UMKC School of Law students Joseph Salazar (J.D. ’20) and Nick Aubrey (J.D. ’19), had the rare opportunity to intern in Ireland this past summer. Along with 21 other American and Irish law students, Salazar and Aubrey worked in the High Court and the Supreme Court, where they received hands-on training and worked alongside members of the judiciary.
This was the first year UMKC School of Law students were invited to apply for judicial internships in Ireland. Law students competed for internship spots in the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and High Court.
Joseph Salazar interned with the High Court of Ireland. The High Court adjudicates civil matters and hears appeals of lower court decisions; in addition, the judges review tribunal decisions. Nick Aubrey interned with the Chief Justice, Frank Clarke. The Chief Justice is the titular head of the judiciary, who presides over cases concerning the constitutionality of statutes, the reference of a bill to the Supreme Court and other cases of importance. He also manages the court and assigns judges to cases.
Justice Seamus Noonan, appointed in 2014, oversaw Salazar during his clerkship.
“Working for a judge was incredible,” says Salazar. “He was so generous with his time.”
During the four-week internship, Salazar and others gained practical experience and exposure to the legal structure in Ireland. Salazar watched Noonan hold court daily, helped develop a new case management work flow system with Noonan’s judicial assistant and wrote a memo on a labor law statute. He and the other interns attended a series of lectures by senior members of the judiciary, academics, prosecutor, and leading practitioners.
Working for the Chief Justice meant a slightly different experience for Aubrey. He wrote memos and determinations for upcoming Supreme Court cases. He did not work as closely with the Chief Justice but received mentoring and worked alongside the judicial assistant.
“I saw how the system worked inside and out,” Aubrey says. “And I learned that judicial assistants are invaluable to the court running smoothly.”
Aubrey also spent time analyzing trends to study what type of cases ended up in the Court of Appeals, the High Court and the Supreme Court. He observed Supreme Court proceedings on the last day of his internship.
“It was cool to see because I had written the memos on the case so I knew which arguments were coming up,” Aubrey says.
After sitting in on many cases, Salazar observed that, while the case management and e-discovery resembled U.S. proceedings, the courtrooms differed. Attorneys in Irish courtrooms wear robes and wigs, and unlike the American court system, Irish proceedings burst with sound.
“The courtroom had so much energy. It was very boisterous,” says Salazar.
Aubrey remarked that the work culture also stood out to him.
“Everyone got their work done on time, but it was a more relaxed atmosphere,” he says.
Salazar is grateful for the experience and reflects on the internship as an amazing opportunity.
“It was an opportunity to learn from the best minds in a national jurisdiction. Interning at the High Court exposed me to international law in a very practical way.”
“It was easily one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done,” Aubrey adds. “You won’t get anything as educational as working in the Supreme Court. It’s all first-hand.”