Working as a summer law clerk can be very rewarding and there are many opportunities to accomplish this type of work in all types of government agencies. These placements also offer a great opportunity to expand your network and sometimes a summer clerkship can turn into a longer-term clerkship or lead to a job after law school. The following individuals worked as law clerks in very different government agencies both in Tallahassee and elsewhere.
Christina Smiekle, Class of 2016 – Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Tallahassee, Florida
During the summer following my 2L year I worked for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) in Tallahassee, Florida. DBPR is the state agency charged with licensing and regulating businesses and professionals in the State of Florida. After the summer I continued working with the agency as a law clerk in the Construction Division. My experience at DBPR gave me an opportunity to learn more about administrative law as well as how government agencies work.
Alex Sarsfield, 3L – Thirteenth Judicial Circuit of Florida, Tampa, Florida
I spent the summer after my 1L year clerking for an administrative circuit judge in Tampa, Florida. While clerking I was able to write bench memos, perform legal research and acted as a medium with state prosecutors and public defenders in communicating with my judge. Although I do not intend to pursue criminal law as a career, I highly recommend clerking for a judge no matter what your legal interests may be. It was an invaluable experience for honing my legal writing skills as well as an opportunity to work in a professional environment with attorneys.
Christopher O’Brien, 3L – Florida Office of the Attorney General, Tallahassee, Florida
During the summer after my 1L year I started my first job in law school as a law clerk with the Florida Office of the Attorney General. I was surprised by how much I learned in such a short period of time, and I truly enjoyed applying what I had learned as a 1L. As the summer was winding down I was asked by my supervisor if I wanted to continue working during the fall semester, which I happily accepted.
Travis Voyles, 3L – United States Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, Atlanta, Georgia
I approached the summer after my 1L year with a desire to get regulatory agency experience on a federal level and earned an opportunity to be a law clerk for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Region 4 office. Assisting within the Office of Regional Counsel offered many opportunities working with the attorneys and other EPA staff in case meetings, negotiations, and policy updates from the very first day. I was able to work on numerous substantive assignments from attorneys dealing with ongoing issues and areas of concern that needed further research.
As a law clerk I also had the opportunity to participate with the head Regional Counsel and Director in several case update meetings and EPA initiative discussions. It was a great experience due to the desire of the attorneys and staff to expose us to all the different aspects of legal and policy matters that the EPA deals with on a daily basis. While I may not end up working within a federal or state regulatory agency, the experience provided me with an understanding of not only the perspective and responsibilities of federal agencies, but also the work life that is typical of a public sector legal job. I highly encourage law students interested in any type of law with a connection to regulation to seek out positions similar this with the EPA where you can expand your understanding of the regulatory environmental and how it functions from either side of the interaction.
Chistina Smiekle, Class of 2016
Alex Sarsfield, 3L
Christopher O’Brien, 3L
Travis Yoyles, 3L