Career Profiles

Nolan Chandler ‘17

Judicial Extern, California Court of Appeal


Nolan Chandler ‘17

What did you do last summer?
I was a judicial extern for the California Court of Appeal. I researched and drafted memos for the judge to use in his final opinions. In fact, two of my memos were used in opinions. In preparation of completing a memo, I started my mornings by reviewing cases. Then I read the applicable law and briefs drafted by the parties. With each draft I wrote, the judicial clerks gave me independent feedback on my work and noted things that needed to be corrected. Once the memo was complete, the judge reviewed it and decided on whether he wished to use it in his opinion.

What excited you most about your job?
The most exciting part was receiving feedback on my work. I enjoyed working as a part of the judicial process. I particularly enjoyed watching oral arguments from practicing attorneys because it was interesting seeing professionals perform the same style of arguments I learned during moot court competition.

How did you find the position?
Originally, I wanted to join a firm in Riverside, but I was told that the firm did not take 1Ls. So I decided to pursue a judicial externship. My brother interned at the Court of Appeals before, so he was connected to the court staff. Through my brother, I was granted an interview for the judicial extern position.

How did your education and experience at Whittier Law School prepare you for this position?
Drafting the appellate brief in Lawyering Skills taught and prepared me for the work in the court. Also, my understanding of the 1L substantive law topics helped because I worked on cases involving property and contract law. With an understanding of the substantive law, I had a fundamental background understanding of the legal principles involved and the terminology used.

Do you have any advice for students seeking employment in this particular industry?
I think that students will get more out of a judicial externship if you are further along in your legal education. Also, be sure to dress appropriately because it would be disrespectful to the court if an extern or attorney did not follow the dress code. Last, keep an open mind because you may receive unexpected feedback. Externs thrive best when they leave their egos at the door.