Law student Angela Jennings shares her experiences as an intern and extern at the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office.
In September of 2010, I started working for marginalized and indigent criminal defendants as a student Intern for the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office. In June of 2012, I had the opportunity to escalate my involvement in the office as an Extern. I am not only gaining valuable experience, but actively assisting in life-changing and policy-changing litigation as well.
I have interviewed over one thousand (1,000) clients charged with felony crimes under Oklahoma law and participated in numerous preliminary hearings as an Intern. I have worked on two Death Penalty cases and participated in three jury trials as an Extern. I have the basic experience of most new attorneys after their first year of practice. These experiences are not based on any extraordinary talent or intelligence of mine. Rather, these opportunities have fallen into my path because of hard work and creativity – not just mine but also that of my supervising attorney, and of the Legal Extern Program administrators at the University of Tulsa.
TU Law School’s Legal Extern Program allows you to take up to 12 credit hours of Legal Externship. That is 540 literal hours of hands-on legal experience. During those hours of hands-on experience, I have assisted investigators in interviewing key witnesses, written countless variety of motions, independently prepared several case files for trial, cross-examined clients in preparation for trial, and sat second chair in a Murder trial, to name a few.
I graduate from TU Law in December 2012. I plan to pursue a career in litigation, preferably in criminal defense. Because of TU’s support of practical experience – Board of Advocates Moot Court Organization, Practical Skills classes, the Legal Extern Program –and the dedication of capable instructors like my supervisor, Shena Burgess, I am confident that I am prepared to enter a competitive job market. More importantly, I am prepared to represent my clients in a meaningful way that positively contributes to my Tulsa community and to the legal profession at large.