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Third-Year Student Externs with California Supreme Court Chief Justice

April 11, 2014

Alyssa Bussey 3L has worked as an extern for California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye since January, working on petitions for review, observing oral arguments, analyzing draft opinions, performing research assignments, and even contributing to a draft opinion.

Alyssa Bussey Inside
Alyssa Bussey is externing with the California Supreme Court Chief Justice

The chief justice praised Bussey’s work for the court.

“I think it’s important for aspiring lawyers to experience not only the art of advocacy, but also the craft of objective decision-making, which is the core of our work at the Supreme Court,” said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye. “The exposure gained here places the law in a different light and gives each student extern an opportunity to participate in the deep thought processes required when our court is deciding difficult and important legal questions. Alyssa has had the opportunity to be a part of this experience, and she has performed admirably, applying the strong academic principles she has learned at USF to a real-world environment.”

One of three externs, Bussey works closely with the staff attorneys, who provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. Bussey said the externship has not only helped her improve her research and writing skills, but also provided the opportunity to learn how the court operates, how petitions for review are considered, and how the court arrives at its final opinion in a case. Additionally, Bussey said, she has gained a thorough understanding of judicial decision-making at the highest court in California and an appreciation for the careful appellate review and collegiality of the justices. These experiences, she said, will help make her a better advocate for her clients. 

“It is an amazing experience to work at the California Supreme Court and be immersed in some of the most complex legal issues in the state,” Bussey said. “I am constantly in awe of the chief justice for her dedication to the cases before her and the promotion of justice throughout California’s courts. I could not dream of a better experience and opportunity, and I am so thankful to the chief and her staff for making it possible.”

Three current 2L students— Yuki Cruse, Alexander Guney, and Jennifer Sta.Ana—have landed externships with the chief justice for next year.