Welcome to our Clerk’s Corner page! Before starting our careers in law, we all at one point had a clerkship at a law firm, with a judge, or an externship. Through those experiences we were able to carve our own unique paths into the legal field. We thought we would share those experiences and even invite some of our former Woodnick Law clerks to share their experiences too.
Managing Parnter, Woodnick Law
I clerked for Allen Bickart in Phoenix. I spent the summer and into the next year of law school writing motions and doing research. The internet was in its infancy and essentially useless. I used the law library at ASU. While it was fun to be part of an active criminal trial practice, what I remember most was the people I met. Allen, represented some interesting characters. I met alleged cartel members, pilots who allegedly dropped packages out of planes, and business owners allegedly running fronts for money laundering. It was beyond exciting.
Allen passed away in June 2020. He practiced law well into his 80s and everyone knew how much he loved the practice of law. I was fortunate in that I saw him in his later years and had a chance to thank him for his mentorship and the amazing stories I collected watching his craft when I was just a law student.
Attorney, Woodnick Law
My law clerk experience began with Woodnick Law—but not as a law clerk! Gregg hired me as “the blog guy” to work on the firm’s website at first, and legal research and drafting projects came later. After spending a summer working with four brilliant attorneys in a complex civil practice—Paul Valentine, Kara Karlson, Carlos Arboleda, and Steve Brechner—I returned to Woodnick Law for the remainder of my law school years and stayed on as an associate attorney after bar admission. I drafted my first special action to the Court of Appeals for one of Gregg’s child welfare cases while I was still in law school, and I am extremely lucky to have had many opportunities to work on increasingly complex matters ever since.
Attorney, Woodnick Law
During law school I was lucky enough to extern for Court of Appeals Judge Donn Kessler. While at first I was simply excited about having a reason to go downtown (ASU law campus was in Tempe at the time) and imagine I was already a lawyer doing important legal work, my experience was so much more. Judge Kessler and his entire office was patient with me, trusted me with legal research and writing, allowed me to sit in on panel discussions with other judges and hear oral arguments. Judge Kessler know I took an interest in family law matters and helped usher family law appeals work my way. I benefited greatly from being in that office and learning a bit about how Judge Kessler’s brilliant legal mind worked.
Attorney, Woodnick Law
After my second year of law school, I spent my summer clerking for the Honorable Edward F. Shea, Senior U.S. District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Washington. At the time, I had my sights set on becoming a prosecutor and was therefore given the opportunity to assist behind the scenes with legal research and writing projects regarding federal criminal issues arising at all stages of litigation.
In addition, I had the opportunity to travel to L.A. to assist Judge Shea as he presided over federal jury trials regarding homeowners’ claims against their insurance companies for damages sustained during the Northridge earthquake in 1994 which were not ultimately covered by their insurance policies. Somehow, all that testimony about big cracks in the concrete and drywall managed to carry the day as I spent the vast majority of my first decade of practice defending subcontractors in construction defect litigation here in Arizona.
Attorney, Woodnick Law
I clerked for Mike Manahan in Toledo, Ohio. It was my first true law firm experience and it was something I quickly realized was not for me. I spent hours and hours researching slip and fall and ‘red car, blue car’ cases. I have not touched an insurance defense case since.
I was also a summer extern, while in law school, for the District of Columbia Attorney General’s Office. It was so exciting. I got to see the inner-workings of a large city’s low-level criminal prosecution court. It was when I learned that litigating cases, on my feet with real people, was my calling.
Assistant City Attorney, Mesa, Arizona
I clerked at Woodnick Law during my 3L year. It was probably the best experience I had in law school. The clerkship had the typical projects you’d expect from a law school clerkship: legal research, motion writing, trial preparation, etc. But it also had so much more than that. Most memorably, I had the chance to work closely with Markus Risinger on an appeal that made it to the Arizona Supreme Court. We ultimately prevailed in that case. And while drafting briefs and attending oral argument at the state’s highest court was very rewarding, the true reward was helping our client in that case. Through this appeal, we prevented the state from separating a child from her father. To this day, that appeal remains as my favorite legal experience.
Law Clerk, Woodnick Law
I am currently a 3L at the Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Before even entering into my last year of law school, I was quite lucky to have many opportunities at different agencies before getting the law clerk position at Woodnick Law. I’ve externed at the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, the Arizona Supreme Court Government Affairs division, and I also had a brief clerkship at a personal injury firm called Clausen & Williamson.
Through these various experiences, I was exposed to many practice areas that I would not have otherwise had the chance to see in person. This opportunity here at Woodnick Law has also been very eye opening with regards to the practice of family law. I did not have any exposure to this area other than taking one family law class at school. As of right now, I have yet to decide on which career path I want to take, but thanks to my many experiences at different agencies and firms, I have a better understanding of what the legal world has to offer.
I clerked with Woodnick Law from 2L Spring until after the Bar. Coming from being a paralegal back east, the Woodnick clerkship was transformative. The Woodnick Team did not buy into the vanity of the (boring) white-shoe culture. Instead, they taught me to practice law humbly and with a moral compass. The Woodnick Team is committed to their clients, approachable, and were always dedicated to shepherding my legal career. In addition to the traditional clerkship experience, I was able to assist Gregg during a high-profile alienation trial and was able to work on a state wide family-law fee survey that was presented at the For Better or For Worse Seminar. I will forever be grateful for the time I spent clerking with the Woodnick Team.