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Judicial Internship/Apprenticeship

What is POSC 418?

POSC 418 is an unusual internship that blends a “hands on” experience in the California judiciary with a theoretical understanding of the judicial process. Student interns enrolled in POSC 418 learn primarily through watching and listening court proceedings. In total, interns view a minimum of 72 hours of court proceedings at the Governor George Deukmejian California Superior Court House located in downtown Long Beach. Most students attend more than the 72 hour minimum. In addition, interns attend brown bag sessions with guest speakers, interview lawyers, judges, and other court personnel, and attend a seminar that meets seven times throughout the semester.

Why take POSC 418?

You will see everything that goes on in the trial arena. This includes arraignment, plea bargaining, jury selection, trial deliberations, sentencing, drug-court graduation, and lock-down. Interns who plan to attend law school will enter law school with more practical courtroom experience than many lawyers possess when they leave law school. Many interns discover what area of the law interests them. Others learn that law school or certain areas of the law are not for them. Interns who do not plan to attend law school but wish to pursue careers in journalism or business or even film find that the experience helps to inform their careers later in life. An additional reason to take POSC 418 is to increase your exposure to important people with titles. Too often, students, and young attorneys are nervous or uncomfortable around judges or more senior attorneys. POSC 418 will help students gain self-confidence and increase their comfort level with prominent people. This can be a major career boost down the road.

What do Interns do while attending court proceedings?

It varies. Most simply watch and, when possible, ask questions of the judges, attorneys, or police officers whom they meet. Others arrange tours of court facilities, meet with attorneys at their offices, and even participate in ride-alongs with police. Many interns “buddy” up and attend with their fellow interns (nine are selected). This helps to make things less scary and makes the experience more enjoyable. Each intern is assigned to a judge who mentors him or her. Many interns make it a habit of visiting their mentors on a regular basis.

Who sets your hourly schedule and who keeps track of your hours?

You set your own schedule.  You decide what days and what hours to attend court.  Upon arriving at court each day, interns sign in and when they leave they sign out.  The supervising judge keeps track of your hours and reports them to Professor Ringel.  It’s all very easy and flexible.

What is the Seminar for POSC 418 like?

There are several short reading summaries and one short interview paper on a subject of your choice. Class attendance and participation are a must. The seminar meets for about one hour. There is much discussion of what people are seeing and learning.  Email Professor Ringel to view a sample syllabus.

How do I apply for POSC 418 or Get More Information?

Download the most recent application (due March 26, 2014)  and return it to Professor Ringel or to the Political Science Office in SPA 257.    Application for Legal-judicial internship application Fall 2014

For more information contact Professor Lewis Ringel at Lewisringel@verizon.net or call him at 562 985 4708, or stop by his office (SPA 223). For his office hours, please check the link to faculty office hours on the department’s home page.

How are Interns selected?

Interns are selected based on their GPA, letters of recommendation, personal statements, and a writing sample. Factors such as past class experience, major or minor, and work experience may also be weighed. The internship is open to all majors and minors; we seek the very best students — period.

What do former interns say about POSC 418? Check out these comments.