The University of Texas at Austin   School of Law

William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law

“That they may truly and impartially administer justice”

Judicial Internship Program

Student Comments

The judicial internship is, without a doubt, one of the most educationally valuable experiences I have had thus far in law school. It has taught me a great deal not only about legal research and writing, but also about trial advocacy, courtroom decorum, legal analysis and argument construction, brief and memorandum drafting, and even oral presentation of research results. I would highly recommend that first years seek out judicial internships as a way to bring the various skills and techniques learned throughout the first year into practical application.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

The classroom-based course usually has us reading several cases to prepare for class. In this internship I was concentrating, for the most part, on one case and picking it apart to develop the best argument possible. I felt more comfortable asking my judge or her staff for help than I usually do with professors. However, after getting so much guidance from the people I worked with, I feel like I will be more comfortable going to talk to professors about questions.

- Intern with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

I was able to observe a civil trial and a couple of criminal trials, as well as pleading and sentencing hearings, all of which were very educational. The proceedings gave me great insight into what it takes to actually practice law. Watching the attorneys present cases was fascinating, watching the judge conduct the courtroom and rule was stimulating, and hearing jury verdicts was surprising; all of which made for a wonderful experience.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

My internship was very valuable. I feel it will make me a better student and a better lawyer. I also think that the professional contacts I made will be important to me in the future.

- Intern with a Texas Court of Appeals

During the six weeks of my internship I completed seven orders — three motions to remand, two motions to dismiss, one motion for summary judgment, and one motion for a preliminary injuction. In composing these opinions I engaged in intense legal research and writing and discussed the legal issues with the judge and supervising attorneys. Those experiences were invaluable in shaping my skills as a writer, a researcher and a legal analyst.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

My research, writing, and analytical skills improved tremendously. There is no way that I could have learned as much as I did about the court and the criminal process through typical classroom lectures. I also feel that I am twice the legal writer and researcher after my internship. I feel my experience at the court will benefit me throughout law school.

- Intern with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals

[While watching proceedings] I got to see some really bad lawyers and really good lawyers. I think just watching what good attorneys do is a great learning experience. The good lawyers were well prepared and spoke slowly and clearly and had a good demeanor with the judge. The lawyers who struggled seemed disorganized and sloppy and I think the jury, to some degree, and the judge, to a larger degree, picked up on these signals.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

I feel I did as much reading/analysis during my internship as I did in some of my first year courses. I found in some ways I preferred the internship experience . . . because the internship coupled this intensive work with hands-on observation. By drafting a memo on a particular subject and then being able to attend the hearing at which the memo topic was pertinent, I felt my understanding of issues was more comprehensive - I was given more of a "big picture" exposure to issues than a classroom experience provides.

- Intern with an Administrative Law Judge

I feel I have greatly improved my legal research, writing, and analysis skills. The judge assigned some important and high-profile cases to me. One of the rulings I have written might get published. With all this responsibility, I strove to produce the highest-quality work.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

I have a much better understanding of the appellate process and I was able to work on projects that involved concepts I had learned about in my first year classes. I think it was a great experience and am glad I did it. I would definitely recommend it to others.

- Intern with the Texas Supreme Court

I was able to see how my classroom learning related to the real world and note what is really important to focus on. I am interested to see how I approach my courses this fall after this internship experience. I think I will be much more engaged now that I know more about how law works in the real world.

- Intern with a Federal District Court

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