Sumer Job Diaries: Rising 2L Joyce Ma Lands U.S. Attorney's Office Externship

Networking with an assistant U.S. attorney at a panel discussion on campus led Joyce Ma ’26 to apply for a summer externship in the U.S. attorney’s office. She was accepted into the Criminal and National Security Division, where she has already worked on an overdose death case and expanded her legal research and writing skills.

How did you land your summer job?

An assistant U.S. attorney from the U.S. attorney's office came to Loyola as a speaker for the Intellectual Property Roadshow event. I was naturally drawn to intellectual property and its intersection with crime. I approached her and we engaged in a dynamic conversation about cybercrimes and their transnational implications. She encouraged me to apply. Shortly after submitting my application, I landed an interview. Within three days, I was informed that I was chosen as a summer legal extern for the Criminal and National Security Division! 

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part of my job is the variety of projects I can work on. I have colleagues who worked on white collar investigations, and some worked on Mexican Mafia gang activity.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far?

I was assigned to an overdose death case, which was an unfortunate reminder of the ongoing opioid crisis in the country. However, it has only driven me to assist federal prosecutors to hold accountable those who take advantage of addiction. One aspect of the assignment required me to analyze whether defense counsel would be able to bring forth testimony that could impeach one of our key witnesses. Because I just completed my 1L year, I was teaching myself key tenets of the federal rules of evidence after work. However, due to the gravity of the case and what was at stake, it pushed me to perform to the best of my ability and meet the challenges with enthusiasm.

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

Learning about criminal procedure!

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

I put my legal research and writing skills to the test for the job. What I realized was that AUSAs prefer concise, straight-to-the point delivery over the very academic IRAC structure that has been hammered into our brains. Unlearning IRAC was somewhat challenging. But the urgency of federal prosecution necessitates succinct writing.

How has Loyola helped you map your career path?

Loyola’s rigorous coursework (and the closed-book exams) has prepared me to adapt to a fast-paced environment, comprehend new concepts, and deliver results within a short time.