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Student Spotlights

Melissa Jo: Law

Melissa and Judge Sam

Melissa Jo Townsend is studying Law and had the opportunity to be a legal extern in the Chambers of the Honorable Judge Sam within the U.S. District Court. Listen to her explain what she was able to experience!

What did you do for your internship?

Working with Judge Sam's chambers was a pleasure this summer. I enjoyed a short visit with Judge Sam and his clerks almost every morning before beginning the day's work. Throughout my externship, I worked on several legal memorandum to give insight into the cases at hand. To prepare these memorandum, I spent several hours each day researching and reading case law, and then drafting my thoughts. Throughout the summer, I drafted about 70 pages of analysis for the Judge and his clerks to consider as they formed their opinions about the cases.

What was the most useful thing you learned from your internship?

During my internship, I learned that the people you work with are your greatest asset. Especially in my case, I was surrounded my brilliant legal minds with years and years of experience in the legal field. Judge Sam, my supervisor, and the other clerks mentored me with care, personally and professionally, throughout the summer and I realized as my externship progressed how lucky I was to share a workspace with them.

What professional skills did you develop in your internship?

I spent the bulk of my time reading, researching, and writing and feel that these skills definitely improved along the way. Conversing with and observing Judge Sam in court also improved my oral communication skills such that I feel more confident and excited to talk with people about the law and the legal profession.

Would you recommend this internship to other students?

I would recommend interning at the U.S. District Court -- especially in Judge Sam's chambers -- to everyone. The experience was intellectually rigorous and professionally (and personally) meaningful in every regard.

Melissa Jo Townsend and Judge Sam in front of a flag and the seal of the U.S. District Court on a wood paneled wall.
Melissa Jo Townsend standing in front of the cubicle reserved for Judge Sam's interns.