March 13, 2013 § Leave a comment
Let’s talk law school/internship type of opportunity. First, a word on the Legal Studies major provided under the College of Letters & Sciences. You can be any major and veer into the law school route equipped with an LSAT score and a serviceable GPA (as long as it doesn’t land you in academic probation). You can also be any major and be interested in taking a Legal Studies course at University of California Berkeley.
Legal Studies, a blend of political science with legal theory, is being revamped by a committee of professors headed by department chair Professor Musheno. A wider swath of classes are now allowed to satisfy the four lower-division requirements: philosophy, European history, statistics, and economics/sociology. Though the rules of the major do not allow you to declare as a Legal Studies major until you’re a sophomore, the light requirements (along with 32 upper division units) allow students to finish their undergraduate degrees early or declare legal studies as their second major. Any questions about the major requirements and the major itself should be directed to the clutch adviser, Lauri LaPointe at email@example.com or in her office at 2240 Piedmont Avenue, right across the street from Memorial Stadium.
Whether or not you’re a Legal Studies major, you can still take a Legal Studies course as long as there is space for you. Although the major gives a disclaimer that says it’s not a major to prepare you for law school, you can get a glimpse of law school taking a course with reputable Berkeley/Boalt Hall professors. Whether you take instruction from Professors (but not limited to) Sarah Song (Theories of Justice), Joan H. Hollinger (Family or Abortion Law), Jonathan Simon (Crime and Punishment), Michael Musheno (Children and the Law), Robert Berring (Law in Chinese Society), or Richard Perry (Foundation of Legal Studies), you benefit by learning from professors who teach at the premier academic institutions of their field.
That was a roundabout way of getting to this law school/internship opportunity. The announcement came from Professor Henry Hecht over at Boalt Hall/Berkeley School of Law, stating that he needs five to six students to play the role of practice deponents for the elective 246.3 Depositions course. A portion of the class is devoted to having Professor Hecht’s students take a hands-on approach and depose and defend the mock deponents.
3L students make up the majority, if not the whole class and many are ready to head towards the corporate track right after they graduate. As one of six mock deponents, you get three students who practice defending you and three opposing students and practice to frazzle the sh*t out of you. Depending on which of the two cases are chosen for the course, Professor Hecht will have both his students and the mock deponents prepare by reading up on their roles, plaintiff or defendant and be familiar with the documents provided by the professor.
What’s In It For You?
It’s not a big time commitment, requiring you to spend an hour and a half to play your role on certain Wednesdays in which Professor Hecht does less lecturing and lets the students practice. While the professor provides his own praise and critiques for how things go, he also brings in guest attorneys, often former students of his depositions course or premier litigators in their field looking to fulfill the Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirement to provide their tips and critiques of these mock depositions.
You lose out on an hour and a half of afternoon socializing or catching up on the latest episode of Homeland, but you get a feel for an electives course at Boalt Hall, a building you wouldn’t normally step inside as an undergraduate student of UC Berkeley. You get to network with not only the 3L students you are assigned with, but the guest attorneys invited to these practice depositions and the professor himself. Chances are, if your only experience watching a deposition comes from Suits or The Social Network, the course is a refreshing take on what depositions are and are NOT.
I won’t spoil the details of Scoops v. Business-Aide, although I will say taking up either the role of Leslie Roberts or Terry Blake is a lot of fun. It requires some work doing the prep for your role, including being familiar with documents that will come up for sure in the opposing “counsel’s” line of argument but you get to inject your personality into this thing.
How Do I Apply?
You’ll receive this notice if you’re in a Legal Studies course and Professor Hecht is teaching the elective that semester. You then write a cover letter on why you deserve this opportunity (I want to go to law school, I heard Suits isn’t a good representation of depositions, I want to get a feel for a law school class, etc.) and send it along with your resume to Professor Hecht’s assistant. I don’t think Wanda Castillo is his assistant anymore, so you may want to consult the notice that your Legal Studies professor puts out or Professor Hecht’s law school faculty profile. If you are registered for Lauri’s Legal Studies listserve, chances are you’ll get a weekly digest referencing this. The students that make up the mock deponents are mostly UC Berkeley students, but it is possible for a non-Berkeley student to impress Professor Hecht with their initiative and drive to seek out such an opportunity.
Professor Hecht will rank students based on whether or not they can come to all the Wednesday sessions that they are needed. Other than that, it’s a well-organized portion of the class that the professor has been tinkering with and perfecting for a long time. Because of that, everyone gets to benefit, especially you.