Mark Morgan

Mark MorganClass of 2016

Washington State Court of Appeals, Division One

What type of law do you currently practice?

I am currently in my first of two years clerking at the Court of Appeals. As a law clerk, I spend most of my time performing legal research, writing, and analysis on a wide-range of legal issues. I also review records of cases to determine whether they support the facts of the case; review cited authority; prepare prehearing memoranda, summarizing the facts of the case and authority cited, with conclusions and comment; attend oral argument for cases coming before the court; and assist the judge in preparing judicial opinions supporting the decisions of the court.

What did you do before law school and what led you to pursue a law degree?

Before law school I attended the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in American Ethnic Studies in 2012. I wanted to make a difference and advocate for people that are either under-represented or have been wronged. As lawyers, we are in a position to make a difference.

What law school experiences helped you establish your current career?

I strongly encourage law students to do at least one full-time externship! I was a full-time extern for a judge at the court of appeals for fall semester of my 3L year. Before my externship, clerking was not really on my radar. But as an extern I got to experience what it is like to work at an appellate court, why it would make a great job, and, most importantly, I got a head start on building my professional reputation.

Before my externship at the court, I participated in a Rule 9 externship with the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office. As a Rule 9 Extern I litigated criminal misdemeanor trials, including voir dire, opening statement, examining witnesses, and closing argument.

Describe how the skills and/or knowledge you gained in law school help you in your day-to-day work.

The Legal Writing Program at Seattle University is second to none. The skills I learned — the ability to perform effective legal research, to write a concise analysis, to proofread, and to understand the purpose of my legal work product — have been invaluable.

Although Seattle U is a large law school, I can say that I remember nearly everyone that I went to law school with. It is a true community and I often run into other alumni around downtown Seattle.

What advice would you give to prospective or current students?

For prospective students: You never know until you ask! I was not sure if law school was for me, or if I even had what it took to get in, but you never know until you visit, ask questions, and apply. Never be afraid to ask current students and alums what their experience was like and what tools help you in law school.

For current students: Participate in a full-time externship! I did my full semester externship in fall semester of 3L year because I wanted to be in school for the spring to be ready for bar prep. Externships are a great way to get your name out there and, if you came into law school with little to no professional experience in the legal industry, externships are a great way to add to your resume.

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