Sam Donohue

Rising Second-Year Student Makes a Federal Case out of Summer Job 

Sam Donohue
Sam Donohue ’19

Sam Donohue ’19 is spending his summer as a judicial extern at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. A former competitive swimmer, he was a volunteer with Esperanza International, helping combat poverty in Mexico.

How did you land your summer job?

One of my mentors contacted several judges to recommend me for a position in their respective chambers. I secured an interview in February and the rest is history!

How did the Career Development Office help you secure the position?

The Career Development Office was extremely helpful throughout the application process. The hard part about applying for judicial externships is that you’re working on applications before first semester finals. My career counselor, Associate Director Jill Myers, was a huge help when it came to updating resumes, drafting cover letters, preparing for interviews and staying on top of deadlines.

What is the most interesting part of your job?

The most interesting part of my job is working closely with my supervising clerks on a diverse assortment of cases. I never know what kind of motion or what area of law my next assignment will lead me to and the variety makes for a challenging and engaging experience.

What has been your most challenging assignment thus far? 

My most challenging assignment thus far has been drafting an order on a motion to dismiss a complaint dealing with an area of law in which the case law is murky. It was a struggle, but I was able to complete the assignment with a lot of hard work and support from my supervising clerks and I learned a great deal in the process.

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

Working for the court has been an incredible experience. The work I contribute to has significant implications in peoples' lives. Every day when I walk into the courthouse, I am humbled by the gravity of what I get to be a part of. It has helped me develop a keen attention to detail and strengthened my ability to reason and write objectively.

How has your Loyola education helped you make a difference in your placement?

My experience at Loyola has been that the students, faculty, and staff share a strong sense of camaraderie and we all strive to be excellent at what we do. Spending my first year of law school among such friendly and driven people helped me transition into my externship at the court, where collaboration and a commitment to producing excellent work are a must.

What LLS courses have you found most helpful to your position? Please explain.

The course that I found most helpful in my position this summer has been Professor Simona Grossi’s Civil Procedure course. In Professor Grossi’s class, we didn’t just learn the rules of civil procedure, but we also learned the history and underlying principles of procedural law. My understanding of both the practical functions and the theoretical underpinnings served me well in my externship.

In what additional ways has Loyola helped you map your career path?  

What I love most about Loyola is the sense that “we’re all in this together.” Every career opportunity that I have had thus far came through a connection at Loyola. The guidance and support I  received from professors, peers, the Career Development Office and alumni have played a huge role in my professional development.