A summer clerkship near home in Pennsylvania was an all-encompassing experience to see a courtroom from the inside for Lauren Beal ’24.
She was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Joseph J. Matika in the Carbon County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.
“I didn’t really have that much experience in a courtroom. It was a great experience to see the attorneys, the judge, and what they do day-to-day. It's a pretty small county, so they did a little bit of everything. I saw a jury trial, non-jury trial, then they did custody hearings and then sentencings, and some property cases. Judge Matika calls it an ‘A-to-Z’ court, because they do a little of everything,” she said.
Beal saw cases at different stages—sometimes from start to finish—and built on experience and knowledge from her time in the Family Violence Litigation Clinic within the Edward P. Swyer Justice Center, particularly writing and procedural skills.
“The clinic was the first real hands-on experience that I had. I was definitely able to take some of the writing and things I learned from that into the courthouse,” she said.
Working in a smaller court gave her access to feedback and mentorship from Judge Matika as well.
Previously, in between her 1L and 2L years, she interned at the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office and focused mostly on torts cases. Now, Beal is wrapping up her 3L year with varied experiences and an open mind for the future.
“I really enjoy helping people. I go back and forth. One day I'm like, ‘Oh, family law.’ And then one day I'm like, ‘Oh, health law.’ And then every now and then I'm like, ‘Well, maybe sports would be fun.’ Because I've always been a sports person. So, still I’m still figuring it out,” she said. “There's lots of resources to help. And it's okay to not know what you want to do. I'm a 3L and I still don't know what I want to do. And even if you do know what you want to do, come in with an open mind, because there's so many opportunities here. You could try something else out and your mind could totally change.”