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First-year Law Student Secures Externship with Federal Judge

Whitney Williams will complete an externship under Judge Andre Birotte

Between studying for finals, meeting deadlines, and planning for the holidays, December can be a dizzying month. Even still, law students recognize the importance of setting aside time to complete externship applications. Smita Nowlin, Associate Director of Career Development, says, “Students applying for federal judicial externships may send anywhere from 25 to 75 applications.” Externships are critical to developing legal research and writing skills, not to mention the first-hand experience in the legal profession.

Whitney Williams (JD ’20), amidst the pressure of first semester finals, managed to send 30 externship applications. Whitney explains, “The Career Development Office is really helpful and walks you through the process, which can be very long.” Her first reply was a rejection; then came the call for an interview with US District Court Judge and Pepperdine Law alumnus André Birotte.

Whitney describes, “I was so excited to go in for my interview with Judge Birotte because he came and spoke at orientation, and I knew how much he loved Pepperdine Law. My interview was great, and I felt really good about it!”

Two weeks later came the call she had been anxiously awaiting. Judge Birotte extended an offer to Whitney for a federal judicial externship. Whitney knew the experience would prove invaluable to her first-year of law school, and she would be able to apply the analytical and legal writing skills learned throughout the first semester. “Plus,” Whitney adds, “We will be in a real courtroom! What could be better?”

If you are currently externing, we want to hear about it! Please email chelsea.audibert@pepperdine.edu