Externship Position Description
Law Clerk - County Counsel (unpaid position)
Name and Location of Agency/Department Requesting Extern:
County Counsel's main office is in Santa Ana, the Probate/Mental Health Section is located in a satellite office in Garden Grove, near The Block shopping mall.
Functions of Agency/Department:
County Counsel provides legal advice and representation to the County Board of Supervisors and County Departments. The extern/law clerk would work in County Counsel's Probate/Mental Health Section. This Section provides legal advice and representation to the Orange County Public Administrator/Public Guardian, and also represents mental health facilities in certain types of legal hearings regarding involuntary commitment and authorization to administer psychotropic medication.
The extern/law clerk's major responsibility is to communicate with personnel in mental health facilities and write summaries of the patient's status. The extern/law clerk may also contact witnesses and prepare subpoenas. It is quite possible the extern/law clerk will be given assignments to prepare entire court calendars, keep track of the status of pending cases, and advise the attorneys concerning which witnesses to call on a particular case. If time permits, the extern/law clerk may also review court files and help draft legal pleadings in cases involving neglected or abused senior citizens, or cases involving decedent's estates. The extern/law clerk will have an opportunity to observe both court trials and jury trials.
The office prefers students with at least one year of law school, but will consider an undergraduate or a recent graduate with an interest in law, mental health and/or social ecology.
Skills, Training or Qualifications:
Ability to write summaries, complete assignments in a timely manner and obtain information via telephone. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Reliable.
Minimum 10 - 15 hours per week for one semester or quarter (or during summer break), subject to negotiation. Most preferable timeframes include Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and Wednesday afternoons.
Benefits Available to Extern:
Although this is an unpaid externship/law clerk position that does not lead to permanent employment, benefits include the opportunity to be a part of a team of public attorneys and law clerks working on matters of human importance to the community. In addition, the externship/law clerk position is an opportunity to observe court and jury trials and be involved in court preparation. Externs/law clerks gain insight into the operation and the interplay between the mental health and the legal system. Parking reimbursement is available.