Oct. 30, 2019 - On just the second day of her legal internship, Amanda Blons found herself assisting Sara Richey ’10, partner at the Richey Law Firm, during a trial.
Blons, a 2L at the University of Houston Law Center, received a variety of practical training over the summer as part of the Apprentice Program.
"There's a level of hands-on experience that's unmatched with the program," Blons said. "Through talking to my peers, I don't think that there were too many people that had quite the same experience as I did. Getting the real life experience was really valuable."
The Apprentice Program is an initiative offered by the Career Development Office. By participating, a firm can hire a law clerk at a reduced cost while providing meaningful, real-world experience to a law student. It is designed to meet the needs of law firms with four or fewer attorneys. Funds for the Apprentice Program come from the Dean's Society.
During trials Blons sat at the Table with Richey, serving in a similar role to second chair. She was able to experience the voir dire process of selecting a jury, researched case law, and helped formulate arguments. Blons spent time in court handling administrative duties like resetting cases, negotiating with prosecutors and in some instances transferring clients from one court to another. She also worked on cases involving employment discrimination and the increase in gambling game rooms in the Houston area.
Blons credited her experience as a member of the mock trial team for helping her stay prepared for a variety of situations.
“Early on, Sara looked at me and said: 'Hey, if the judge will let you argue this, do you want to?' I wasn't completely frozen in fear at that opportunity, because I had the experience and I knew how to carry myself and speak in the courtroom,” she said.
Part of what drew Blons to the Law Center was her strong belief in a person’s right to counsel.
"I have a passion and belief that no matter who you are, where you come from or how much money you have, you deserve the best legal representation you can get," Blons said.
Blons said taking a Juvenile Representation class with adjunct professor Judge Dena Fisher and Professor Katya Dow may provide long-term inspiration for her career.
“I definitely like criminal defense,” Blons said. “I absolutely love the Juvenile Representation course. I could definitely see myself practicing this immediately upon graduation.
“I knew that the Law Center was going to provide the most opportunities and open the most doors for me. Regardless of what type of law I decide to practice, it's always best to have as many opportunities as possible.”