Law Students Extern Abroad
During 2010, Villanova Law students inaugurated a broad spectrum of international externships. During June and July, rising 2Ls Eric Kerchner and Zack Ellis and rising 3Ls Talbot Beck and Justin Miller externed with the Cape Town, South Africa, Human Rights Office of Projects Abroad, a non-profit organization with Law and Human Rights programs in eight countries, as well as other projects around the world. The four Villanovans undertook a wide variety of legal tasks – they represented asylum seekers and other refugees, as well as clients with legal problems involving employment, child support, constitutional rights, access to HIV treatment, education law, government benefits, prisoners’ rights, and criminal defense. The externs met with Parliament members, observed court proceedings, and had extensive experience interviewing clients. Several of the externs also developed and ran anti-violence programs for youth gang members at a juvenile detention center. According to Dana Myers, Director of Project Abroad for South Africa, the Villanova externs’ work was “absolutely remarkable.”
Jaein Park ’11 had an entirely different experience externing at the Korean Constitutional Court. There, Jaein learned first-hand about the Korean judicial system and researched issues as diverse as internet free speech, capital punishment, right of assembly, and adultery, Jaein had the unique opportunity to do in-depth comparative analysis of Korean and American law.
In addition to our international summer externs, our first Villanovan to extern abroad full-time is 3L Emma Chiampou, who is spending the Fall 2010 semester engaged in microfinance legal work with Promypes, a non-profit located in Huancayo, Peru. Under the guidance of microfinance and legal experts, Emma is developing skills that she hopes will prepare her for a career in helping others.
Villanova’s international externships add a dimension to legal education that offers incomparable benefits. Reports Eric Kerchner: “In all, my externship was an outstanding experience. I went to South Africa not knowing what to expect or even what kind of work I would be doing. The wide range of topics, experiences and variety of work I was able to participate in was more than I could have ever hoped for. These experiences exposed me to a world which before this point I had only read about in the classroom. Further, it gave me the opportunity to practice the skills essential to becoming a successful lawyer. Not only did I learn a lot from this externship, but it also helped inspire me to pursue human rights work in the future.”