Summer Job Diaries: Rising 2L Brian Plaut '24 Applies Legal Research & Writing Skills in Role at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California
Brian Plaut '24, vice-president of LLS' OutLaw and CFO of the LMU Graduate Student Council, is spending his summer as a law clerk for the United States Attorney for the Southern District of California in San Diego. Prior to attending law school, he had a career in Washington, D.C. working in the House of Representatives. He plans to pursue a career as a tax lawyer.
How did you land your summer job?
I was lucky enough to get my summer internship through the LLS Career Development Office’s Spring Virtual OCI. I always make sure to keep an eye on my emails from them, and when the chance to apply to work with such an amazing group of people came up, I knew I had to apply. For me, I had known I wanted to work for the government again during my 1L summer and wanted to be close to my family in San Diego, so a position at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California could not have been a better fit.
What is the most interesting part of your job?
Seeing the law that you learn in class being put into action every day has been so interesting to me. The law doesn’t operate in a bubble in law school campuses, it is put into practice every day. To see the cases you spent so much time briefing for class come to life in a courtroom is so thrilling. It also reminds you why are spending so much time learning these standards and precedent cases—to use them one day in practice.
What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?
Helping an Assistant United States Attorney (my supervisor) draft a motion to dismiss has definitely been the most challenging—and the most fulfilling—assignment I have had this summer. Putting together such a motion is an awesome experience and puts all your legal skills on display; it requires extensive research, writing, and critical thinking to weave together a story on why you believe your argument should prevail.
What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?
Legal research is the skill that I have far and away improved at the most. When I get an assignment, my first step is to learn the 30,000 foot view of the topic so I can be intelligible when speaking on it. But once that is accomplished, digging deeper for binding precedent and fact patterns that line up to your case at hand requires enormous research skills. Loyola’s Legal Writing and Research class prepared me in getting my feet wet in legal research. Now I get to use and expand those skills every day of my internship.
What bit of legal knowledge have you been able to display?
Because the cases that I have been assigned are in federal court, I have been able to display my knowledge of civil procedure learned during Professor Allan Ides’ class. Professor Ides did a great job of weaving in practical application of the seminal cases in civil procedure, which has served me well during my internship.
How has Loyola helped you map your career path?
When I first entered law school, I wasn’t exactly sure what area of the law I would want to pursue, but I came in with an open mind. After taking Professor Katie Pratt’s Introduction to Income Tax course, I knew that tax law was my passion. I have since declared my concentration in tax and am excited to spend the upcoming fall in the State Income Tax Clinic!