Judicial Extern Success Stories
Knowing that he wanted to establish himself in the Midwest after being on the East Coast for 9 years, Ben Eastburn (’10) narrowed his judicial externship search to only Minnesota and Iowa.
Externships of the type Eastburn sought are not often publicized, and so he asked Regent’s Career Services office for a list of judges in these states and began researching the merits of working for each.
Judicial externships are highly coveted and competitive. If a student has the honor of working for a judge even one summer he or she will have a practical career advantage.
Eastburn sent resumes to a number of judges, and in less than a week, a Minnesota Judge called him for a phone interview.
“We talked for maybe forty minutes,” said Eastburn. “He wanted to know about my past experiences, how I liked classes, and my goals. At the end of the conversation, he hired me.”
Eastburn remembers being ecstatic. “Being able to learn from this learned man was more than I had hoped for,” he said. “Additionally, I was looking forward to interesting and high-profile casework. While he was interviewing me, he was driving from St. Paul to St. Louis to review a case involving the suspension by the NFL of Minnesota Vikings football players. I had been following that case on television, and my judge was hearing it!”
Judge Magnuson heard another highly publicized and hotly protested wrongful death case just two days before Eastburn arrived for the summer.
“I was unfortunate to miss this case because it was all over the news and it would have provided me with a challenge right off the bat,” said Eastburn. “But it wasn’t long before he had worked on and observed a long list of interesting and challenging cases.”
Employment discrimination, water rights, multiple habeas petitions, products liability, and fraud cases kept Eastburn busy researching, synthesizing, and writing all summer long.
Although Eastburn figured the summer experience would be a highlight on his resume when he started applying for clerkships in the fall, to his surprise, Judge Magnuson invited him to return to his staff upon graduation.
“I was so fortunate to have the Judge extend an employment offer to me,” said Eastburn. “I worked hard, but I know it is an honor to not have to go through the normal application routes. I loved externing with him and his chambers staff and cannot wait to get back to work.”
Eastburn will graduate in May and return to the externship site as a clerk in August.
"This practical experience allowed me to make better decisions about where I wanted to be in my career,” says Weber of his summer externship with a District Court Judge. “I was also able to better apprehend certain concepts in class the next semester because I saw how it all worked in the real world.”
"A judge and his clerks need to be skilled in their level of detail and accurate in their assessment of the law,” says third year law student Travis Weber. “I learned last summer how complex a task that is.”
Near the end of his second year, Weber participated in a resume collection through Regent’s Career Services office and was selected as the Honorable Mark S. Davis’s summer extern.
Judge Davis is a U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Virginia and many matters come before him each day. In this environment, where clerks must analyze multiple issues on a given day, Weber noted that good legal writing is the single most important factor in keeping the court’s docket running efficiently.
“Despite the importance of how you appear during oral arguments, your skill and ability as a lawyer is largely dependent on your writing ability; it must be logical, truthful, and on point. Effective writing is concise and simple enough for any reader to understand on the first read-through.”
As a member of Judge Davis’s staff, Weber briefed him on matters filed with the court and prepared memoranda for him. This exposure gave Weber a good understanding of criminal law and constitutional procedure.