruptcy or medical malpractice. Working closely with several attorneys has given me a taste of everything this summer. I have drafted various pleadings in both criminal and civil cases, including motions, briefs, petitions and answers. I have become well-acquainted with the discovery phase—attending depositions, drafting interrogatories, requests for production and request for admissions. I have attended preliminary hearings, arraignments, status conferences and other court proceedings in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
3. What skills are you learning in this position and how do you think they will help you in your future legal career?
Just as valuable as the legal experience, I was also given the opportunity to learn the business side of the profession. As a student leaning toward starting a practice after law school, this insight was particularly helpful. I was able to meet with potential clients, sit in on intake interviews, and go over the contract for representation with these individuals. I also helped in the distribution of various marketing material for one of the criminal defense attorneys in the office.
4. What have been some of your favorite moments from this experience?
My favorite moment from this summer cannot be boiled down to a specific instance, rather the entire externship. The atmosphere of teamwork, which extended to me, made it a true pleasure to work in the office. I was treated with the patience of a student, but given the assignments of a young associate. For me, this is what experiential learning is all about.
A memorable moment from this summer was having our client fly my supervisor and I in his private plane from Tulsa to Oklahoma City before our hearing at the Oklahoma Tax Commission, which we represented him in.
5. What has been the best advice you have received from someone you work with?
The best advice I received this summer, although not novel, was to not be afraid to ask questions. Do not only ask questions at work, but also don’t be afraid to ask questions and communicate with opposing counsel, Judges, and the Judge’s staff. After all, we are all just people trying to do our jobs.