Career center helps student obtain internship with federal judge

by Angela Gartner, Staff Writer

As the end of the semester rolls around, students— especially juniors and seniors—are in the process of not only preparing for final projects and exams, but also beginning to seek out and complete applications for summer job opportunities, internships and other major-related endeavors. While many students may find the process of finding an internship daunting, Saint Vincent’s Career Center offers many resources and is an efficient starting point for students interested in gaining experience in their fields of study, outside of the classroom. Andrew Harvan, senior and political science major, utilized the resources at the Career Center last spring and landed an internship with Judge William H. Baughman Jr., ‘71 SVC alum.

Judge Baughman holds a B.A. in Political Science and attended the University of Notre Dame where he received his J.D. (Juris Doctor) in 1974. Appointed in February of 2000, Judge Baughman serves as a federal magistrate judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland. Before his appointment as a federal magistrate judge, Baughman was a partner with Weston, Hurd, Fallon, Paisley & Howley, L.L.P., a Cleveland law firm. He began his legal career as a law clerk with the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago and was a charter member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s Attorney Advisory Committee on Rules and Procedures; he also chaired the Advisory Committee.

Harvan, who began his internship last spring, contacted the Career Center at the start of his internship search. He noted, “Christine Sundry-Gregorini, [internship coordinator at the Career Center,] recommended that I should apply for this particular internship.”

Judge Baughman, who met Harvan last March, stated that students interested in pursuing law and applying for the internship must apply through the Career Center; in addition, students must have a 3.5 GPA and have participated in a mentoring program and law school application planning program. If students meet these criteria, then they can proceed to submit an application. After this, a screening committee will review the student’s application and further recommend the student for the position.

“I have been working on the internship since the beginning of this semester,” said Harvan. Interns are considered “remote interns,” which means the intern works on campus and communicates through telephone and/or video conference, as opposed to onsite interns. The internship program, which first began in 2008, allows remote interns to participate in court cases through these video and telephone conferences.

“Usually, we have two meetings every week. Primarily, the focus of the internship is on the workings of Federal District Court,” Harvan commented.

Although interns primarily work on campus with teleconference technology, Judge Baughman noted that interns also have the option to spend a day on site and participate in court; many students do this over the summer.

While the internship is also open to law students, many interns complete the internship during their undergraduate studies. Since 2008, Judge Baughman has worked with six undergraduate interns from SVC, all of whom are currently enrolled in law schools ranging from Ohio Northern Law School to Duquesne University Law School to Penn State Carlisle. The internship enables interns to improve their writing skills, learn and become familiar with court processes, and work on case files through teleconferences and listening in on court proceedings. “If they come up, they get to sit in,” Judge Baughman added.

During the internship, remote interns work primarily with habeas corpus cases and cases involved with a “federal court review of state court criminal conviction, or a federal, constitutional error,” said Judge Baughman. The latter involves cases in which a person convicted of a certain crime claims that a federal constitutional right had been violated. Remote interns also work with various other cases such as breach of contract cases (a legal cause of action in which a binding agreement is not honored by one or more parties to the contract).

Sundry-Gregorini suggested that students who are interested in finding an internship should stop by the Career Center to schedule an appointment. “Prior to the appointment, the student should assess their personal interests, work on a rough draft of a résumé and bring that résumé to the appointment,” said Sundry-Gregorini. During the appointment, which usually lasts for about an hour, Sundry-Gregorini will walk the student through the application process. That process is further explained online at:  http://www.stvincent.edu/internship_forms.

Students seeking a summer internship should consider searching, as well as starting the application process, in the fall or very early spring. “It is never too early to begin researching companies and tapping your personal network of contacts,” added Sundry-Gregorini. The Career Center offers one-on-one career counseling appointments, hosts campus interviews and employer networking events, as well as other informational sessions. For more information regarding the Career Center’s professional development tools, visit online at http://www.collegecentral.com/stvincent/Student.cfm and look out for a calendar of events located on the main floor of the Carey Center.

Harvan also commented that he is in the process of applying to law schools for Fall 2011. He stressed that future applicants for the internship should apply only if they are seriously interested in pursuing law school.

“My experience as an intern has been highly valuable, and I consider the internship a success,” Harvan said. “[It] has given me a good introduction into law school, and showed me what to expect next year…Overall, the internship with Judge Baughman is an excellent opportunity for any Saint Vincent student wishing to enter law school with some actual law experience.”

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