Clerking for the EEOC Nikolaus Smith '23L spent the fall semester as a judicial extern for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Nikolaus Smith ‘23L is from Port Deposit, Maryland. He graduated in 2019 from Hood College, where he received a B.A. in Business Administration and Political Science. After college, he worked as a Social Media Research Analyst at Bank of America in Baltimore, Maryland. At W&L, he is a Lead Articles Editor on the Washington and Lee Law Review and a member of the International Law Society. In his free time, Nikolaus likes to read, exercise, watch movies, and play with his cat, Archer.
Where did you work this fall?
I externed at the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Philadelphia, PA.
How did you secure this externship?
I found a posting for judicial externs within the EEOC’s Hearings Unit on the Agency’s website and sent in my application materials.
Describe your work experience and daily schedule.
My externship was actually virtual because of COVID, so my experience was a bit different than others in the Working in Law Full Time Program. I stuck with a set schedule every day and would have meetings with my judge a few times a week. I was doing all of the basic roles of a judicial clerk, so I was researching for and writing on various issues that arose with my judge, attending hearings, mediations, pre-trial conferences, and other litigation proceedings, and working with a co-clerk.
What are some skills you developed this fall?
My legal research and writing skills improved a lot, and I learned more about litigation from having more of a first-hand experience behind the bench.
What surprised you about the work you did during your externship?
It was really neat seeing how much of a foundational connection you can make with a judge when you are clerking for them, and I think I was really surprised at how much trust my judge had in me.
What was your favorite aspect of your fall experience?
I was able to stay with my family (who lives close to Philly), so it was nice seeing them and hanging out with my nieces.
Has this experience helped you figure out your post graduate plans, and if so how?
It helped to solidify my interest in litigation.