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While many of their classmates will work at firms in the state this summer, a handful of Texas law school students will continue their legal education on foreign soil. Karin Cagle, a 2L at Fort Worth’s Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, will study comparative law and immigration in Cuernavaca, Mexico, while classmate Alexa K. Ewen takes classes in Rome on international human rights and comparative family law. Another Texas Wesleyan student, Margarita Granado, will polish her Spanish and her knowledge of international law in Costa Rica. Meaghan Connors, a student at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas, will study and work in Paris, followed by a stint in Berlin for training in mediation. These four are among the students who opt for a summer experience outside a firm as a way to expand their legal education and explore possible alternative legal careers. “I chose to participate in a study-abroad program because I believed it presented a unique opportunity to visit new places and learn about new cultures while still studying law,” Ewen says. She chose the program in Italy, sponsored by Loyola University School of Law in Chicago, because the course selection included more than just business classes. That Ewen always has wanted to see Rome doesn’t hurt, either. Connors sees the France package, which includes a stint at a Paris firm, Cabinet de Kap-Herr, as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get hands-on experience in international law and the perfect way to spend her last summer before law school graduation next year. She got the internship through a program at Tulane Law School. Cagle’s also looking forward to being in a foreign country, and she won’t be alone on her journey south of the border — she’s bringing practically her entire familia. Accompanying her will be her two children, husband, nephew, mother and stepfather. Cagle and stepdad R. David Broiles, who’s of counsel with Fort Worth’s Wells, Purcell & Kraatz, will study law, and the rest of the clan will take Spanish classes. “It’s an area that I’m interested in, and it’s something different,” says Cagle, who works as a paralegal for Broiles and wants to work at a small firm after graduation doing plaintiffs work and general litigation. The Mexico study program is sponsored by Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans. DOMESTIC BLISS But some future lawyers choose to spread their wings a little closer to home. Laura Offenbacher, a first-year student at the University of Texas School of Law, will clerk at the National Western Life Insurance Co. in Austin, Texas. “I think this type of job will give me a lot of hands-on experience,” she says. “I’ll get a lot of exposure to a lot of different areas of the law.” Kelly Noblin, assistant dean for career services at the SMU Dedman School of Law, says working outside a law firm gives students a chance to explore different practice areas and help them decide what they want to do with their J.D.s. The experience is invaluable, she says, even if the students land at a law firm after graduation. She estimates that about a quarter of students spend a stint in public interest, judicial or government work. Public-interest work is a popular choice among law students, says Katherine Saunders, a board member of Texas Law Fellowships in Austin. The student-run, nonprofit organization raises money throughout the year to fund public service fellowships. This summer, 30 UT students will work at nonprofit organizations, legal aid groups and government agencies, including the Alaska Public Defender’s Office, thanks to the fellowships. Maureen Spiwak, a first-year law student at the University of Texas, is splitting her summer between public service and a private firm. She’ll be working in Austin with Texas C-BAR, a branch of Legal Aid of Central Texas that provides pro bono legal services to developers and nonprofit organizations. The internship fits with her desire to help in the development of affordable housing for low-income communities. UT student Ursula Mann, who’s in her first year of law school, says her internship with Jane’s Due Process in Austin will help in eventually deciding on a specialty. The group provides information to teen-age girls who want a judicial bypass to get an abortion and helps minors who no longer have parents to take care of them apply for emancipation. Mann will work in the emancipation area, helping give teen-agers the power to enroll in school without parental consent and sign leases so they can get on with their lives. In addition, she’ll be helping to draft ideal legislation that changes the code on emancipation. “It’ll be great to have hands-on experience this summer,” she says. “I’ll be exposed to legislation. I’ll be exposed to cases. It will be very instructive.” Andrea Beleno, recipient of the new Fulbright & Jaworski Texas Law Fellowship of $4,300, wants to work in the public interest field after graduation next year. Her work with Legal Aid of Central Texas helping indigent victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders, divorces and child custody is a big boost. “I have been lucky enough to have had work experience in a corporate law firm and with the government,” says Beleno, a second-year UT law student. “These experiences have been invaluable to me and have allowed me to narrow my career focus.” Another Texas Law Fellowship recipient, first-year UT law student Frances Crowe, will be in the thick of things in New York City, helping asylum-seekers through the Catholic Legal Immigration Network. She’ll be interviewing clients at detention centers and helping put together their cases. But the urge to serve isn’t unique to Austinites. Saba Butt, a second-year student at SMU and a Muslim, will help the Council on American-Islamic Relations in New York City with civil rights cases, such as employment discrimination complaints. She’ll spend the second half of the summer clerking at the Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. For Butt, the diverse choices make sense: After graduation, she hopes to go into either public service or medical malpractice. Kristine Bridges, a second-year student at Baylor University School of Law in Waco, Texas, will be an advocate for children in her summer internship. She’s gathering research for the juvenile court in Catoosa County, Ga., under a program through Emory University School of Law in Atlanta that’s funded with money provided under the federal Children’s Justice Act. The summer job fits in with her desire to be an advocate for children, says Bridges. COURTSIDE EXPERIENCE Other students opt to get their experience by bringing order to the court. First-year UT law student Jodie Slater applied for an internship with Justice Craig T. Enoch of the Texas Supreme Court because the job joined her interests in law and government. She will receive credit hours, rather than a paycheck, for her work, a condition she gladly accepts. She wants to pursue a career in state or local government. “I knew my summer plans would include work in the public sector, most of which is not paid,” Slater says. “So, academic credit for a job I would have done for free anyway was enticing.” Holly Engelmann, a Korean-American and second-year SMU law student, got a job clerking for Enoch under the Dallas Bar Foundation’s Collins Clerkship program for minorities. She’s looking forward to living and working in Austin, a place she’s never been before. “Judicial clerkships are a great way to accelerate research and writing skills,” says Engelmann, a former high school math teacher and cheerleading advisor. Melissa Freed is keeping her options open by clerking for a federal judge. After talking to graduates and older students, she decided that a clerkship would give her a better idea of the legal system and steer her toward a niche. She scheduled interviews while on a trip over winter break to New York City, where she lived for two years while working as a business analyst for Ernst & Young, and landed a job with U.S. District Judge Kevin Duffy of the Southern District of New York. “I’m definitely looking into lots of different areas,” says Freed, a first-year student at UT’s law school. “There are so many things you can do with a law degree.”

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