Introduction: The Oregon Supreme Court is Oregon's court of last resort. The court is composed of seven justices elected to serve six-year terms by nonpartisan, statewide ballot. The court is primarily a court of discretionary review, although a significant percentage of its caseload involves cases on mandatory direct review or direct appeal from lower tribunals. In addition to the justices, the court employs a number of judicial assistants, staff attorneys, law clerks, and a management assistant. The court also has a program for law students to assist in its work on a volunteer basis.
The Oregon Court of Appeals is Oregon's intermediate appellate court. The court is composed of ten judges elected to serve six-year terms by nonpartisan, statewide ballot. The court has broad jurisdiction over appeals from the circuit courts in criminal and civil cases and judicial review proceedings from administrative tribunals. In addition to the judges, the court employs a number of judicial assistants, staff attorneys, and law clerks. The court also has a program for law students to assist in its work on a volunteer basis.
In addition to working directly for one of the courts, externship opportunities are available with the Office of the Appellate Commissioner, which assists the Oregon Court of Appeals in appellate procedural matters, particularly substantive motions and own-motion matters. The Office consists of the Appellate Commissioner and a support-staff person.
Externship Description: Externs for the Oregon Supreme Court work either for individual justices or for the court as a whole. Primarily, externs write petition memoranda that analyze and recommend dispositions on petitions for review of decisions from the Court of Appeals. Duties also may include research, writing, and organizing and summarizing factual and legal information for individual justices or for the court's legal staff. Other duties occasionally are assigned.
Externs for the Oregon Court of Appeals work directly for one or more judges. Externs research issues in cases that have been assigned to the supervising judge and may assist the judge with opinion drafting; externs read briefs and write summaries ("bench memos") to assist the judges in their preparation for oral argument; other duties, such as general research, occasionally are assigned. Externs have the opportunity to attend oral argument, as well as pre-argument and post-argument conferences.
Externs for the Office of the Appellate Commissioner work with the appellate commissioner. Externs are expected to review and analyze substantive motions filed in the Court of Appeals, review files, conduct legal research as necessary to resolve motions, and prepare memoranda containing their analysis and recommended disposition. Externs also have the opportunity to meet monthly with the Court of Appeals' Motions Department and are expected to be able to explain and defend their recommended disposition of motions referred to that department. Externs also may have the opportunity to assist in drafting opinions related to certain motions; other duties occasionally are assigned.
The appellate courts provide an orientation for externs, together with written orientation materials. The externships are unpaid, volunteer positions. Externs may make arrangements with their law schools to receive law school credit for the externship (the availability of school credit depends on the law school).
Materials to Submit:
Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, copies of law school and college transcripts, a writing sample (no more than five pages), and a list of references. Original transcripts are not necessary; copies are acceptable.
Only one set of application materials should be submitted. Candidates may specify which court or office in which they wish to work, or particular justices/judges for whom they wish to work; however, unless a preference is specifically stated, the application will be circulated to all justices/judges or court staff who are interviewing as part of this externship cycle.
Deadline for Submission: 2013 summer externship applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. March 1, 2013.
Send Required Materials to:
Oregon Supreme Court
1163 State Street
Salem, OR 97301
By email (as PDF attachments):
The Judicial Department is not responsible for application material that is illegible or missing, including loss through the mail or transmission by fax.
Questions: For questions concerning the externship program or your submission, please contact Lisa Norris-Lampe at (503) 986-5711 or Lisa.J.Norris-Lampe@ojd.state.or.us (Supreme Court), Lora Keenan at (503) 986-5660 or Lora.E.Keenan@ojd.state.or.us (Court of Appeals), or Jim Nass at (503) 986-5566 or Jim.Nass@ojd.state.or.us (Office of the Appellate Commisioner).
Duties & Responsibilities:
Qualifications & Desired Attributes:
Qualifications: Candidates should have strong research, writing, analytical, and organizational abilities. Candidates also should be capable of working independently with minimal supervision, as well as be capable of working in close cooperation with other externs and court personnel. In addition, candidates should possess time-management skills, be detail-oriented, and have the utmost in ethics and discretion. Finally, while working for the Oregon appellate courts, externs may not perform outside legal work, either paid or unpaid, including work at a law school legal clinic. Research work for a professor is not considered to be outside legal work.
For the summer externship program, applications from both incoming second-year and incoming third-year candidates are accepted. For the fall and spring semester externship programs, applications from second-year and third-year candidates are accepted.
Salary: This is an unpaid externship.
Conduct Expectations: Because of the Oregon Judicial Department's role in providing justice and upholding the rule of law, externs are required to meet the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics while on the job, and also to maintain those same high standards when taking actions in their personal lives that could reflect on the Department.
THE OREGON JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EMPLOYER COMMITTED TO A DIVERSE WORK FORCE. WE RESPECT, REFLECT, AND RESPOND TO THE DIVERSE PEOPLE WE SERVE.
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