Antony Thomassian, a recent graduate of the JD program, completed two externships during his 4L year. His first externship was with the Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County’s Domestic Violence Clinic located at the San Fernando Courthouse. As an extern, he assisted litigants by providing information about the procedure for obtaining temporary restraining orders and drafting declarations detailing the domestic abuse. While Antony quickly learned that many of his fellow externs found it difficult to hear about the specific details of abuse suffered by the litigants, he believed that hearing the litigants’ stories motivated him to “help fix the problems.” Reflecting back on his externship at the Domestic Violence Clinic, Antony found it to be an invaluable experience, as well as a gratifying one. “When they come in, they seem helpless. In the end, they are educated,” says Antony of the litigants he assisted.
Eager to obtain more real-world experience, Antony decided to extern with Neighborhood Legal Services once again, this time at the San Fernando Self-Help Center, where he was exposed to a broader spectrum of legal issues, primarily in the areas of family and housing law. His responsibilities included providing assistance to litigants in completing forms and pleadings in matters ranging from dissolution of marriage to unlawful detainers. Antony was able to rely upon knowledge gained from two law school courses completed prior to his externship. LAW 5132 Community Property enabled him to assist litigants in identifying items as separate or community property on their Declarations of Assets and Debts in divorce cases. Likewise, Antony found the terms and concepts he learned from LAW 5171 Real Estate Transactions helpful in dealing with unlawful detainers.
As a result of his externship experiences at the Domestic Violence Clinic and the San Fernando Self-Help Center, Antony feels better prepared to work with litigants and is now more comfortable using California court forms. According to Antony, LAW 5198 is a great way to escape from general book work and obtain real world experience: “There’s no class that can compare,” he says.