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Richard Hansen

The Hon. Judge Weishaupl, 18th Judicial District of Colorado


How did you get your job?

I wanted to get some legal experience in my home state of Colorado, so Kimberly Underdown in the Office of Career Strategy was able to get me access to the University of Colorado job bank through a process called reciprocity. I applied to many Colorado courts, their Office of the Attorney General, and a few Colorado non-profits. I was interviewed by my Judge and Clerk and secured an externship as Law Clerk for the Honorable Judge Weishaupl of the 18th Judicial District of Colorado!

What did you like most about your job?

I worked on substantive, criminal legal issues on appeal, and my team was interested in developing my legal opinion, then critiquing my research and writing skills. Our collective main goal was to expose me to criminal appeals through the summer and to practice and perfect my writing so that I could end the summer with some solid (redacted) writing samples. Being exposed to how things actually work is a skill that contextualized the academic training I experienced in my 1L year.

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

I learned what actual legal writing looks like. This included simple things like how a document is formatted and words that are used to frame an issue, but also exposing me to more substantive legal matters. My goal is to get into criminal prosecution, so the Court worked with exposing me to live issues on criminal appeal. I have a better understanding now how prosecution and defense attorneys present their arguments, but more importantly, what the judge on appeal sees after trial and how some factual points become more or less important at that point.

Did your job change in a virtual workplace? How did you interact with your co-workers?

This summer was one for the books! The skill of contributing virtually will be important for any lawyer, and as law students, we are in a particularly unique position to be leaders in the virtual legal reality that’s ahead of us; I believe the technology that’s being used now will continue to be developed and utilized during our careers. So, staying on top of communication and learning video conference etiquette are very important skills. Luckily, a lot of the work is the same, it’s just in a different place, so there’s an added personal responsibility of ensuring you’re able to focus on your work in your home office. The upside is you can wear comfy shorts and a suit jacket and tie and no one will know!