The Associated Students Legal Resource Center and the Law & Society Dept. are teaming up to bring internships to students interested in law.
The internship program would allow students to work with defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges in Santa Barbara. The Law & Society Dept. has a similar program, but the Legal Resource Center’s expansion officially kicked off this quarter.
Robin Unander, on-campus advising attorney for the center, said students have two options when applying for an internship. With a judicial internship through the Law & Society Dept., students can earn a maximum of eight units of academic credit for the time they spend at the various law offices. For those students whose majors do not offer work-study credit, such as with communication, Unander said students can now opt for a general internship through the center, which would not yield any credits.
The kind of activities students engage in can range from listening to court proceedings to performing legal research for attorneys and judges. Unander said interns would get a chance to watch attorneys in court, dealing with clients and interacting with other lawyers.
“Some students are pretty good at picking stuff up, so they might be doing some legal research,” she said.
To be an intern, a student must have either a junior or senior academic standing. In addition, the center requires a GPA of 2.8 or higher for general internships, and a GPA of 3.3 or higher is required for judicial internships.
Unander said she is excited about the program. When she graduated from UCSB in 1992, there were no on-campus resources to help her find legal internships. She now works as a internship advisor for the Law & Society Dept., and the center recruited her last November.
Unander said she tries to match eligible students with the right internship.
The law offices have so far given positive feedback about the interns Unander sends them.
“The firms, so far, are very excited about my interns. I’m turning out a quality student because of our requirements and because of the importance I impress upon the students that this is serious, this is real. I’m not going to turn out some flaky student to one of my colleagues and have them basically kill our program.”
Students participating in the program said they are enjoying their internships. Madeline Zamoyski, a third-year political science and philosophy major, follows court proceedings with Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill. There, she sorts evidence, looks at motions from attorneys and talks to Hill about his decisions.
“I’m really surprised at how much I learn by sitting in the courtroom and watching the demeanor of the attorneys and judges,” she said.
Danaly Barajas, an undeclared second-year student, said her internship with the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Narcotics Unit, where she writes motions and subpoenas, helped her discover what she wants to do as a profession.
“It’s made me realize that this is what I want to do,” Barajas said. “When I walked out of the office the first day, I had a big smile on my face and I called my parents because I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”