One of the best ways for law students to get real-world experience is through externships. Mack-Arthur Turner is getting a double dose of experience this semester. Turner is externing full time at Memphis Light, Gas and Water in the General Counsel’s office and the Shelby County Public Defender’s Program.
Turner, a third year law student, has always been interested in municipal law, which is why he wanted to work with MLGW, but he also wanted to learn more about criminal law. After working with Professor Hans Sinha, the director of the Externship Program at Ole Miss Law, the two devised a plan so he could split his time between the two.
“I met with Hans, and he helped facilitate it and create what I wanted to do,” explained Turner.
Turner spends three days a week at MLGW and two days a week at the Public Defender’s Office.
“Mack-Arthur is truly getting a capstone ending to his law school career,” said Sinha. “Not only is he able to extern in the city where he will practice upon graduation, but he is also getting corporate utility practice in a division of the City of Memphis through his externship with MLGW and criminal experience through his externship with the Shelby County Public Defender’s office. He is blending and enhancing his doctrinal law school courses, expanding his professional network, and simply having fun his last semester.”
The dual externship has allowed Turner to work in three different areas of law: civil, criminal, and municipal. Although the two externships are in different areas of law, they are similar in the fact that they both deal with the city. Both provide a service to citizens, one in the form of electricity, water, gas, and employment, and the other in the form of legal representation.
“I’ve learned so much,” said Turner. “Coming out of law school, I think it will be lucrative to have that knowledge.”
As part of the externship program, students also take a course with Sinha, which according to Turner has been very helpful.
“He talks about our experiences and gives us tools to use during the externship,” he said. “It focuses on helping us get a job at the end. He’s making sure we ask the right questions, meet with our supervisors, and have a plan. It really prepares you to be the best representation of yourself and the school while you’re there.”
“The Externship Program is the law school’s biggest clinical program, and provides students a smorgasbord of real-world experiences,” said Sinha. “While all students participating in the Externship Program typically have interesting and educational experiences, Mack-Arthur seems to have hit it out of the ballpark this semester.”
Turner will graduate this December, and he encourages other students to work with Sinha in finding an Externship that suits their interests.
“The whole reason this double externship was possible is because I got really involved with Hans with the selection process,” he said. “It’s been a great experience and it really came from taking the effort in finding something that I was interested in and making it happen.”