Susan Zuiderveen is a third-year Cooley student serving on an externship. This is the third post in Susan’s series.
Because I would like to develop more confidence and knowledge regarding court documents, I made learning about court paperwork and the paper process one of the goals to work towards in my externship. My field supervisor and I worked to put together a research project that will help me accomplish this goal. The project requires me to pull files and extrapolate specific information that would be helpful to her regarding what issues were appealed into a report. This project allows me to search for the files in their system, work on their computer system and work through the documents to find the information. This has been a great way to become more familiar with the paper process in many aspects. This project is also helping me become more acquainted with documents from the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court as well.
An externship is a great place to try to develop knowledge in the areas you feel the least competent and knowledgeable about before actually working with clients as an attorney. I felt uncomfortable choosing an area I knew the least about and then asking my field supervisor to give me a project in this area. I was afraid that my lack of knowledge would make me look incompetent in her eyes if I had to ask questions on how to or where to find information. But the best way to learn is to jump in and do it. This type of project is exactly what I need to accomplish my goal and feel more confident. Everyone has been very helpful, and I was surprised to discover how much I really do know and how prepared I was for this type of research!