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Following completion of the first year of studies, law students at St. Mary’s University may participate in a wide range of pre-graduation judicial internships.

Fourth Court of Appeals judges on the bench

Benefits of an Internship

During a judicial internship, a law student works a certain minimum number of hours for the court over a semester. The intern is supervised by a judge, a law clerk or briefing attorney to a judge, or a staff attorney for the court. The nature of the work varies according to the needs of the court, but normally includes one or more legal research and writing projects.

Internships provide students with:

  • an excellent opportunity to enhance their understanding of the court system
  • the ability to make valuable contributions to the administration of justice
  • a good professional credential that adds depth to one’s resume
  • a more sophisticated understanding of how cases are decided.

St. Mary’s University School of Law operates judicial internship programs in conjunction with the following courts:

  • The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
  • The United States Magistrate Court for the Western District of Texas
  • The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Texas
  • The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals – Chief Staff Attorney’s Office
  • The Texas Court of Appeals for the Fourth Judicial District

All of the above internships, as well as an internship program with the United States Attorney’s Office (discussed below), are located in San Antonio, with the exception of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals internship, which operates in Austin during the summer.

Types of Judicial Internships

Appellate Court Interns

Interns for appellate courts often spend the majority of their time researching, writing, and editing drafts of opinions or orders that will be used to decide cases or motions pending before the court. In contrast, interns for trial courts may spend less time drafting dispositive court documents, and more time assisting the incidental tasks that accompany the trial process, such as composing jury instructions, researching evidentiary questions, or attending settlement conferences.

Appellate court interns are more likely to participate in the writing of opinions that may be published and become part of the body of legal precedent.

Trial Court Interns

Trial court interns often have a greater opportunity than appellate court interns to observe courtroom proceedings.

Federal Court Internships

Other Courts

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