MSU Law alums return to promote opportunity to minority students

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MSU Law graduates Trevor Mason (left) and Chelsea Austin participated in the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s annual Minority Clerkship Program. Their message to students was part of an informational program held by Career Services Office (CSO) last week.

By Jake Jenkins
MSU Law

Two alumni came to campus last week to explain to MSU Law students the benefit of working as a law clerk.

Trevor Mason is now an associate attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP; and Chelsea Austin is an associate attorney at Miller Johnson.

Both participated in the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s annual Minority Clerkship Program. Their message to students was part of an informational program held by Career Services Office (CSO) last week.

“This program was life changing for me,” said Mason. “I came from a family with no background in law and this program changed my whole perspective and gave me exposure to the field and how law firms operate.”

“It helps minority students as well as first-generation,” said Austin. “It’s great to get that foot in the door and gain experience at law firms compared to those who already have connections through family or friends.”

Many minority students were in attendance for this info session and asked many questions as this opportunity can be hard to come by for most.

“I’m interested in learning more about this program as well as potential employment in the Grand Rapids area in the future,” said Crishaun Hardy, ’25. “It was good to come here especially with learning that a committee chooses the applicants and knowing what they look for.”

The Grand Rapids Bar Association's Clerkship Committee, in conjunction with the Floyd Skinner Bar Association (FSBA), is striving to increase the diversity of attorneys in the Grand Rapids area. The clerkship program is designed to offer minority law students an opportunity to participate in summer clerkship/associate programs with Grand Rapids law firms and other legal employers.

Law students who have completed their first and who have an interest in practicing in Grand Rapids are invited to apply for the program and must meet the following requirements:

• Be a first-year student in good standing at his or her law school J.D. program. A first-year law student is one who is applying for the summer immediately following their first opportunity to take legal writing.

• Belong to a minority group

• Display a desire to practice in Western Michigan after completing law school; and

• Complete a legal writing course before the clerkship begins.


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