One of the many advantages provided by McGeorge to its students is access to a vast network of legal professionals through alumni events, employer networking events, outside-speaker presentations, and more. Josh White, a 2021 J.D. candidate, has recounted his own path at McGeorge that has led him to a highly-coveted summer position with the Vera Institute of Justice in New York. Josh shared his experience and perspective below – continue on to read it in his own words.
“Finding your first legal internship can be an incredibly daunting experience. Particularly, first-generation law students like myself must navigate a competitive application process for summer internships without the support and connections that come with having proximity to lawyers in our families. Fortunately, I was able to take advantage of some of the services McGeorge offers its students through the Career Development Office. The advisors in this office work ardently to ensure students have the resources they need to present themselves as competent candidates for legal opportunities. My advisor was actually one of my professors. Her help was invaluable, including the time she spent reviewing my application materials. What I found most helpful was the practical advice I was given about which opportunities would best set in motion my personal career goals.
An opportunity that sparked considerable interest was a legal internship at the Vera Institute of Justice. I have followed this organization and the industry-leading work they do in addressing the issue of mass incarceration for the past few years. Just two months after I had applied for a position in their New York City office, I learned that Professor Dajani here at McGeorge invited the President of Vera, Nicholas Turner, to speak on campus. I was excited for the opportunity to hear from an expert who leads the work I hope to contribute to. After his presentation on mass incarceration, some of my peers and I were able to engage President Turner with questions and the opportunity to share some of our own passions. These conversations unexpectedly evolved into a networking opportunity, which led to me interviewing for one of just a few internships that nearly 2,600 students applied for.
I was offered a position working at Vera’s Center on Youth Justice, where I support the project, Initiative to End Girls’ Incarceration. The team I work with is doing incredible work to transition girls out of prison and impede the pipeline funneling them there. My assignments consist of reviewing the agency regulations and statutory requirements of some of the solutions Vera is working to support. I work with a cohort of interns who have varying academic backgrounds and support different centers across Vera. In addition to our individual assignments, Vera has curated programming for our group that includes hearing from Vera’s leadership, partners such as ACLU leadership, court visits, etc. I also have the opportunity to engage teams who do incredible work around areas in which I have a personal interest, such as policing and prosecution reform.
Not only is the work I am doing relevant to my personal career goals, but it is also the experience of a lifetime. Acquiring this opportunity would not have been possible without the diligent efforts of McGeorge faculty and staff who support student internship readiness and organize meaningful networking opportunities that take place throughout the year.”
Congratulations, Josh! We look forward to having you back on campus this fall and know that your experience this summer will have you well-prepared to excel as you continue your education here.