Inaugural Wake in Washington Summer Judicial Externship Program to be offered in 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In an effort to create more hands-on learning opportunities for students, the Wake Forest University School of Law will begin offering a “Wake in Washington Summer Judicial Externship Program” this year.

Professor Abby Perdue will teach the course, which was approved earlier this month by the Wake Forest law faculty following a recommendation from the Curriculum Committee. The course is part of the law school’s Applied Legal Theory – “Law in Action” program.

Through the program, students can obtain externships with the United States Court of Appeals or the Federal Circuit, the United States Court of Federal Claims and the Office of the Special Masters of the Courts of Federal Claims.

“The Wake in Washington Summer Judicial Externship Program will provide students with an incredible opportunity to spend a summer working in some of America’s most vibrant courts,” she said.

The program is unique because it includes an externship component and customized instructional component, according to Perdue.

“It also effectuates Dean Morant’s goals of expanding our metro externship presence and developing innovative ways to assist our students in securing employment and judicial clerkships,”  Perdue said.

Rising second- and third-year students will spend eight weeks working at a participating court. As part of the externship, students will engage in the kinds of tasks performed by law clerks, under the immediate supervision of an experienced attorney in Chambers as well as Perdue’s oversight.

In addition to this invaluable practical component, students will attend class sessions particularly pertinent to successful judicial externships, which explore, inter alia, professionalism, courtroom decorum, confidentiality, judicial ethics, docket management, understanding the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, bench memo writing, oral argument preparation, leadership, and judicial opinion drafting.

“The unique classroom component is specifically tailored to clerking, and with the participating judge’s permission, students may receive feedback on their work product,” Perdue explained.

“We all know that many of the most valuable lessons are learned outside the classroom. Therefore, informative programming regarding related issues, such as Q&A sessions with current or former law clerks and judges, will also be provided throughout the summer along with occasional social events aimed at allowing Wake Forest students to meet and mingle with current and former law clerks, Wake Forest alumni working in Washington, and other Wake Forest students who are working in Washington, D.C. Students will also have an opportunity to attend Washington, D.C., alumni receptions and other ABA and law firm networking events. Such programming and social events will provide excellent networking opportunities, which are invaluable to students in this tough legal climate.”

Before joining the Wake Forest law faculty, Perdue served as law clerk to the Honorable Jimmie V. Reyna of the Federal Circuit and the Honorable Mary Ellen Coster Williams of the court of federal claims.

For more information about the program, contact Professor Perdue at perduea@wfu.edu.