International Opportunities at FSU Law

My time at the College of Law has not only been an engaging environment centered on academics and community, but has expanded my horizons into the international arena. Thanks to FSU, I have taken international courses taught by preeminent scholars, met alumni working in international tribunals and contract arbitration, and have travelled to Europe every year (with financial assistance from the school). Here are just a few of the amazing opportunities!

Study Abroad at Oxford (and more!)

Florida State has the longest-running law study abroad program at Oxford University in England. Unlike most other programs, ours boasts actual Oxford professors who teach English Legal History and European Union Law. I had the opportunity to reach deep into the roots of our common law system, while living in a hall originally built in the 13th century. The material, the environment, and the opportunity to travel every weekend made this an unparalleled opportunity. Though it does come at a cost, there is financial aid available! We also offer exchange programs with schools in The Netherlands and Australia!

International Opportunities 2
Pictured (left to right) : 3L’s Michael Hoffman, Sarah Leon, and Brent Marshall on a weekend trip to Amsterdam during the Oxford Summer Program (2016).

International Arbitration in Vienna

Every year, hundreds of law students from around the globe convene in Vienna, Austria for the Willem C. Vis International Arbitration Moot. Arbitration is becoming an increasingly preferred method of dispute resolution and this competition offers the opportunity to learn the requisite skills and network with practitioners. The College of Law sends a team every year and I have been fortunate enough to be selected twice for this wonderful experience. It has opened my eyes to previously unseen opportunities in the field of international arbitration and helped cultivate my abilities as a researcher and oral advocate.

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Pictured (left to right) : Melina Garcia, (#FSULawGoldenGrad18), Michael Hoffman (3L), Natalia Nincevic (3L) and Tyler Antolik (#FSULawGoldenGrad17) outside of Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, Austria in April 2017.

Alumni Abroad

Law Noles have staked claims in international jobs for years now. Some of our illustrious alumni have served on international tribunals in Rwanda and Sierra Leone, and one currently serves as the Executive Director of the International Bar Association. In fact, the IBA accepts one student each summer to intern in London with the IBA. This network displays the possible paths from Tallahassee to work abroad, as well as guidance from these distinguished alums!


College of Law. Student Ambassadors. Michael Hoffman, 3L

Eliminating the Awkwardness of Networking

The truth of the matter is that most legal internships and jobs are found through personal relationships. For some, this means floating through a room of lawyers and judges, making small talk with ease. For others, networking is less of a graceful ballet and more of an awkward middle school dance. It has been my experience that most law students fall into the latter category. Nonetheless, good networking is the key to finding internships and jobs within the legal field, and therefore is unavoidable. However, if you are one of those people, don’t feel discouraged – networking is a learnable skill and can be enjoyable. I consulted with the Student Affairs Office and put together a few tips to help you eliminate the awkwardness of networking.

1) I want to go, but do I really want to go?

Create a game plan for yourself, saying something like “I will go for an hour, talk to two people and then leave.” Don’t stand in your own way of creating professional contacts or obtaining a great internship opportunity. While it can be scary to attend networking events alone, be cautious of always attending with a friend or fellow law student. Too often, this will result in the two of you speaking only to each other instead of making those invaluable professional connections. However, do take advantage of your professional mentor relationships. If you have developed a mentor through a student organization, reach out to that attorney and ask if they can attend with you and introduce you to other attorneys at the event. This is one of the major reasons why student organizations have mentor programs! If all else fails and you must go alone, then do so. Chances are, most of the other attendees will be solo as well, so you will be in the majority.

2) “Help! I don’t know how to start a conversation.”

Before you attend the event, do some research about a few of the attendees and look for those familiar faces. Once you arrive at the event, walk over and introduce yourself to those people first. You should find that you are more comfortable talking to those people, since they are not complete strangers. Additionally, showing up to an event with a couple of “pocket questions” can go far in squelching the fear of a post-introduction mind blank. Begin your conversation with questions like “What area of law do you practice?” and following up with questions like “How did you get into that area?” Open-ended questions such as these will be your greatest tool, and will lend themselves to being more conversational and less like a cross-examination.

3) What do I do when the conversation loses steam?

We have all been there: the conversation has run its course, leaving both parties standing there in a forced discussion about the weather (or in my case, just repeating “so, this is a great turnout” several times before slipping back into the crowd). Once the conversation has run out of steam, it’s ok to put an end to it before moving on. The best way to accomplish this? Extend your hand to the other person and tell them that you have appreciated the conversation, but there are a few other people you would like to meet too. You are there to network, and attorneys expect you to move from one conversation to the next. Remember, the attorneys are there for the same purpose, not to remain in one fixed interaction for the duration of the event.

