Sept. 15, 2021 - Kirsten Williams has her sights set on a career in the federal government, and she’s one step closer to her goal having recently secured a federal clerkship with Judge Andrew Edison, U.S. Magistrate Judge for the Southern District of Texas - Galveston Division.
The clerkship with Judge Edison will offer Williams, a third-year University of Houston Law Center student, insight into the inner-workings of a courtroom - an experience Williams said she has missed out on because of the pandemic.
Not only will she finally have an opportunity to observe courtroom proceedings in-person, but Williams will also have a chance to, “interact daily with a judge and see his impressions of attorneys that come before him in court, to hear what’s effective or not effective, and see how he interprets issues.”
Williams first interacted with Edison, an adjunct professor at the Law Center, through an event where he served as a guest judge. She said she was impressed by his humor, kindness, and fairness. She noted he seemed like a good person to work with.
When a role opened to clerk in Edison’s chambers, Williams didn’t think twice before applying.
“He has such a great personality and he’s really well-respected in the Houston legal community,” she said.
Williams, a Chicago native, began her professional life in the editorial industry after graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in journalism. While her husband was attending law school, Williams saw what he was doing and learning and “realized there was a lot of crossover in the skills between both fields.”
“In journalism, you’re writing a lot, researching, and editing. It’s the same with the law, it’s just a different output,” said Williams, who is now the Chief Articles Editor of the Houston Law Review.
“With journalism, you’re supposed to remain objective and not take a side. That’s great for journalism, but I sometimes felt like I wanted to take a side. I want to be able to advocate for someone, to help someone out directly.”
That realization led Williams to pursue a career in public service. As an aspiring attorney in the public interest sector, Williams has worked as a Volunteer Law Clerk in the Appellate Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas, completed a judicial internship with Chief U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal, and most recently interned in the Appellate Section of the Office of Immigration Litigation in the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
“During my experience in law school, I’ve been overwhelmed with how supportive attorneys that I’ve worked with in internships have been,” Williams said. “I really appreciate the effort they put into either reaching out to people on my behalf for recommendations or to just talk to me about my trajectory and about jobs.
“That’s just been incredibly helpful, and I’m really thankful for all those people who’ve helped me with this path,” Williams said.