Summer Experience: Ella Bishop ’24L Ella Bishop spent her summer as a judicial intern for Judge Lucy Inman at the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Justice Samuel Ervin IV at the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Ella Bishop ‘24L is originally from Des Moines, IA, and attended Wake Forest University for her undergraduate degree, where she majored in history and minored in English. Outside of classes, Ella enjoys Broadway, dance, and reading historical fiction.
What did you do for work this summer?
This summer, I split my time as a judicial intern for Judge Lucy Inman at the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Justice Samuel Ervin IV at the North Carolina Supreme Court.
How did you find/get this position?
I knew going into Summer 2022 that I wanted to intern for a judge and would like to stay in North Carolina. Therefore, I began by researching all the judges in the state and assembling their information. I then proceeded to “cold message” the various chambers by mailing my cover letter, resume, and references. After a couple of weeks, I began receiving responses from chambers, and I would send any further information they might need. Eventually, I was able to arrange interviews, and from there, I was offered my two positions. Luckily enough, the two chambers were in close enough proximity that I was able to arrange for a split summer.
Describe your work experience.
My tasks ranged from reviewing petitions for certiorari to reviewing clerks’ work to drafting a majority opinion. However, the bulk of my work was spent on “bench briefs” (internal briefs for the Judge), which assess cases scheduled to be orally argued. In these briefs, I assessed parties’ arguments, presented legal research about the issue, and gave a recommendation as to how I think the court should decide.
What were some skills you developed this summer?
Over the summer, I was able to improve my legal research and writing as well as my analytical skills. Since most of my work was evaluating cases to be heard on appeal, I focused on researching relevant legal issues and drafting briefs. Over the course of the summer, my ability to research issues and present them in a clear and concise manner greatly improved. I was able to gradually develop strong analytical skills, which allowed me to evaluate whether an argument is well founded or ineffective.
What surprised you about the work you did this summer?
I was surprised at the sheer amount of work that goes into preparing for and deciding each case. Through my internships, I was able to be a part of each stage of a case’s life on appeal. From the initial readings to briefing for oral arguments to drafting the opinion to the final cite checks, it was astounding the amount of work each member of chambers puts into a case. Seeing this process firsthand made me appreciate the dedication the judiciary has to upholding the law and making fair decisions.
What was your favorite aspect of this summer work experience?
My favorite aspect of my time this summer was being able to work alongside so many amazing clerks and judges. The chambers I worked for were highly supportive and always there to answer my questions or walk me through any number of legal issues. Also, they readily went out of their way to give me opportunities to enhance my learning experience, such as taking me to oral arguments and giving me personal tours around the court. The people I worked with this summer made my internship a truly great one.
Has this experience helped you figure out post graduate plans, and if so, how?
As of right now, I am still undecided as to what I would like to do following law school. While my internships this summer did not elucidate a concrete plan going forward, I was able to discover that I have a higher inclination toward civil law over criminal law. Compared to the other cases I worked on, the civil cases presented more challenging legal issues and were diverse in terms of subject matter, which I found to be very enjoyable.
How do you think this experience will shape the rest of your time at W&L Law?
My experiences this summer have instilled in me a newfound confidence in my legal skills, which I believe will carry through into my academic and extracurricular work at W&L. Prior to the start of my internships, I felt insecure about the strength of my legal skills. I had never worked in a legal setting before and was nervous about applying what I learned in 1L year to a professional setting. All my nerves, however, vanished when I entered chambers. In that moment, the metaphorical “training wheels” came off, and I was charged with tasks that I needed to get done. Slowly but surely, through each completed assignment, I was able to enhance my skills, attack difficult issues and turn in strong work products in a timely manner. I believe that this confidence will help immensely when approaching assignments from class, the projects I undertake as a research assistant, and the Moot Court competitions. These internships taught me how to approach challenging legal issues and produce a work product worthy of being read by a judge.
Outside of Law School
“Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee
Favorite thing to do in Lexington
Go to Hull’s Drive-In
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