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Career & Alumni Services Sets the Bar for Students Seeking Judicial Clerkships

Judge Patricia L. West
Regent University sits in a unique judicial hub all on its own: Many appellate judges have chambers in the area. And just up the road, Norfolk is home to the U.S. District Court for Eastern Virginia.

But for Regent Law students wrapping up their legal education, the pathway to finding a judicial clerkship post-graduation goes far beyond location – the resources made available to students through LAW’s Career & Alumni Services sets the stage for 3L students seeking employment after graduation.

Particularly those seeking to be set up for employment in the judiciary.

"Our students are poised to secure competitive clerkships because of our professional support and counseling, our unique resources,  and our network of relationships with judges that we have solidified over the years,” said associate dean of Law Career & Alumni Services Judge Patricia L. West (Ret.). “We have fostered strong relationships with judges in all areas of the judiciary, local, state, and national and our students gain invaluable experience and networking opportunities in their judicial internships which prepares each for both the clerkship application process and serving as judicial clerks.”

According to West, for those 2016 LAW Honors graduates, 26.5 percent were hired for judicial clerkships.

Christopher Holinger ('17) said it was his “good fortune” during his time at Regent to have these partnerships and close contact with Supreme Court justices and federal appeals court judges.

“Clerking is one of those things they say if you get a chance to do it, you should because it’s a great way to get experience,” said Holinger. He will serve as a clerk for Judge Glen Huff, Chief Judge of the Virginia Court of Appeals, starting September 2017.

Holinger explained the resources from Career Services assisted him with everything from formatting recommendation letters to connecting him with judges who were accepting application for clerkships at the time.

As a former military member, Holinger said he was primed for clerkship. Much of his job in the past required distilling information for his senior leaders, much like he would for a judge.

“Plus it’s a neat opportunity for a lawyer to dialogue with an experienced one – to challenge a justice and have them challenge you,” said Holinger. “I’m looking forward to learning the ins and outs of the appellate system in Virginia and figure out where God leads me from there.”

Alexandra McPhee ('17) will start her clerkship with Justice Arthur Kelsey on the Virginia Supreme Court. McPhee landed the job after taking one of Kelsey’s courses he teaches on campus.

“It was awesome and it was really unexpected, too,” said McPhee. “It was a really good connection to make.”

Along with the networking she was able to make on campus, McPhee said Career Services was “instrumental” in helping her apply and land the clerkship.

“I didn’t do any of this alone,” she said. “I hovered over Career Services, and the opportunities I had applied for they told me about. It’s a phenomenal resource, people don’t use it enough.”

McPhee said any step she took in her application process was reviewed and vetted by the Center, from her résumé and cover letter to the contacts that she made in the process. To the rest of her LAW peers, she highly encourages them to take full advantage of what Regent has to offer in terms of helping graduates throughout the clerkship application process.

“It would’ve been a lot harder to [obtain a clerkship] without their help,” said McPhee. “I couldn’t have had as many contacts, my application materials wouldn’t have been as well-prepared. They were instrumental. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

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