2020 1L Clerkship Program: Advice and Tips

The best advice is always from those who have been there, which is why we asked 2019 TCDIP 1L Clerk Jamison Whiting to share about his experience with the TCDIP 1L Rotation Clerkship Program. Jamison, currently a 2L at the University of Minnesota Law School, spent the 2019 summer working at Faegre Baker Daniels and 3M. Check out his answers to our questions below, and then apply to the 2020 1L Rotation Clerkship positions today!

Brandon Blakely (left) and Jamison Whiting (right) at the 2019 1L Clerk Reception

What prompted you to apply for the TCDIP 1L Rotation Clerkship Program?

TCDIP’s 1L Rotation Clerkship is the premier programming initiative for law students not just in Minnesota, but regionally as well. I was immediately attracted to TCDIP knowing that all the top firms in the state of Minnesota advertised 1L positions through this organization. Word of mouth from trusted mentors in the Minnesota legal field, and the unique programming activities that TCDIP promotes were all reasons why I applied.   

How can 1L students set themselves apart during the application and interview process?

Really, really show why it is you want to be in the Minnesota legal market if you are coming from outside of the state. As Minnesotans, we know how special our community is, but those who may not be as familiar with our hidden gem, having a reason for why you are willing to commit to a life here helps set you apart. Also, genuinely be yourself! Firms want to see who they will be working with not just in the summer, but hopefully beyond the summer as well. Being yourself really shows off the strengths of your own personality and what it would be like having you as a coworker.   

How did working at a firm during your 1L summer contribute to your development as a law student?

Working at Faegre Baker Daniels this summer allowed me to apply the skills we are taught in law school in a practical and real-world way. In contrast to the classroom environment of law school, having the ability to apply what I learned to a legal job helped magnify what I really should be gaining out of my legal education. Having this experience a year ahead of most law students has been extremely helpful. My experience at Faegre and in 3M’s legal department helped clarify both my strengths and areas in which I need to improve to bolster my legal career.  

What aspects of the TCDIP 1L Rotation Clerkship Program did you find the most enriching and rewarding?

Having grown up in the Twin Cities, I thought I knew most of what went on in Minneapolis and St. Paul during the summer. However, experiencing for the first time the legal markets in our communities, I was blown away by the sophisticated legal work that is done here and the welcoming atmosphere of the entire legal field. The summer program at Faegre showcased this top notch legal work while also surrounding us with even better people. The summer program at Faegre not only allowed us to work on national, brand name cases but took the time to foster our relationships with other clerks, staff, and attorneys as well.    

Do you have any networking tips for law students?

It is not hard to be nice! The one thing I believe people tend to forget is that being genuinely kind can take you a long way. Also, don’t forget to do your homework on the people you want to connect with. You can find out a lot of important information about someone with a quick google search or peak at the firm’s bio section. 

What makes the Twin Cities legal community unique? How have you connected with other attorneys of color in the community?

For what we may lack in total numbers, our diverse legal community makes up in quality. The Twin Cities legal community, especially within our diverse communities, is a tight-knit group of individuals that all work in concert to make sure everyone is taken care of. Not only did I connect with attorneys at my own firm, attorneys from other organizations made an effort to reach out. I have to give a grateful shout-out to Alfred Coleman, the Minneapolis managing partner at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, for his dedicated effort in connecting not just myself, but many other aspiring attorneys of color with attorneys of color in the Twin Cities. What makes the Twin Cities community so unique is that there are countless members of our community like Al Coleman that go out of their way to make the Twin Cities such a welcoming place for attorneys of color. I am sure you will have many members of our diverse legal community reach out to you, but don’t be afraid to reach out either.  

What were some of your favorite parts of being in the Twin Cities?

Growing up in Minneapolis I may be a bit biased, but after living on both coasts I can positively say the Twin Cities are unlike no other (especially during the summer)! The Twin Cities combine the best aspects of large city living with easily accessible outdoor activities. Whether you enjoy the late nights of downtown, driving around the lakes on a sunny Sunday morning, or touring one of the hundreds of breweries the Twin Cities have something for everyone. 

Do you have any other advice for current 1L students?

It is okay to be 100% emphatically yourself in every situation. A legal career, especially to those where the law is unfamiliar, is not something to be feared but embraced. Be yourself and enjoy the journey you are headed on. We all are privileged to be pursuing a legal education. And when it comes time to reach back down the ladder and help those who were once in your position don’t forget to lend a hand. 

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