American Bar Association Section of Litigation Announces This Year’s Minority Law Student Summer Judicial Clerks
CHICAGO, June 18, 2004 – The ABA Section of Litigation has announced the 2004 class of recipients of its minority judicial internships in Illinois and Texas. This year’s class of 87 students, representing 43 law schools around the country, will be interning with 62 state and federal judges. The students will be recognized at special receptions to be held on June 22 in Chicago and June 24 in Houston.
The Judicial Internship Opportunity Program places minority law students as judicial law clerks. The internships expose students to the valuable experience clerkships can provide and encourage them to consider judicial clerkships upon law school graduation.
In announcing the interns, Section Chair Patricia Lee Refo, Phoenix, said, “The section has made a commitment to provide opportunities for minority law students to get practical experience in the courts. Through the program, students can enhance their skills as well as gain valuable insights into the workings of the court system. Clerkships can open the door to future careers for minority students and provide them with entrée to opportunities that were closed to them in the past. The program can help them succeed as lawyers in the future.
“Our minority judicial internships are a way to break down barriers that keep many from reaching their full potential It is our goal to do all we can to shape the legal profession to be more representative of our population to better serve our society. The program is a step towards assuring fairness and access to justice.”
Of this year’s class of 87 students, 57 will be working with 42 judges in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois, and the Circuit Courts of Cook and Lake counties, and 30 will be working with 20 judges in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Texas, the Texas Civil District Court and Texas District Court. This is the program’s fifth year. It has grown remarkably from the initial class of 23 students in 2000 to 71 in 2003 to nearly 90 this year.
Established in response to a study released in February 2000, which reported that only 15 percent of all judicial clerkships are held by minorities – despite the fact that minorities make up 30 percent of the nation’s population and 20 percent of the law student population – the program has become a key component of the ABA’s initiatives to expand opportunities to minorities in the legal profession.
Each student will receive a $1,500 stipend and will work for at least six weeks on a full time basis.
More than 325 students applied for the program this year. Members of the Section of Litigation and participating judges reviewed writing samples and resumes and interviewed the candidates before making their final selections.
Heading the Judicial Internship Opportunity Program for the section were U.S. District Court Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn, Dallas; Diego “Woody” Rodriguez, Orange County Attorney’s Office, Orlando, Fla.; and Andrea L. Zopp, Chicago, general counsel for Sears. Substantial support this year has been provided by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity; LexisNexis; the ABA sections of Antitrust Law, Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, Dispute Resolution, and Intellectual Property Law; the ABA Judicial and Young Lawyers divisions; and the ABA Forum on Air and Space Law.
For more information contact Gail Howard, ABA Section of Litigation, at 312/988-6348 or email Howardg@staff.abanet.org.
The ABA Section of Litigation includes approximately 74,000 trial lawyers, judges and others involved in all aspects of litigation and the dispute resolution process. The section is dedicated to promoting justice both domestically and internationally, and enhancing public understanding and respect for the legal profession.
The Council on Legal Education Opportunity is a nonprofit project of the ABA Fund for Justice and Education dedicated to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education.
With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law in a democratic society.