Caleb Piersma, 2L, is an intern for the Hon. L. Steven Grasz of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Omaha, Nebraska. The internship is designed to give law students an insight into what it looks like to clerk for a judge on the appellate level. As an intern, Caleb has the chance to apply various legal concepts and gain experience with research, drafting legal opinions, and presenting recent Supreme Court opinions. 

Caleb took the time to answer a few questions about his experience: 

How did you discover this internship, and what made you want to apply? 

I discovered this opportunity through a connection who had emailed me about the opportunity to intern for Judge Grasz. I wanted to apply because of the great experience of working for a judge and getting exposed to learning as much as I could during my first summer.

How did Drake Law prepare you to serve in this role?

My coursework from Drake Law prepared me well for this internship. Legal Writing was fantastic in preparing me to be able to write concisely and clearly while also being aware of my audience. Legal Research helped prepare me to research effectively and gave me the tools to find the answers to difficult questions. Lastly, Civil Procedure was very useful in understanding the various motions and the different rulings that were rendered in the lower courts.

What does your day-to-day look like?

My day-to-day usually starts off with getting to the office around 8:30 am. Then, I usually get working on my assignments: depending on what is more pressing at the time, I will usually be working on preparing a spading folder for an opinion, reading and giving feedback on a circulating opinion, or helping write an opinion. If there are no tasks related to an opinion, then I will usually be working on a research memo that is on a nuanced area of the law for the judge or reading recent U.S. Supreme Court opinions and briefing them for the judge.

How will this experience impact or shape your plans post-graduation?

I sought out this experience to hopefully help me decide if I’d like to clerk for a judge after law school and if that is something I should strive for. With all the various areas of the law that come up on appeal, I felt that this experience could expose me to a diverse array of practice areas that interest me to give me a better understanding of what areas of the law I enjoy. Furthermore, this experience can help me refine my legal writing skills and learn from some great legal writers.

Learn more about Drake Law’s Career Development Office (CDO) here.