MSU College of Law

Abby L. Barfelz

Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable Carol Mirando, United States Magistrate Judge

2012 | Ft. Myers, FL

Grand Valley State University| B.S.

“East Lansing is a great place to spend three years!”

As a Judicial Law Clerk, I review cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida that have been either assigned to the judge for whom I work, or referred to her by the District Judges.  I read the parties' filings, research the law, make recommendations for resolution of the issues in bench memoranda written to the judge, and draft orders for entry by the Court. Working for the Court is very interesting because it's different every day; no two cases are exactly alike, and there is such a wide range of cases filed in federal courts.  It's also a very rewarding opportunity because it feels like you're truly serving the public.

While in law school, I tried to get as much practical experience as possible by completing internships and externships, and I also participated in the MSU Law Plea & Sentencing Clinic.  Those all allowed me to enter the workforce having developed useful skills that were attractive to employers, as well as great relationships with practicing professionals who would later serve as recommendations.  I'd suggest every student try to enroll in a clinic at MSU Law, or get practical experience in whatever way they are able.  I also joined and eventually served on the Editorial Board of the MSU Law International Law Review, which was extremely helpful because it strengthened my BlueBook and editing skills.

Before you make the decision to attend law school, make sure that you're committed to a career in the law.  Law school is a big commitment, both time-wise and financially, so make sure you do the research and ask questions.  Finally, take advantage of an admitted student day or do a campus visit to MSU, and also take the time to look around. Classes and studying will take up a LOT of your time, but make sure you'll enjoy living there as well because you will be able to do non-law school things, too. East Lansing is a great place to spend three years!