June 17, 2013
Matthew Mertens earns prestigious clerkship with U.S. Bankruptcy Court
Oregon Law student Matthew Mertens recently accepted a unique term clerkship with Chief Judge Elizabeth Perris of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Oregon. To receive a bankruptcy court clerkship is a rare occurrence in the District of Oregon, where all bankruptcy judges, other than Judge Perris, employ career clerks.
Mertens is excited to be working with someone with Judge Perris' background.
"Just learning from [Judge Perris] is going to be unbelievable," Mertens said. "She has more experience in her eyelash than I do in my entire body."
Mertens' clerkship will require 10 percent travel, 30 percent clerical work and 60 percent traditional clerkship responsibilities, such as writing court opinions.
Born and raised in Portland, Ore., Mertens completed his undergraduate studies in psychology and Spanish at Tufts University in Boston. Mertens didn't mesh well with the cold weather and decided to attend law school in Oregon, where he could be closer to his parents. Upon enrolling at Oregon Law, Mertens wanted to be a prosecutor, and studied criminal law in addition to participating in the school's prosecution clinic. After taking a bankruptcy class with Professor Andrea Coles-Bjerre, however, Mertens was so impressed by her lectures that he decided to take bankruptcy for a second term.
"I'm blown away by the quality of instruction here," said Mertens.
Professor Coles-Bjerre encouraged Mertens to apply for the clerkship position, which he learned about after receiving an email from the law school's Career Center. During his interview for the position, he received positive feedback on his legal writing, something Mertens credits to Professor Joan Rocklin, who teaches classes on legal research and writing.
"[Professor Rocklin] won't accept anything less than the best quality when it comes to legal research and writing," said Mertens.
Before applying to the bankruptcy clerkship, Mertens worked 10-15 hours-a-week for his entire 2L year doing research and writing at the firm Jensen, Elmore & Stupasky, P.C. He also worked as a research assistant for Professor Mohsen Manesh after finishing his first year of law school.
Mertens advises students interested in pursuing a career in bankruptcy law to take classes that interest them rather than solely focusing on areas related to bankruptcy.
"When you go for these clerkships, they just want someone who is, number one, smart, and number two, intellectually curious," Mertens said.