Lovel Tokic, 3L student and Thomas More scholar, has taken this summer to push himself outside his comfort zone. Tokic has been spending his summer externship in Bethel, AK working for the Bethel Public Defenders’ Agency. “I like pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, so I can learn more about myself. I figured heading out to the western edge of Alaska would be a memorable experience, and I was right,” he said.
A Chance to Gain Confidence and Experience
Externships are intended as a chance for students to gain real-world experience in legal work, and the Alaska Student Lawyer rule is broad. The broad rule allows Tokic and his fellow interns to do extensive work in district court. “I’ve made a lot of mistakes this summer, but I’ve made an effort to make a note of my mistakes and learn from them,” explains Tokic. “My confidence has grown with each passing week.”
Taking Bold Steps
The choice of Alaska is one that Tokic made for himself. While the summer spent in the Yukon-Kuskokwin Delta may seem like a bold move, for Tokic it’s the latest step in a long history of helping serve the community. Born in Split, Croatia, Tokic’s family immigrated Takoma Park, MD in the 1990’s. After graduating undergrad in the University of San Diego, Tokic spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps working with the Public Justice Center as a Legal Assistant.
As a Thomas More scholar, doing extensive work in public service has been a big part of the Gonzaga Law experience. This enthusiasm for public service comes through in Tokic’s answer to the question of what he wants to do after law school: “Public defender. How could I do anything else?” Tokic continues, “The clients I work with here in Bethel (and from the surrounding villages) have given me much more than I could ever give them.”
The Importance of Experiential Learning
At Gonzaga Law, summer externships are a full-time opportunity to gain real-world experience in legal work. Some students opt for a full-semester, full-time distance externship during the year, while others work in part-time externships while attending other classes. Externships and internships have proven so valuable, that the requirement for experiential learning has been increased to 6 credits for 3 year students and 12 credits for Accelerated J.D. students.