Aug. 23, 2019 — In addition to a fulltime course load, second-year University of Houston Law Center student Patrick Sears will gain further exposure to public interest law during an externship with the City Attorney's Office in League City.
“I am looking forward to opportunities that continue to develop my research and writing skills by working on authentic legal issues,” he said. “I am particularly interested in learning more about prosecutions for various city code violations and misdemeanors.”
Following his 1L year, Sears participated in four separate work opportunities during his time away from school.
“I learned to manage my time more effectively, pay very close attention to minute details, and seek feedback throughout a particular assignment as opposed to at the end,” he said.
Sears first gained an introduction to public interest law, working in the City Attorney's Office in Missouri City. He helped draft a local ordinance that was passed unanimously by city council.
In his second role, Sears was a teacher and co-administrator of a community summer enrichment program for students from second to ninth grade.
"As a certified teacher, I was able to develop and implement student-centered lessons that appealed to the many different types of learners," Sears said. "Additionally, as a co-administrator of this program, I was able to plan and coordinate many of the activities and learning objectives for fellow educators."
For the next four weeks, Sears served simultaneously as part-time judicial law clerk for Judge Fredericka Phillips of the 61st Civil District Court in Harris County, and as a law clerk for the Rodney Jones Law Group.
"I was able to work closely with Judge Phillips to produce quality legal memoranda and observe court proceedings," Sears said. "At the Rodney Jones Law Group, I was able to continue to develop my legal research and writing skills by drafting client demand letters, negligence petitions and discovery items."
Sears serves as the secretary and treasurer for the Law Center's Black Law Students Association. He said the most impactful class he's taken so far was Property with George Butler Research Professor of Law and UH Energy Fellow Gina Warren.
“I came into contact with many property concepts this summer at the City Attorney’s Office in Missouri City, including zoning, vested rights, platting, and nuisance,” he said. “Property concepts will also be an important part of my current externship with the League City Attorney’s Office.
Adamant in his pursuit to help those around him by advocating for fairness and equality, Sears decided he could make the biggest difference with a law degree.
“As a minority male growing up in one of America’s largest inner cities, I decided that I would not be reduced to a statistic, defined by stereotypes, or limited by the circumstances of my humble origins,” Sears said.
“I want to live in a society where generational poverty and institutional injustice will have significantly less bearing on one’s life chances to be successful.”