Summer Job Diaries: First-Year Student Secures Coveted Gig with Federal Public Defender
Brian Robinson ’20 is spending his summer clerking in the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Central District of California, a coveted position he obtained during his first year of law school. An aspiring criminal defense lawyer, Robinson also has interned at a law firm focusing on prisoners’ rights.
Q: How did you land your summer job?
A: I heard about the summer law clerk program at the Federal Public Defender’s Office from a friend who did it last year. I emailed the office and told them that I would love to work for them this summer. They told me to send in an application. I got an interview a few weeks later, and they offered me the clerkship on the spot.
Q: What is the most interesting part of your job?
A: It's hard to pin point one thing that has been the most interesting part of the job. One of the best pasts has been working with clients and developing relationships with them. Working side-by-side with great attorneys and watching how they advocate for their clients has been a great learning experience.
Q: What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?
A: My most challenging assignment has been writing a sentencing position paper. Trying to understand the sentencing guidelines and the other factors that play into sentencing was difficult. In the end, it turned out to be one of my favorite assignments of the summer.
Q: What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?
A: So many of the cases that come into this office seem unwinnable on their face. Because of this, I have learned how to identify tiny issues in many different types of cases. My research skills have greatly improved. On many occasions, an attorney will ask me to research something very specific and it feels like I'm searching for a needle in a haystack.
Q: What legal knowledge have you been able to display?
A: Many of the attorneys here love receiving input from the clerks because they like having a new set of eyes on a case. In this respect, I have been able to help formulate arguments and, in some instances, create my own.
Q: How has Loyola helped you map your career path?
A: Loyola has been extremely helpful in helping me map my career path. I always knew I wanted to go into criminal defense. But being at Loyola reinforced my goals because of the school’s dedication to social justice. The Career Development Office has always been extremely helpful when I needed to create a good resume and cover letter.
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