Law school classes offer an academic view of the law, and provide valuable learning experiences. However, there is so much more to the practice of law and the administration of justice that cannot be learned in the classroom. This past week, I had the pleasure of participating in the orientation for the Judicial Externship Program. In these past two weeks, I feel like I’ve learned more that will be of practical application in my career than I have in the rest of my law school experience.
Throughout the past two weeks, I’ve sat in on many provincial court proceedings. Since I didn’t participate in any clinical programs throughout law school, I am unfamiliar with the processes of court. Having the opportunity to observe and understand the day-to-day activities of a court registry has been enlightening.
I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about and watch Downtown Community Court and Drug Treatment Court in action. I didn’t know that either of these programs existed before learning about them through externship, and found them to both be refreshing approaches to the traditional court format.
Taking a break from the classroom and participating in the externship program is sure to be an education in how the judiciary works and in how justice is administered. I would encourage law students to apply for the unique programs available to them in third year, or to at least take the opportunity to sit in on court proceedings and better understand what law looks like outside of the classroom.