Students serve as interns with federal and state judges. Under the supervision of a judge, law clerk or staff attorney, interns perform research, draft documents and observe courtroom proceedings to expand their knowledge of how our court systems operate.
Judicial Clinic ‘puts things in perspective’: Maureen Orth, L'16
Second-year law student Maureen Orth aspires to be a litigator, and just halfway through law school, she’s well on her way.
“While you learn a lot in your first year, there’s a lot that you don’t understand until you’ve actually seen it,” Orth said. “Getting to be in the courtroom and getting to see different proceedings has really helped flesh out my academic coursework and understand how it all fits together.”
Through KU Law’s Judicial Clinic, Orth works with Chief Magistrate Judge James P. O’Hara of the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, a 14-year veteran of the bench with private practice experience. Her duties include observing proceedings, writing orders, reading motions and getting feedback from the judge and his clerks.
“You have unique access to judges at the state and federal level, and equally exciting, you have access to his or her clerks,” Orth said. “I’m getting feedback on my writing from those same people who are researching and writing for the judge. That is an invaluable experience to get in law school.”
Ultimately, the clinic offers students the hands-on experience employers are seeking in addition to an understanding of theory and case law. “There are few things more valuable that KU offers than the clinic experience,” Orth said. “You’re working on court orders and doing research that affects someone’s actual case, as opposed to the hypotheticals in class. It puts things in perspective.”