Out there

Through externships, students gain real-life, hands-on professional experience

The walls of the School of Law expand far beyond the Philip H. Corboy Law Center to encompass judicial chambers, museums, nonprofits, sports teams and more. Through Loyola Law’s externship program, students fan out across the city and country, gaining invaluable career experience under the direct supervision of a judge or attorney. Supervising faculty attorneys provide further support and guidance.

Below, five students share their externship experiences. One thing they all agree on? The tremendous benefit of hands-on fieldwork. “I feel like I’m a sponge just absorbing information,” says Noor Abdelfattah, a 2L. “I’m learning so much.”

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Noor Abdelfattah, 2L

Federal judicial externship with a Northern District of Illinois (NDIL) judge; externship with the NDIL Federal Defender Program

“It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and hear what federal defense work is. It’s a completely different experience actually doing the work, meeting with clients, and having that direct exposure.”

Noor Abdelfattah follows a mantra: Stay open to opportunity. By heeding this motto, Abdelfattah discovered her interest in governmental work. “During my first externship, one of the judges hosted a weekly summer speaker series,” Abdelfattah says. “It wasn’t mandatory, but it was a great way to learn from different people in the system, like prosecutors, judges, and federal defenders.” The latter piqued Abdelfattah’s interest, and she decided to apply for the NDIL Federal Defender Program externship.

In this role, Abdelfattah conducts interviews, observes court proceedings, and drafts motions and memos. Each of these responsibilities allows Abdelfattah to learn more about what it entails to be a federal defender, and the positive impact she can make. “I have a deeper purpose now,” she says. “It’s not just about excelling in law school—it’s about making the world better.”

Jeni Siegel, 3L

Externship with the Cook County Office of the Public Guardian; externship with the Office of the State Appellate Defender

“Externships are a great time to try something new, see if it fits your interests, meet new people, learn about different types of law, and get real-world experience that’s going to be applicable in pretty much anything you do later on.”

A common thread runs through Jeni Siegel’s externships. Whether discerning the needs of youth in foster care, advocating for clients before a judge, or calling a client who was incarcerated to share news about his appeal process, Siegel is learning to communicate thoughtfully, precisely, and compellingly.

And these aren’t merely verbal exercises. She brings these enhanced communication skills to her legal writing as well. At the Public Guardian’s office, Siegel collaborated with attorneys on appellate briefs, and she enjoyed it so much that she applied for an externship at the State Appellate Defender’s office.

“I’m learning how to construct arguments, be persuasive, and share the defendant’s story in a way that will reach the court,” she says. “It’s been an incredibly helpful crash course in legal writing.”

Anokhi Manchanda, 2L

Externship with the General Counsel of the Chicago Blackhawks

“It was fun to attend games and see the signage for corporate sponsorships whose agreements I had helped prepare.”

Anokhi Manchanda parlayed a summer internship with the Chicago Blackhawks into a fall externship, making her the first Loyola Law student to secure an externship with the NHL team. As a member of the in-house counsel team, Manchanda says she helped the small-but-mighty department run efficiently and effectively. She drafted independent contractor agreements for the band that played at halftime, disseminated publicity waivers, reviewed corporate sponsorships, and tackled 11 years of contract review for the mascot, Tommy Hawk.

The role required strategic thinking and a collaborative mindset. “I worked with so many different departments, like social media, marketing, and human resources,” Manchanda says. “I was exposed to things we hadn’t discussed in law school, like influencer agreements.”

In addition to the legal skills she developed, Manchanda is especially grateful for the relationships she formed as an extern. “I’m a first-generation law student, and I had imposter syndrome,” she says. “But my supervisors really empowered me. They were the best mentors you could ever ask for.”

Hayley Yussman, 4L, Weekend JD Program

Judicial externship with the Illinois Appellate Court; externship with the Office of the State Appellate Defender

“These externships really give you a chance to explore, first of all, the areas of law that you’re interested in, but they also show you whether that area of law is compatible with what you’re seeking in a work environment.”

Thanks to Hayley Yussman’s externships, she’s been able to learn about “two sides of the same coin”—the coin being appellate work. As a judicial extern with the Illinois Appellate Court in fall 2023, Yussman drafted appellate orders deciding whether trial court decisions should be affirmed or reversed. Then, for spring 2024, Yussman joined the Office of the State Appellate Defender, where she drafts appellate briefs and motions for convicted people who cannot afford private representation.

Yussman gained confidence in her abilities through her externships and feels more qualified to pursue a career in the appellate field. “I’m putting my skills into practice in real-life scenarios,” she says. “It’s truly a hands-on learning experience.”

Kerry Kasper, 2L

Externship with RFK Human Rights; judicial extern with the Illinois Appellate Court; federal judicial externship (forthcoming)

“As someone who has worked as an investigative journalist for a long time, I thought I knew [how to conduct] detailed investigations. But it was a whole new world to work with these huge records at the Illinois Appellate Court.”

With bylines in the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as a full-time position in communications at RFK Human Rights, Kerry Kasper entered law school with strong writing and research chops. Through her externships, however, Kasper learned how to deploy those skills in the legal arena.

She didn’t have to venture far for her first externship; Kasper joined the International Litigation Department at RFK Human Rights, where she researched the plight of imperiled female journalists around the globe—a cause close to her heart.

Next, Kasper worked on a single long opinion as an extern on the Illinois Appellate Court. “I was taking Legal Writing III at the same time, so that was really helpful and interesting in terms of how to approach and distill issues,” she says.

Later this year, Kasper will begin her third externship, with a federal judge she admires. “I hope to do more opinion writing,” she says. “There are a lot of commonalities with journalism—you’re dealing with the news of the day, and you’re taking a very even-handed approach.”—Kelsey Schagemann (February 2024)

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Loyola University Chicago School of Law is a student-focused law center inspired by the Jesuit tradition of academic excellence, intellectual openness, and service to others.


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