School of Law Regional Externship Program Launches in Houston
Since its rollout in Dallas and Fort Worth two years ago, the Regional Externship Program has expanded to Austin, San Antonio and now to Houston this fall. Five rising 3Ls were selected for the inaugural Houston semester, and five were placed in Dallas and Fort Worth.
The Houston externs are working under supervision at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, 221st District Court Judge Lisa Michalk (‘91), Fourteenth Court of Appeals and the Houston Immigration Court.
As an extern with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Houston native Justin Foster (‘15) is learning from some of the state’s top prosecutors. “With three law schools already established in the Houston area, my representation of Texas Tech Law through our externship program is a great opportunity to break into the market,” said Foster. “I’m honored to be a part of this first Houston group.”
Plans are underway for the Houston program to supplement the law school’s energy-law curriculum. Houston is home to several major oil-and-gas companies, making it an ideal location for students to gain valuable experience in that practice area.
In addition, the DFW metroplex welcomed externs this fall at the Fort Worth Court of Appeals with Justice Sue Walker (‘86) and Chief Justice Terrie Livingston, Children’s Medical Center, Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas and the 7-Eleven Corporation. Aside from 7-Eleven, which is a new placement this year, all of this semester’s Dallas and Fort Worth organizations have participated in the program before and elected to participate again.
Ericka Hightower, Supervising Attorney in the Housing, Consumer Protection, and Economic Benefit Division of Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, was thrilled to accept another Texas Tech Law extern this fall.
“Within Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas, Texas Tech externs have become somewhat of a brand, a brand demonstrating exceptional work product and commitment to learning. It is well known amongst our attorneys that Texas Tech students rise above the rest,” she said. “The program is also exceptional thanks to the outstanding leadership offered by Professor Dustin Benham, Dean Dickerson, and Corey Clem. They make this program ‘no-hassle’ for the placement firms, which could not be more appreciated.”
“Externs continue to rate this program as a positive and transformative experience,” said Dean Dickerson. “They get to integrate into their field placement, the Tech Law alumni community, and the greater legal community. We know from experience that the program allows them to gain valuable skills and to establish contacts that will help them not only start their careers, but will benefit them for years to come.”