Miami Law Students Intern at the Florida Supreme Court

More than 90 Miami Law students have participated in the Florida Supreme Court program over the past 20 years. Some went on to clerk for the court after graduation.
Miami Law Students Intern at the Florida Supreme Court
Florida Supreme Court

The Florida Supreme Court Fellows Program provides third-year law students with a unique opportunity to learn about Florida's highest court operation and gain experience as future lawyers and leaders in their communities. 

"The program places our students in the heart of the action at the court," said Rebecca Sharpless, associate dean for experiential learning. "Although they are not technically law clerks for the justices, they come as close to being clerks as possible while still in law school. The experience imparts not only improved research and writing skills but a deep knowledge of the inner workings of the court."

The program engages students with hands-on work experience that cannot be obtained in a classroom setting. It also offers students the ability to apply acquired legal knowledge to the work of the judicial branch and affords the opportunity to network and learn from many state court system professionals. 

"I owe a great deal of my career to the program," said Jorge Perez-Santiago, J.D. '11." It was a great opportunity to learn how to analyze and solve a variety of complex problems without the pressure of billable hours or other corporate dynamics, and it resulted in a clerkship with Justice Labarga. That time in public service was personally and professionally fulfilling and the springboard to my career."

FSC Fellows work as an intern for an individual justice, as a central staff intern working for all the justices, as an intern working for the clerk of court and the administrative justice, or as an intern for the Office of the State Courts Administrator General Counsel. Duties include reviewing and making recommendations on petitions for discretionary review, attorney discipline matters, and extraordinary writ petitions; conducting legal research; and preparing memoranda on pending cases. Fellows can also attend oral arguments; discuss cases with staff attorneys and justices; assist in drafting orders and opinions; and attend various special lectures, group discussions, and training sessions. 

Third-year Savannah Valentine is currently externing at the court and recently accepted an offer to clerk for Third DCA Judge Norma Lindsay after graduation.

"During my time at the Florida Supreme Court, I have had the opportunity to work on cases that substantially impact the state," she said. "Also, the people I've met are not only brilliant, but they are always encouraging and will go out of their way to help you any way they can. It's been a great experience, and I know the skills I learn and the people I meet will stay with me throughout my legal career."

"Miami Law students have had transformative experiences while interning at Florida Supreme Court. Their lives, personally and professionally, have been shaped in important ways by the work they performed, and the relationships they developed, at the Court," said Amy Perez, interim assistant dean of the Office of Career and Professional Development. "The program has also served as a pipeline for judicial clerkships, with a number of graduates going on to clerk for state and federal judges following their internship at the court. Over the years, the program has been a wonderful opportunity for many of Miami Law's best and brightest students."  

Read more about Miami Law’s Florida Supreme Court Fellows Program