Lawyering Skills Summer Clerkship Program Places Students in Small and Mid-sized Wisconsin Communities

An article originally appearing in the Medford Star News describes third year law student Sarah Markham's 2012 summer clerkship experience.

The program places University of Wisconsin Law School students between their second and third years of study into firms in small and mid-sized Wisconsin communities. Faculty from the UW Law School’s Lawyering Skills Program, participating law firms, and individual students share responsibility for the success of the clerkship.

Program Director Gretchen Viney says the clerkship program benefits students, partnering firms and the communities they serve. "We have had nothing but positive feedback from students and employers, and many of our former clerks are now practicing law in small or mid-sized communities."

Markham Gets Experience in Rural Law Firm Practice

The Star News

Sarah Markham, 26, of Egg Harbor is getting experience working in a rural law firm during an internship at Jensen, Scott, Grunewald and Shiffler Law Firm in Medford through a program at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Markham, who recently completed her second year of law school, is one of just five students chosen to participate in the program which placed them in small to mid-sized rural law firms. The purpose of the program is to bring some of the state's best and brightest prospective lawyers and expose them to the unique challenges and opportunities practicing in smaller firms in rural areas brings.

As Markham notes, many of her peers are drawn to large cities to seek jobs because of the perceived status of working for larger firms. In order to advance in many of these large firms you have to specialize. With smaller firms, however, the lawyer needs to be more of a generalist and able to deal with whatever a client may bring in the door. This appeals to Markham, who notes that she is drawn to smaller communities because of the better quality of life.

Markham will be working with attorneys Corliss Jensen, Bill Grunewald, Mike Shiffler and Josh Kenny throughout the summer and in the process learning about how the law theory she learned in the classroom works in real world situations. While she expects to be doing mainly research and assisting the attorneys at the firm to begin with, she said she is excited to try new opportunities.

“We see the program and her as a good opportunity for us to recruit,” said Grunewald, noting the challenges of recruiting professionals to Medford. “We see it as a great program.”

Markham completed her undergraduate work at UW-Green Bay. While she expects to be working long hours at the firm this summer, in what free time she has, she will be downtown at Derrico’s Blackbelt Studio. Markham is an accomplished martial artist with second degree blackbelts in two disciplines. She said when she learned of her assignment to Medford, she was excited about the opportunity to train with the Derricos who she had known by reputation in the martial arts field for years. She is also looking forward to hiking the trails in the county and exploring what the region has to offer.

Submitted by Law School News on June 28, 2012

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