Clerking at Rice Law, by Jessica Farmer

One of the best things about working as a law clerk is participating in case strategy meetings with attorneys. In the beginning, you feel a little out of place because you do not have much to add to the conversation. You might be able to chime in with an opinion, observation, or question here and there, but, at least in the beginning, you do not feel like an integral part of the strategic planning.

However, as time progresses, you gain more experience and sit in on more meetings. After a while, you are familiar with the cases and have more knowledge of the law. There is no greater feeling for a law clerk than those moments that you can contribute to the conversation, and your suggestions are not only well-taken but are a truly unique and creative application of the law to cases.

However, putting your contributions aside, the meetings continue to be a learning experience. First, you learn a little about how to fit the strategy of a case to the client. Some clients’ personalities fit certain litigation strategies. What is right for one client may be completely wrong for another.
Second, you learn a lot about different judges’ and lawyers’ styles and strategies. That seems to be an integral part of the strategic planning in any case. Your relationship with the opposing counsel can make a difference in the case almost as much as the client’s personality.

Finally, the part that I enjoy most, is watching and listening to experienced attorneys discuss and plan strategy. It is fascinating to listen to an attorney with years of experience discuss the ins and outs of litigation tactics. Their knowledge and understanding of a case and how to work within the law on a given fact pattern is something to be admired. It is also not something you can get from any law school class. As an added bonus, it gives me a goal. I want to work and learn until I can operate at that level. I always enjoy it when I can find motivation that pushes me to operate at my fullest potential.

I am grateful for the practical tasks that I am given each day at the office. However, sometimes, the most educational and meaningful experiences can be sitting around the conference table brainstorming and listening to those who have greater legal knowledge and are willing to teach you what they know.