Feb. 10, 2020 — With the variety of paths that a legal career offers, second-year University of Houston Law Center student Courtney Crews has taken advantage of several opportunities to bolster her versatility during on-campus interviews hosted by the Career Development Office.
She has already interned with a federal magistrate judge and clerked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. This summer she will return to the civil litigation firm of Donato, Minx, Brown & Pool, P.C. where she has been a part-time law clerk since November.
"I really like what the firm does," Crews said. "Being on the civil side of law will be helpful if I want to go into criminal law. I want to be able to dabble in defense too, and I feel like I will be well-versed in a lot of different areas, and it's important to me to have as much knowledge about different facets of the law."
Part of what attracted Crews to the firm was the opportunity to gain practical experience. So far she has been able to work with motions and discovery among other responsibilities.
"It is a perfect fit for me getting hands-on experience with those aspects of the job," she said. "Whether I have my own practice or work at a firm, I'm really looking forward to just being able to know how to go through documents because it will be so valuable later on."
In her stint as a volunteer law clerk for the U.S. Attorneys' Office, Crews was able to explore public interest work, which was what initially drew her to law school.
"My heart soared during my internship at the U.S. Attorneys' Office," Crews said. "It was interesting and I loved learning how much government branches cooperate with one another. I loved getting to work with the ATF, FBI and TSA."
Working in a judge's chambers also provided a unique experience for Crews, and she recommends fellow law students pursue similar opportunities.
"I really loved working for Judge Edison, who also teaches at the Law Center," she said. "Starting out, I really didn't know much about the process that magistrate judges go through like issuing warrants and detention hearings. He was so friendly and a great teacher. He always wanted interns to learn and gave the moral of the story behind certain cases. Now I feel like I know every step of leading a trial from beginning to end."
Apart from growing up in the Houston area, part of Crews' motivation to pursue a legal education at the Law Center was to provide people with equal access to justice.
"That is key to peace and equality in general," Crews said. "It helps unlock a lot of answers for a lot of the world's issues right now. If you know how to access the court system, that brings a lot of positive change to communities and society. The Law Center is a very diverse community and I really appreciate that. You get a better education when you hear opinions of the class, from all walks of life.
“The faculty and staff want the students to succeed, and that was the most important part of me choosing the Law Center. They really do want me and my classmates to reach our goals, no matter what those are.”