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. These internships provide students with an excellent opportunity to enhance their understanding of the court system and to make valuable contributions to the administration of justice. The successful completion of a judicial internship is a good professional credential that adds depth to one’s resume. The internship demonstrates that the student has complemented his or her academic studies with experience of the type that almost invariably leads to a more sophisticated understanding of how cases are decided.
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. 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. Trial court interns often have a greater opportunity than appellate court interns to observe courtroom proceedings. But 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.
St. Mary’s University School of Law operates judicial internship programs in conjunction with the following courts:
- The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit;
- 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; and
- 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.
In addition to the internship programs operated by St. Mary’s University School of Law, students from St. Mary’s University often participate in three judicial internship programs in Austin that are operated under the supervision of the University of Texas. Those internships are with:
- The Texas Supreme Court;
- The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (note that this program is separate and distinct from the St. Mary’s program operated with the same court); and
- The Texas Court of Appeals for the Third Judicial District
Federal Court Internships
- Texas Supreme Court
- First Court of Appeals (Houston)
- Thirteenth Court of Appeals (Corpus Christi)
- Fourteenth Court of Appeals (Houston)
- Fourth Court of Appeals (San Antonio) accepts applications from rising second and third year students interested in nonpaying judicial internships. Calls for applications are posted throughout the year on St. Mary’s 12Twenty (CORE) Job Bank. For specific questions, please contact the Office of Career Services at (210) 436-3511.