4) What do I do next? Follow up!

Many attorneys fail to carry business cards all the time, so take the initiative and invest in a small notepad. Once you meet an attorney or judge, record their name and area of practice. Make note of a few things that you spoke about that made your interaction more personal – did you discuss your pets, travel plans, or a shared interest for Italian food? If you did not get an e-mail address, do a quick Google search. You can also search websites like the Florida Bar’s member directory, where, chances are, you will find their contact information. In your follow-up e-mail, keep it short and concise. Let them know you enjoyed talking about (fill in the blank here) and ask if they wouldn’t mind you contacting them from time to time for advice or information. Remember, it’s not as important how you follow up, but that you follow up.

College of Law. Student Ambassadors. Jenna Von See, Class of 2018


Why a 1L Judicial Clerkship was the best decision of my Law School career

The first year of law school can be nerve-wracking: lots of reading, being cold-called, and trying to comprehend Pennoyer v. Neff. As if worrying about classes wasn’t hard enough, by the time spring semester rolled around, I needed to start thinking about how I was going to be spending my first summer as a law student. Little did I know, this decision would have the biggest impact on me and only confirmed my passion for the law. Doing a 1L judicial clerkship was the best decision in my law school career thus far.

While it may seem scary to think so far in advance, your first summer as a law student is such an important time. For most people, they are finally getting some hands-on legal experience, and trying to put all of the theoretical concepts they learned during first year classes to work. The Career Services and Professional Development Office here has so many options for 1Ls looking for summer jobs.

A judicial clerkship is a two or three credit hour course, taken pass/fail, over six to eight weeks. You work directly with a judge and the experience is as varied as the people whose names grace the chambers in which you serve. A judicial clerkship gives a law student the experience of clerking for a judge, researching and writing different issues before the court, while also earning class credit. Students have the opportunity to summarize parties’ briefs, research legal issues, search through trial records, write memorandums, discuss their recommendations with the judge, and even work on some published opinions. The research and writing experience gained can be invaluable. To receive credit, you maintain a weekly journal of your observations and research as you complete your mandatory number of hours (150 hours for two credits and 180 hours for three).

Participating in a judicial clerkship can also prove beneficial upon returning to campus for Fall semester.  During on-campus interviews, which usually take place at the start of your 2L year, it can be a great topic of conversation with potential employers. As an added bonus, any hours that you work under a judge’s supervision beyond the mandatory requirement for the internship, count toward your pro bono requirement. The judicial clerkship can be a magnificent opportunity to see how the courts function. Clerking, in general, is a great opportunity to learn about the judicial branch, and how judges think.


garcia_web Melina Garcia, 3L

College of Law. Student Ambassadors. Michael Hoffman, 3L

Food Tour of Tallahassee!

Law students need a little R&R, so use this as a guide to discover some of the best local eats in town. Tallahassee is full of hidden gems in the culinary world. With a number of award-winning restaurants and even some featured on Food Network, don’t let your time in town go by without exploring all of the tasty treats around you!

Must-Try Breakfast and Brunches

The Lunchbox on Magnolia Street – take yourself back to childhood with this breakfast dive! The walls are lined with lunch boxes from all eras and the food is fresh, delicious and most importantly – very affordable!! For less than ten bucks, fill up on the corner of Magnolia and Tennessee. Get there early though – they close at 2:15 PM every day.

The Egg Cafe and Eatery – this award-winning breakfast and brunch restaurant features fresh ingredients, southern favorites like fried green tomatoes, and mouth-watering hashes, scrambles, and benedicts. Also a favorite for those who love whole-grain waffles and gluten-free options. Mimosas and brunch favorites also await – including some interesting seafood twists on breakfast! There’s usually a wait, but it’s well worth it. Located on Austin Davis Drive off Capital Circle.

Maple Street Biscuit Company on Call Street – you can smell warm, flaky biscuits and delicious fried chicken from the sidewalk. This fun, collaborative atmosphere is met with quite possibly the most interesting and absolutely delicious biscuits, hash, sweet potato fries and more that you can ever imagine. Just minutes from the stadium and right behind the Tennessee Street strip.

