Externship Profile: Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts

The Externship Program at Charleston Law is an opportunity to obtain knowledge outside the classroom in addition to networking in other states. This summer Ashley Kelly, a 3L student gained first-hand experience at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington D.C.

Serving the federal judiciary in carrying out equal justice under law, the AO is responsible for a broad range of administrative duties, specifically providing support counsel to the Judicial Conference and implementing their policies, applicable federal statutes and regulations.

“For me personally, working for the federal government is the ultimate form of public service and very fitting for the Charleston School of Law’s foundation of “Pro Bono Populi: for the good of the people,” said Kelly.

The opportunity was both rewarding and interactive, as Kelly drafted letters for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to eventually sign, analyzed proposed legislation affecting the bankruptcy system in respect to constitutional and procedural issues, attended House and Senate hearings involving the federal judiciary, and worked on reports submitted to the U.S. Judicial Conference, as well as legal memorandum distributed to all federal magistrate judges.

During her time as an extern, Kelly was able to attend the International Judicial Relations Committee meeting. “While at the meeting I was able to meet federal judges and hear about their experiences working with international judiciaries to promote the rule of law abroad.”

Kelly said she built practical skills and confidence in her writing and analytical ability through the projects and responsibilities throughout the externship. “My favorite part of working at the AO was knowing that the input I gave was valued and I was being taken seriously as a member of the team instead of ‘just an intern,’” reflected Kelly. “The externship confirmed my desire to work in public service.”

“The mentorship was amazing,” she said. “I could not have asked for better supervisors and would love to work there in the future.”

Kelly is open to all areas of law but knows that ultimately she wants to work in public service, either with a non-profit or with the local, state or federal government.

Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in biology at The College of William and Mary. At Charleston Law, she is an Articles Editor and Associate Symposium Editor of the Charleston Law Review, as well as the Treasurer of National Security Law Society. She also works as a Legal Writing Senior Fellow and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem. She spends her spare time with friends and swimming.

This summer, Charleston School of Law students are at 22 exciting externships sites helping the community. Since fall 2006, Charleston School of Law students have completed approximately 97,420 externship hours. The externship course is offered during the fall, spring and summer terms. For more information please contact Professor Jim Klein or Autumn Jones.

By: Kat Drerup, Communications Coordinator