Duke in D.C. expands in spring 2010 semester to DOJ’s Civil Rights Division

October 21, 2009Duke Law News

Oct. 20, 2009 — The Duke in D.C. externship program will expand in the spring 2009 semester to include two distinct externship tracks, one focusing on the federal policy process, and the other on federal civil rights law and policy.

Enrollment for the spring Duke in D.C. externships closes Oct. 31. Contact assistant deans Tia Barnes ’03 or Anne Sherman for more information. Information relating to housing options in Washington also is available.

The Federal Policy Process program will place six to eight law students in externships on Capitol Hill in the personal offices of members of Congress, on the staffs of Senate and House Committees, or with organizations that engage in government liaison and lobbying work for nonprofit and for-profit organizations. Professor Christopher Schroeder, President Barack Obama’s nominee to serve as head of the Office of Legal Policy in the Department of Justice, and Sen. Ted Kaufman, D-Del., will supervise the externship placements and teach the companion course on the federal policy process.

The Examining Federal Civil Rights Law & Policy program will place six to eight law students in externships in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and with other civil rights organizations in the federal and nonprofit sectors. Margaret Hu ’00, a special policy counsel in the Civil Rights Division, and Professor H. Jefferson Powell will supervise the externship placements and teach the companion course called “Examining Federal Civil Rights Law & Policy.” Powell has served as deputy assistant attorney general and principal deputy solicitor general in the U.S. Department of Justice.

According to Schroeder, who founded Duke in D.C. in the spring 2009 semester, the program is designed to expose students to the reality of working in the public sector as a way of encouraging them to consider including public service in their professional careers.

Having interned in the Civil Rights Division during her 2L summer through the DOJ’s Summer Law Intern Program, and returned through the Attorney General’s Honors Program following her clerkship with Judge Rosemary Barkett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, Hu is certain externships within the Division’s 10 sections will do just that — offer students substantive work experience, generate useful career contacts, and introduce them to a wealth of career possibilities within the Department of Justice.

“It’s a great place to work and a great place for a long-term career,” said Hu, now Special Policy Counsel in the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices.

Troy Stock ’10 was a member of the inaugural Federal Policy Process class taught by Schroeder and Kaufman in the spring 2009 semester. His externship in office of Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, during the spring 2009 semester led to a summer position and “re-awakened” his longstanding interest in public service.

“The Duke in D.C. program has been by far the highlight of law school for me,” he said. “I plan on returning to the Hill after graduation, and the experience I now have, coupled with the contacts I made during my time in D.C., will help my career immensely.”

The spring 2010 placements follow a successful fall program focused on federal financial regulatory reform under the oversight of Professors James Cox and Lawrence Baxter. Twelve students are currently working in congressional offices and agencies in and out of government involved in different aspects from financial regulation, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Financial Services Roundtable.

His externship with the House Committee on Financial Services, chaired by Rep. Barney Frank, has put Tim O’Shea ’10 at the epicenter of congressional efforts to reform the financial regulatory system.

“I’ve been working on issues pertaining to the regulation of hedge funds, credit-rating agencies, derivatives, and reform of securitization practices — basically the full gamut of issues that arose from the financial crisis of last fall. It’s been some very exciting work,” said O’Shea, who counts working in the financial services industry as a long-term career possibility. “This is one of those times when very important and comprehensive legislation [is likely to get] passed. So understanding it comprehensively can only help me going forward.” The class meshes both with his work and his interests, he adds. “We’re talking about the theory of regulation as regulation happens, so it fits well.”