Food Glorious Food on Thomasville Road – another award-winning feature restaurant and it’s most definitely deserved. Just look up the menu and you’ll be ready to drive over. Great for groups as well!

Own Your Lunch Hour – Venture out

Kool Beanz Cafe on Thomasville Road – don’t let the name fool you! This local gem offers much more than just beans on the seasonal menu – everything from smoked gouda mac to boneless duck to bacon-wrapped grouper to cilantro lime and jerk spiced sea scallops. Highly recommended for lunch when the prices are more student-friendly, but always well worth it. While you’re in this Midtown area, also check out another hideaway joint, Paisley Cafe.

Avenue Eat and Drink – located downtown and within a short distance from the law school, Avenue is a cool, modern, but very tasty place to settle in for a wild ride with your taste buds!

Merv’s Melt Shop – This local dive is a great hangout spot for a quick bite if you’re feeling like burgers, melts, tots, and the best grilled cheese in town right in the midst of a bustling art community.

Wells Brothers Bar and Grill – best burgers in town, just try it.

Date Night or Friend Group Dinners

Nefetari’s – Looking to transport yourself to another country? As soon as you walk through the door you are met with delicious smells of unique cuisine, a life-sized stuffed lion, art and a complete royal experience. Dine at the King’s Table for a special occasion or just enjoy the unique flavors that Queen Nefetari and King Ramesses have put together for you. This hidden gem off Gaines Street also features live jazz music, open mic nights, wine nights, and much more!

El Jalisco – two-for-one drinks all day every day (21+)! Great atmosphere, multiple locations around town, fresh guac made at your table and chips and salsa for every Tex-mex lover!

The Flying Bear – the best sweet potato waffle fries drizzled with honey that you will find anywhere! This Great American Grill has a wide variety of food to offer, and you won’t be disappointed. Located off of Thomasville Road north towards Bradfordville.

Tally also offers a number of great pizza spots (Uncle Maddio’s, Dave’s Pizza Garage, Momo’s Pizza) and sushi restaurants (AZU Lucy Ho’s) all around town as well as drinks at Liberty and Brass Tap. If you feel like venturing just outside of Tally, I highly recommend Riverside Cafe in St. Marks (about 30 min) and Angelo’s Seafood in Panacea (about 45 min). Both feature waterfront views of waterways into the Gulf and the best seafood in the Big Bend!

When you’re done, don’t forget your dessert at Small Cakes Cupcakery or Big Easy Snowballs, both with multiple locations around town. The list can go on and on forever, but if you start here, I guarantee your taste buds will thank you!

Vegan Options Around Town

If you’re vegan or suffer from food allergies, it’s great to be able to walk in to a food joint knowing nothing on the menu is off-limits. You don’t have to practice vegetarianism to enjoy these places though. With an inviting atmosphere and delicious cruelty-free food, it’s no mystery why some of the best restaurants in town are quirky, local innovations.

Soul Vegetarian Restaurant & Catering – The food is 100% vegan, so vegetarians and vegans may safely select from the many menu options. This restaurant offers vegan food with a southern twist. They also offer cooking classes, which is a great way for law students to learn the skills they need in order to stick to their grocery budget!

Bread & Roses Kitchen – B&R Kitchen serves feisty vegan staples with daily specials that won’t disappoint. The Kitchen sources locally grown fruits and vegetables as well as promotes sustainability and community cooperation. B&R Kitchen is anchored by the Bread & Roses Food Co-op, one of the two local food cooperatives in Tallahassee. Described as, “out of this world,” by one yelp reviewer, Bread & Roses Kitchen may knock you out of this galaxy!

Sweet Pea – The menu hosts gluten-free options and daily specials based on the local growing cycle. With an incredible brunch, and home-baked cookies, Sweet Pea café resonates an eclectic, European vibe. The outdoor picnic areas are perfect for cool fall days around Tallahassee, and the restaurant structure has grown to offer more spacious seating indoors. Bring a friend or two to share a delightful meal and enjoy this casual, warm atmosphere.

