Drake Law believes that practical experience is vital to the success of its students. Beatriz Mate-Kodjo, a Drake Law 3L, has taken advantage of numerous opportunities to gain practical experience both domestically and abroad while at Drake.
During the summer after her 1L year and throughout her 2L year, Mate-Kodjo clerked at an immigration and family law firm. The clerkship was motion-intensive and her research focused in large on the intersection of immigration law and state/federal criminal law. The majority of the clients that Mate-Kodjo interacted with spoke Spanish, allowing her to work in a legal setting that required bi-lingual communication.
During Mate-Kodjo’s immigration clerkship, she travelled to Ghana to work at an international law firm as a clerk in the Construction and Infrastructure practice area. Ghana’s legal system recognizes customary law as well as the inherited British Common Law which forced Mate-Kodjo to be creative in her approach to completing and understanding research projects. She stated “I really benefited from the legal research and writing training at Drake. Drake’s program made me learn how to research from different points of reference and with a variety of resources which ultimately prepared me for this experience.”
Elaborating on her experience abroad, Mate-Kodjo explained that “working abroad allowed me to see how lawyers can contribute to globalization and development and gave me an opportunity to familiarize myself with the dynamics of international legal practice.”
Mate-Kodjo has also gained practical experience in the classroom. During her 2L year, she enrolled in Employment Discrimination Litigation taught by Professor Lovell and the Honorable Mark Bennett, U.S. District Judge of the Northern District of Iowa. This class gave Mate-Kodjo the opportunity to argue a summary judgment motion in front of Judge Bennett as well as draft a judicial decision for a case on Judge Bennett’s docket. The material in the class proved very beneficial for Mate-Kodjo as she currently clerks for a civil rights, discrimination, and employment law firm in Des Moines.
“Drake Law School has truly prepared me to hit the ground running both domestically and abroad. The Career Development Office is always readily available to help me prepare for an interview or revise my resume. Additionally, the mentoring I have received from professors and Drake Law alumni that practice in Iowa only reinforces the resources I can access as a Drake Law Student” said Mate-Kodjo of her experience thus far at Drake.