SLU LAW Students Intern with Board of Aldermen
Alumnus David Sweeney (’04) saw an opportunity when he heard SLU LAW would be moving downtown.
The clerk/legal counsel for the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, Sweeney recognized the law school’s proximity to City Hall would make it easier for the two entities to partner up for a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Sweeney was the catalyst behind a program that gave SLU LAW students Joe Wilson, Myles McCabe and Matei Stroescu the chance to work as legal interns for the Board of Aldermen during the 2013-14 academic year. Sweeney said the arrangement was a success through its first year.
“The program has gone splendidly,” Sweeney said. “I think it is a great experience for (the students). It has certainly been an asset to me as far as workload and an asset to the aldermen as far as research and ideas.”
Working on rotating schedules based on their availability outside class, the interns got several opportunities to gain valuable real world experience with working in city government. While they did a lot of legal research on topics ranging from alley maintenance to plastic bag use in supermarkets to red light cameras, they also had the opportunity to draft resolutions and board bills.
“I think the most significant part of the internship as a whole was that it allowed me to see how laws evolve at the municipal level and to hear about current events that affect St. Louis, not on the news but as they unfold,” said Stroescu, a 2L at SLU LAW. “It was also interesting to see bureaucracy in action, and see it being effective.”
McCabe, a 3L, said he learned a lot from the experience and it sparked an interest for him to continue being involved in local government.
“As lawyers, we tend to focus on national or state-level issues because that's what affects us in the courtroom,” McCabe said. “But a lot of important governing happens at the local level that has the potential to really impact people's lives in a tangible way. The Board of Aldermen internship opened my eyes to the important things happening in city government.”
The three interns from SLU LAW were honored last Friday with a resolution from the Board of Aldermen recognizing their contributions over the past year. Several aldermen, including Board President Lewis Reed, remarked what an asset the interns were. Sweeney said he intends to continue offering internships with the Board of Aldermen since the first year of the program went so well.
“I would absolutely recommend other students apply,” Stroescu said. “In addition to the work experience, it is an awesome way to get out and meet people that may be able to help you later in your career.”
McCabe also said he would recommend an internship with the Board of Aldermen to his fellow students.
“The best part of the arrangement, from the student's perspective, is that the law school is right across the street from City Hall,” McCabe said. “You can see your boss, attend committee meetings or even full Board meetings without ever leaving ‘campus.’"