To make your exploring even easier, Tallahassee offers a complimentary trolley service. It’s never been more convenient to take a break from your daily routine and support the local economy while expanding your dining options and making new connections. Hop on board, leave your car behind and enjoy a scenic ride to Tallahassee’s culinary offerings.


cassandra decoste  Cassandra DeCoste, 3L

Student Ambassadors for College of Law  Lauryn Collier, #FSUGoldenGrad (Class of 2017)


“Non-Traditional” Law Students—Balancing Law School and Family

It’s the first day of law school and I’m sitting in Civil Procedure class hearing about the interesting experiences and character traits that makes each of my classmates unique (thank you, Professor Lee for making the time for this exercise in class!). I decide to share with my classmates that I have returned to school as a “non-traditional” student with a two-year-old daughter at home. I can’t say I’ll forget the look of surprise (and maybe sympathy) that I saw from many of my classmates. We are all told how challenging the first year of law school can be, and attempting to confront that challenge while also guiding a toddler through the “terrible twos” seemed either courageous or completely foolish. However, I soon found myself being encouraged by classmates whose parents had returned to graduate school when they were kids and even met a few brave souls like myself who had families and kids. I watched as one of my classmates welcomed his first child into the world over the weekend during Spring semester and was back in class on the following Monday morning—a very impressive feat!

Despite all of the wonderful encouragement and support I’ve received, balancing law school and a family is certainly not without difficulty. I smile to myself when I think of some of the more trying moments, like the day that I desperately needed to study for my Civil Procedure exam and my daughter was home sick from preschool. I turned my back for a few minutes, during which she had taken a dozen eggs out of the refrigerator and smashed them on the floor; I finally caught her when she was trying to put them back together. While I was cleaning up the eggs, she took all of my sticky notes for my class and stuck them to herself, the table, the floor, and even the dogs. A note to Professor Lee—if I was less than optimally prepared for your exam, this is why!

But on days that went as planned, I approached my classes just as I did with my career that I left behind—lots of planning, prioritization, and organization. I had to use my time wisely and could not afford to procrastinate. I was almost always at school by 8:30 a.m., typically worked through lunch, and rushed home after my afternoon classes to pick up my daughter from preschool. Professor Cahill always tells her students she doesn’t respond to emails, texts, and calls between allotted hours in the evening; this is the time she spends with her young children, and she doesn’t return to technology until after they are in bed. I found this inspiring and always try to adopt the same attitude with my daughter. My time after 5:00 p.m. and until she goes to sleep belongs to my daughter. I also have to thank my devoted husband for the days he is home from work and rescues me when I have fallen behind on reading. On that note, I also have to applaud my classmates that are single parents—I don’t know how you do it!

I survived the dreaded first year of law school and so did my family. I’m still almost always at school by 8:30 a.m. and still feel like there are not enough hours in the day. But when I have a bad day and return home to my daughter saying “I love you, mama, I’m so glad you’re here,” it gives me a fantastic perspective that makes the stress melt away. For that, I feel like I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to experience law school with a beautiful perspective on life.


College of Law. Student Ambassadors. Valerie Chartier-Hogancamp, 3L

Finding a Healthy Balance in Law School

One of the keys to being successful (or rather, just surviving) in law school is maintaining a healthy balance of both academic and non-academic engagements. It’s so important to give yourself breaks from studying and spend time doing the things that you enjoy. Law School will make you understand the importance of making time for your mental and physical health. You can find balance in the simple things, like getting smarter about meals, making it to the gym, spending time outside, and being involved on campus.

Health and Fitness

FSU offers a fully equipped fitness center, the Leach, where you can find cardio and strength training areas, an indoor track, group fitness classes, and personal training. The Leach also has a 16-lane indoor pool, spa, and sauna. The FSU Reservation (“Rez”) has sand volleyball courts, a rock-climbing wall, kayaks, and so much more to offer to students—the best part? The Rez is free for students—don’t forget your student ID! The key is to stay active—whether you are indoors running on a treadmill or outdoors playing in nature.

Many students also participate in intramural sports through FSU’s main campus. Law students come together and form teams and play various IM sports, such as soccer, flag football, basketball, and softball. There is no shortage of students who participate in these IM sports throughout the year, and the College of Law teams are always looking for more students to come out and participate. These extracurricular activities facilitate a less stressful day-to-day life for law students here at FSU Law.

If working out in a gym does not seem like the best option for you, you can always try something new – like meditation. Professor Lawrence Krieger hosts weekly meditation at the College of Law. Meditation will help you find inner-peace, make you self-aware, and rejuvenate you. You can’t go wrong with releasing negative energy and spreading positive vibes!

