For 3L law student Hunt Whaley, real-world legal education means being on the front lines of law and politics. After a motorcycle accident in Micronesia in 1998, Whaley has been interested in personal injury litigation, and through a variety of externships and internships, he has explored both litigation defense and local political opportunities for new lawyers.
Building Political Experience
While the Spokane City Attorney’s office is Whaley’s latest externship placement, it is not his first in government work. At the end of his 1L year, Whaley externed for the U.S. District courts in Spokane, and over his 2L summer, he worked with the 4 civilian attorneys in Oahu, Hawaii, helping keep the NAVY in compliance with all operations in the Pacific Ocean.
Taking an Active Role in the City
Whaley has been working at the Spokane City Attorney’s office for his Fall 2012 externship, describing the experience as “an invaluable opportunity to witness city government operate, with the help of City Attorneys looking out for its best interests.” While working at the City Attorney’s Office, Whaley was “involved directly in the processes at work effecting its policy, laws and overall direction.”
A Chance to Create Change
Whaley worked on a multitude of headline-grabbing city topics, such as the city’s response to recreational marijuana legalization, alternative revenue streams to save firefighter and police jobs, and protecting real estate values in a declining economy. At one point, Whaley researched and personally presented at a meeting between the City Council President and a Spokane non-profit organization on a possible new ordinance he had been working on.
Explains Whaley, “Really in my whole scheme of governmental legal work experiences this externship offered the most exciting look at how working in the legal profession can bring you as close as anyone short of political office gets to affecting policy in their home town.”
Update, January 2013
In the beginning of 2013, Whaley was offered a full-time position as an Assistant City Attorney for the City of Spokane, beginning in October after Bar Exam pass results have been returned. “It is a huge honor for me to have the position, and I am truly grateful & thrilled to have the opportunity.” explains a very excited Whaley.