It would be hard to put a price on the value of an externship.
But the city of Henderson, Nevada, was able to do exactly that.
This summer the city saved $22,000 in outside litigation fees — thanks to the work of third-year Gonzaga Law student Andres Moses.
Moses worked alongside an intern from the nearby William S. Boyd School of Law on an important water litigation case.
“After a few assignments,” Moses says, “one of the city attorneys approached us about this ongoing water litigation that had been going on between the City of Henderson and a private company that owns two golf courses in Lake Las Vegas.
“They asked if we wanted to help, and we said sure. When you’re an extern, you never decline anything. You accept all challenges. The next thing we knew we were consumed with a lot of work.”
He and his intern counterpart took part in the discovery process. That involved combing through around 10,000 electronic documents that would help establish the legal underpinnings of the case.
“Our job was to take a question and go through the documents to find what is responsive to that question. For instance, if there was a question that involved raw water, they wanted to know everything that related or referred to raw water.”
“It really is a tedious, time-consuming task, but it’s good experience,” he says. “In law school, you learn about the discovery process in less than a week, but you don’t know the technical things that go into it.”
Moses says an externship is valuable for learning where your interests lie — as well as where they don’t.
“Water litigation may not be my particular interest after all this,” he laughs. “But as far as learning the process, responding to requests for productions, the whole discovery part, I enjoyed it.”
“It was really satisfying after two years of law school to go out into the real world and do something meaningful and real. You can’t replace that type of experience.”
He and his colleague were later awarded with a special commendation from Andy Hafen, mayor of Henderson, for the work they performed and the private counsel costs they avoided.