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News Posted on May 8, 2014

Jennifer Yazdi '14, Anna von Herrmann '14 Serve Externships with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84

Anna von Herrman and Jennifer YazdiThis spring, UC Davis School of Law students Jennifer Yazdi '14 and Anna von Herrmann '14 completed one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of their law school careers, serving as externs for one of King Hall's most distinguished graduates: Chief Justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84.

"She is something else," said Yazdi. "She is the exemplar of an attorney, humble, caring, and genuine in every respect."

"The main reason I wanted to do this was to have the opportunity to work with the Chief Justice, who is an inspiring role model for women in the legal profession," said von Herrmann.

As externs, von Herrmann and Yazdi analyzed petitions for review, reviewed draft opinions, performed research assignments, and other tasks. Both students were pleasantly surprised by the high level of faith shown in their abilities by the Chief Justice.

"In some internships, you do research and gather information, and then turn it over to an attorney who does the analysis," said von Herrmann. "In this case, we got do a lot of analysis, and both Jenny and I were surprised by how they respected our opinions."

"Part of the job was analyzing draft opinions, which meant that there would times when I was in the position of having to tell the Chief Justice that I thought another one of the justices had gotten something wrong," said Yazdi.  "I would be thinking, ‘Who am I to say that?' But the justices appreciate a fresh perspective, and they want students to raise questions about their thinking."

The externship also presented logistical challenges for the students. Because they had already completed the maximum number of credits allowed for clinics, externships, and moot court, they were required to take on a full course load along with the externship. The students accepted the challenge, and despite the hectic pace of their final semester of law school, they are glad they did.

"It was a lot of work, and there was a lot of commuting back and forth between San Francisco and Davis," von Herrmann said, "but it was a great experience."

"It was so well worth it," said Yazdi. "Every day that I was there, I found myself doing work that was substantial and impactful. It helped me to renew my passion for the law, and taught me the importance of staying true to what's most important to you, no matter what the challenges are."