Healthy Eating

An easy change that could save you both time and money during your very busy 1L year, would be to make the switch to meal prep. For starters, try to always pack a lunch. This will allow you to avoid poor lunch options (e.g., free pizza from lunch meetings). One of the worst parts of 1L year is that you might not have as much time to cook yourself a meal daily. You end up going out for most meals because you think it’s better than going home to cook. However, this is possible to do if you spend 2-3 hours Sunday night making dinner AND lunch for 3-4 weekdays. In addition, be sure to check out the healthy cooking classes FSU provides. This gives you hands on healthy cooking with instructor demos and recipes to take home with you! You don’t have to avoid eating what you like; you just need to focus on the healthy alternatives and maintain a balance.


Student Organizations

One of the best parts about being a student at the FSU College of Law is the endless amount of opportunities to get involved outside of the classroom. To start, there are more than 30 registered student organizations that invite students to engage in specialized interests within the field of law. Organizations such as Phi Alpha Delta, Women’s Law Symposium, and the Association for Criminal Justice are just a few of the organizations that invite students to broaden their horizons. In addition, many student organizations host networking events and happy hours inviting local attorneys and other legal professionals to engage with students. Through these registered student organizations, students are also often able to travel to prestigious conferences, competitions, and conventions.

The biggest registered student organization at FSU Law is the Student Bar Association (SBA), which boasts more than 300 active students. SBA hosts weekly events, including socials and tailgates for football games, that encourage students to get to know each other outside the perimeters of the law school. Furthermore, SBA also participates in community 5Ks and invites law students to join the team. These activities are just a few examples of ways that students are encouraged to make connections with their peers in non-academic environments.


These tips were provided by some of our recent #FSULawGoldenGrads

Student Ambassadors for College of Law Beatriz Benitez, Class of 2017

Student Ambassadors for College of Law Amanda Qadri, Class of 2017

storch-lauren-e1501873813534.jpg Lauren Storch, Class of 2017

Making Your Own Way: Exploring Nontraditional Career Options with Your J.D.

Do you ever find yourself wondering what other options are out there for someone with a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree beyond working as an attorney for a law firm, business, government organization, or as a judicial clerk? You are not alone! While law schools often focus on preparing you to work in these types of jobs, there are also nontraditional opportunities that you could pursue. Some of these may require a little more work on your part to find, but taking the road less traveled does not have to be scary and is not necessarily impractical. Making your own way is possible by utilizing the resources and support you already have around you.

Post Graduate Legal Fellowships

Most people associate fellowships with the typical masters or doctoral program, but there are a number of paid fellowships for postgraduate law students looking to break into a special interest area of law. The advantage of legal fellowships is that they typically allow you to work in an area of your choosing. They are normally sponsored by a law firm and are setup to last for one to two years. Many of them are in in the public interest area, but if you have a specific interest you should begin researching sponsoring firms or organizations that align with that interest and create a list of potential opportunities. You can also check with your college or university’s office of graduate fellowships office for additional help with your search.

Nonprofit Organizations

Whether a legal nonprofit organization like Earthjustice, a legal aid organization or a service-oriented nonprofit organization like the United Way or American Red Cross, the nonprofit route provides many options in both the legal and non-legal areas. Legal nonprofit organizations provide opportunities to work directly with clients and/or on a variety of legal issues. Service-oriented nonprofit organizations offer an even wider variety of jobs from general counsel to outreach and public relations. Opportunities can include anything from managing an organization to working in a specific area such finance/accounting, human resources, research, or event coordination. Job listings for these types of opportunities can often be found on-line, on both general, and specialized job sites or on an individual organization’s Web site. This type of work can be very rewarding, especially if you have a passion for the individuals or causes.

Fundraising and Development

Often it slips the minds of students that there is an entire field of fundraising and development work that can benefit greatly from a legal perspective. This includes nonprofit organizations as well as colleges, universities, booster organizations, religious organizations, foundations, and philanthropies. Available work includes nontraditional opportunities for contract review, fundraising, sponsorship development, research, policy analysis, risk, fiscal responsibility, real estate and constituent services. These opportunities offer great flexibility in exercising legal knowledge and judgement and provide a chance to work in different cross-sectional areas. As with other nonprofit jobs, job listings can be found on job sites and organization Web sites.

No matter what you decide to do with your law degree, you will find that law permeates any area you might choose. So branch out, combine your search with your own interests, and look into areas you may have not considered. Also, do not forget to network, talk to people in positions that interest you, and take advantage of the resources to which you currently have access. Moreover, have fun and follow your passions!

Student Ambassadors for College of Law Lauryn Collier, Class of 2017