What I Did Last Summer: Joshua Irvine, SJQ 2013, Law Clerk at Kirton McConkie

1.) Why did you go to law school?

I saw law school as meeting 2 personal goals. 1) provide me with a degree and that allows me to grapple with some of the intellectual challenges of our generation, 2) to equip me with a degree adn a set of tools that have various lateral applications.  In other words, if I don’t decide to be a traditional attorney, the study of law gives me a set of marketable skills to transition into a multitude of professional careers.

2.) What did you do last summer?

 I worked as a Law Clerk at Kirton McConkie.  This was not through the traditional OCI Summer Associate process, but more of that later.

3.) Why did you decide to do that?

To get a better feel for life in a firm and whether I wanted to pursue such career paths.  I also wanted a more hands-on look at the practice of law generally.

4.) How did you learn of the opportunity and what was the application and interview process like?

I have had an interest in working in an Immigration career for some time.  As such, I volunteered at and eventually was selected to be the Student Director of the Pro Bono Immigration Clinic.  During my 1L summer I volunteered at the Salt Lake Immigration Court.  With those set of experiences, I reached out to several Immigration attorneys, offering to take them to lunch and to discuss career opportunities in Salt Lake.  I went out with 3-4 different attorneys from various kinds of firms and solo practices.  Ultimately, the position came from out of the blue, but it originated in those lunch meetings throughout my 1L summer and 2L fall semester.  When the need arose in Kirton McConkie for help in the Immigration practice, I was first among a long list of applicants.  I am happy to give anyone more insights into how, in retrospect, they explained that I raised my status as an applicant.  The job is not a traditional path to a permanent associate attorney position, but it is about as good as it gets for the kind of law that I want to practice.

5.) What did you do on a day to day basis?

I spent my time involved in various projects.  Particularly, I:

  • Researched various immigration precedent. 
  • Analyzed the implication of state and federal criminal law convictions on immigration eligibility.
  • Drafted arguments for applications to seek discretionary waiver of certain immigration bars.
  • Organized and documented eligibility for various immigration benefits, including permanent  residence, international executive employment transfer, religious visas, students visas, etc

As with any law firm, my work was not limited to a single area.  I also worked on the following areas:

            – International law and taxation

            – US Federal Tax law

            – Adoption law

            – Corporate law and entity formation

            – Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance 

            – Fair Debt Collection Practices Act compliance


6.) What was the best part about what you did over the summer? What did you learn?

Finding resolutions to complex Immigration problems.  Being able to maneuver the bureaucracy involved in Immigration litigation and find the resolution our clients need is an immensely rewarding experience.  We have been able to reunite families and provide a structure for businesses to expand its operations by including international experts and executives. 

7.) What advice do you have for the 1L’s who are thinking about what to do this summer?

Find something that interests you.  Volunteer with attorneys to help on cases.  If can financially afford spending 10-15 hrs a week volunteering somewhere, do it.  And work hard enough to be worthy of the recommendation of one who has influence.  I have had several interviews with different kinds of employers, and nearly all of the interviews have arisen through the satisfied referral from attorneys I worked with either in the past or present.  Also, talk to everybody you know – your circle of friends may already include means by which you can find meaningful legal experiences.