Mary Pat Kenyon 2L spent the first part of her summer working on behalf of consumers caught in a mortgage modification scam. The opportunity arose through her externship with the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Attorney General for the State of North Carolina in Raleigh.
Externships give students an opportunity to try-on and explore a particular area of practice while developing key lawyering skills. The UNC School of Law externship program offers students a variety of placement opportunities with state and federal government, public interest organizations, academia and corporate in-house counsel offices. Students enrolled in the program receive 3 credit hours in the fall and spring semesters and 5 credit hours in the summer semester. There are also limited opportunities available for students to extern full-time in the fall or spring and receive 12 credit hours.
As she approached the end of her first year of law school, Kenyon was looking for a summer legal experience. The summer externship program had been expanded beyond its traditional judicial externship format and offered a number of new opportunities that caught her eye. The Consumer Protection Division topped her list, so she was thrilled when they accepted her for the program.
"Before coming to law school, I had worked as a legal assistant in D.C., and I had seen corporate litigation. I had also worked for a solo practitioner and worked with Legal Aid. I thought this externship in particular would provide an opportunity to learn about the balance between protecting the consumer and dealing with business and commercial regulation," she says.
Kenyon interviewed consumers and wrote complaints, which were then reviewed by one of the attorneys. "The attorneys either made or advised on any necessary changes," she says, noting that the process helped her to translate information gathered during a live interview into an organized set of facts that could support the consumer's legal claim.
"I enjoy consumer protection," says Kenyon, who expects her career to focus on civil litigation. She adds that the externship helped her refine her long-term plans.
To learn more about student externship possibilities, visit Externship Programs or contact program coordinator Melissa Wood-Saltzman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919.843.9702.
-November 18, 2010