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Jessica Sexton

Atascosa Area Advocates Regional Public Defender’s Office — Jourdanton, Texas

Jessica Sexton

How did you get your job and how long have you been there?

I found the job posted on CORE while looking for a summer opportunity near me in Pleasanton, Texas. The summer internship was from May to August.

What do you like most about your job?

What I like most about the job is that I’ve had the opportunity to witness District, County, and Juvenile Court happenings in Atascosa, Karnes, Frio, and Wilson counties. I’ve networked with several criminal defense attorneys, assistant district attorneys, law enforcement professionals, and judges in rural South Texas. Half my time is spent shadowing attorneys as they visit clients in jail and advocate in court on their behalf. The other half is spent on legal research and discovery review. Knowing where to go inside the courthouses, how to interact with clients, and negotiate with prosecutors has made the experience invaluable.

How do you think this experience has helped you in your career path?

As an intern with the office, I attended Rusty Duncan, the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association’s four-day conference and training at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown San Antonio. I witnessed presentations and interacted with criminal defense attorneys who are leaders in their field. The experience helped confirm that I want to be a criminal defense attorney.

What is the most valuable thing you take form this job? 

The remarkable people I’ve met with inspirational stories have significantly impacted me. I look forward to nurturing and learning from these relationships as I continue my law school journey.

Do you plan to continue working at this job into the next school year, and after graduation?  

I feel incredibly grateful to have had this experience because I can return to school with a picture of what I want my practice area to be upon graduation. I hope to return to the Atascosa Area Advocates next summer and after graduation.

What is the one piece of advice you have for other students? 

St. Mary’s Law students are known to be hard workers, allowing us to outshine those from bigger-name schools. I advise other students to show up as professionals every day of their summer internship, regardless of whether they are paid. My internship was unpaid, but I gained real-world experiences I will treasure forever.