From clerkships to clinical assistantships to working as summer associates at firms, summer legal work helps students gain practical skills and experiences that benefit them during law school and beyond. This is the fourth profile in a series featuring the summer job experience of UW Law students. Find more profiles in our Summer Job Series.
Samuel Bennett '14
Judicial Intern, Dane County Circuit Court
Describe your summer work experience.
My work focused on providing recommendations on a wide range of cases coming before the court. That meant I was responsible for evaluating each parties’ briefs by researching the relevant statutes and case law. Before the Court could reach a decision on the parties’ argument, each claim must be investigated to its fullest extent to determine what discretion the Court possesses. This meant I spent significant amounts of time researching how Wisconsin courts have traditionally approached different areas of such as tort or contract law.
What has surprised you about the work you are doing?
By far the most surprising part of my work was seeing how the Judge decided issues that no previous case law had specifically addressed. One of the cases the Court dealt with involved the “Recall Walker” protests. The unprecedented number of demonstrators on and inside the Capitol presented problems as police tried to control the crowds so that the Capitol could still serve as a functioning government building. It was very interesting to be on the ground floor as the Court determined what First Amendment rights the demonstrators were allowed.
How do you think this work experience will shape the rest of your time at UW Law School?
My experience in the Circuit Court showed me all the stages of civil litigation in a short period of time. I was able to observe and participate in the judicial process in cases that were just starting and cases that were coming to an end. Watching the natural progression of litigation will help me in the rest of my time at Law School and in my career as well.
What classes have been particularly useful in preparing you for the work you are doing this summer?
Civil Procedure definitely was very helpful during my internship. Most of the issues I worked on were motions for summary judgment. Wisconsin courts have adopted similar summary judgment standards to federal courts. In writing my memos on summary judgment, I could hear my Civil Procedure professor’s words echoing in my head.
Submitted by Law School News on May 13, 2015