Lessons From the Classroom to the Courtroom

This summer, three Villanova Law students are participating in judicial externships in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which serves the areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and the Virgin Islands. Highly sought-after opportunities, judicial externships can be an integral part of a law school education and open doors to post-law school clerkships.

As judicial externs, law students have the chance to hone their legal writing, research and critical thinking skills while assisting a judge and their staff with active cases.

“A judicial externship is an in-depth experience of the litigation process that provides excellent training for any law student’s future career practice,” explains Matthew McGovern, director of experiential learning and legal research instructor.

“In the near future, our students will be practicing, representing clients and appearing in a court before judges,” he adds. “There is no substitute to prepare for that than learning first-hand from a judge about the approach, demeanor and tactics they find credible and persuasive in the courtroom.”

Anderson Amaya ’24, Mark Metzler ’25 and Caroline Nelson ’25 share insights from their current judicial externships.


Anderson Amaya ’24
Supporting The Honorable L. Felipe Restrepo, Circuit Judge
Philadelphia, PA

“When I first decided to pursue a judicial externship, I didn’t have many expectations, but I saw it as an excellent learning opportunity. I have already learned so much. Judge Restrepo is very highly regarded and well-respected in the Philadelphia legal community. The biggest thing that I hope to learn from him is how to stay true to oneself in the face of so much power, influence and responsibility. He is obviously an intelligent man with years of legal practice under his belt, and while I hope to learn from him in that regard, I really want to learn from the intangibles he possesses; he is very genuine and humble.”


Mark Metzler ’25
Supporting The Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell, Senior Circuit Judge
Philadelphia, PA

"I am so excited to soak up as much information as I can during this experience. Judge Rendell possesses a wealth of experience – I am very eager to gain insights into the different areas of law that she has practiced throughout her illustrious career. This experience will allow me to see first-hand the real-world application of the concepts I have been using in the classroom. I have a chance to develop my skills within legal research, legal writing and so much more – I believe it will help me better understand how to utilize what I am learning at Villanova Law to carry into actual legal practice.”


Caroline Nelson ’25
Supporting The Honorable D. Michael Fisher, Senior Circuit Judge
Pittsburgh, PA

“This is an incredible opportunity to work with Judge Fisher and learn about the work within the Third Circuit. I am looking forward to completing research assignments, drafting memos, and reading circulating opinions – I want to make the most out of my experience and try to learn as much as possible. I am interested in a career in litigation and serving as a law clerk in the future – this is a great opportunity to learn from my colleagues while working on real cases, allowing me to see first-hand what I have learned in the classroom. I also hope to build relationships with the judge and his law clerks and network with others who work in the courthouse.”