Elisa Tlilayatzi

Summer Job Diaries: Mexican American Bar Association (MABA) Scholarship Recipient Puts Writing Skills to Test in US District Court Judicial Externship

Elisa Tlilayatzi Summer Job Diaries

Elisa Tlilayatzi '23 is a rising second-year student who is spending the summer honing her legal writing skills as a judicial extern for the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

How did you land your summer job?

I was selected to extern for the Honorable Jesus G. Bernal through the Mexican American Bar Association’s (MABA) Judicial Externship and Scholarship Program. My mentors from La Raza de Loyola notified me of the opportunity, pushed me to apply, put me in contact with past recipients and even conducted mock interviews with me. With the help of Loyola’s Career Development Office, I prepared my resume and cover letter.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

Every aspect of my externship has been interesting, from discussing cases with the Judge and his clerks to observing court proceedings such as motion hearings, scheduling conferences, criminal sentences and jury trials. Being exposed to different types of stylistic writing and arguments, both in motions and in the courtroom, has also shown me just how fundamental these tools are for good advocacy.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?

The most challenging assignment was my first writing assignment. While the assignment itself was not that difficult to understand, the fact that it was providing the Court with a suggestion on how it should decide a real-life matter, and why, was a bit daunting. In law school, we are presented with hypotheticals, but in Federal Court, these decisions make a significant impact on individuals’ lives.

What new legal skill have you acquired during your summer job?

My legal research and writing skills are being honed every day. My Legal Research and Writing course during my 1L year did an excellent job in preparing me; however, being involved in various current legal issues before the Court has significantly enhanced that aspect of my legal training. I have also gained an understanding of legal issues such as the rules of evidence and constitutional law, which, as a rising 2L, I have not yet been exposed to at Loyola.

What bit of legal knowledge have you been able to display?

I have been able to display the knowledge I gained from my Civil Procedure class. Professor Aaron Caplan’s course provided me with a good foundational understanding of the rules. As a result, I was able to contribute with confidence to discussions and demonstrate my knowledge when I worked on a Motion to Amend and a Motion to Remand.

How has Loyola helped you map your career path?

The Career Development Office does a wonderful job of communicating available job opportunities to students. I attended a Federal Externship Information Panel hosted by LLS, and afterward I immediately knew I wanted to apply for the opportunity. LLS offered me great resources on how to start my endeavor. Every faculty member and professor I reached out to throughout the semester for advice and insight was equally supportive. Professor Levin even took the time to walk me through the process. Then, my La Raza mentors sent me the MABA Judicial Externship Program application to encourage me to apply for a scholarship and reviewed my application materials with me. I also worked closely with my counselor, Jill Myers, to ensure my resume and cover letter were in the best shape to send out with my application.