“The market is pretty tough, and it’s difficult for a law student to find a job,” Honeycutt says. “I’m getting a head start; I’m networking with [Texas Tech] graduates and attorneys and getting real life experience that will make my résumé stand out in the future.”
Honeycutt is one of the seven inaugural students in the program. They are receiving course credit this semester and are working 30-hour weeks at public interest organizations or government agencies in the Metroplex, taking a course locally on white collar crime taught by a Texas Tech law adjunct professor, and meeting monthly in Dallas with Texas Tech Law Dean Darby Dickerson and two law school faculty members to share information about their work experiences and receive practical lawyering tips. Eight students will take part in the program during the 2013 spring semester.
Honeycutt is working 30 hours a week in the office of the Federal Public Defender Northern District of Texas in Dallas.
“I’m showing up at the federal building every day and working alongside the public defenders,” she says. “I’m doing everything from legal research for the appellate section to assisting with getting together analysis for motions to suppress.”
The networking component of the program is through an alumni contact program organized by the law school. Honeycutt wants to practice criminal law in the Metroplex after she graduates in May 2013.
“I’m meeting with people who are interested in the things I want to do,” she says.
As part of the program, each student is matched with eight Texas Tech Law alumni. Four of the alumni have agreed to take their respective student to a professional development event, such as a Dallas Bar Association function, and the other four alumni have agreed to take the student to a social event, such as a dinner or a tour of a law office.
The semester began Aug. 20, and Honeycutt says she already has met several practicing alumni in addition to the lawyers with whom she is working in the public defenders’ office.
“I think it’s the biggest, most awesome part of the program,” Honeycutt says.
The students gain practical experience, work in the legal market where they hope to eventually practice as attorneys, and get to enjoy the alumni contact program, says Dickerson.
“Building that true professional network, I think that’s a really unique part of that program,” Dickerson says.
The school is considering expanding the program to Austin and is talking about externship opportunities with the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Dickerson says.
Honeycutt says that being in Dallas for the fall is worthwhile, even though she will be missing events at the law school in Lubbock.
“This is a goldmine of opportunity for me this semester,” Honeycutt says.
— Jeanne Graham