Portland Program Externing: The Best of Both Worlds

May 04, 2016

For Tom Marshall (J.D. Class of 2016), whose focus is business law, the Oregon Law externship program through our Portland campus offers a foot in the door with potential employers. 

According to Marshall, a native Oregonian who completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Redlands, “Working directly with local attorneys teaches you a lot about how lawyers in the ‘real world’ think, and what they expect of young lawyers.”

Tom Marshall, JD class of 2016During his time at Oregon Law, Marshall has lived and studied at both the university’s main campus in Eugene and in Portland, where he is completing his J.D. and took advantage of 3 externships through the Portland Program. “By moving to Portland for my third year, I was able to participate in externships and attend networking events,” he shared. “Externships are a great resume booster, and they can be a lot of fun.”

His first externship in Summer 2015 was at TriMet, the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon. There, Marshall worked closely with Britney Colton, (J.D. ’03) an Oregon Law adjunct professor, gaining experience in employment and labor law, including several arbitrations.

“Hiring attorneys are always very impressed by my externships and ask a lot of questions about them.” Marshall continued, “At all three of my externships, I did real-world work that I would not have been able to do in a classroom.”

While externing at tech company Smarsh, located on Pioneer Square in Portland, Marshall worked directly with the company’s general counsel, Bonnie Page on contract and corporate law. Then, under the wing of David Ashton at the Port of Portland, Marshall worked on a wide variety of projects ranging from contract litigation to environmental work.

A key component of Marshall’s success in securing externships has been his network of support, especially through the Portland Alumni Network Mentor Program and the Portland Program faculty. “I had a lot of help from advisors, especially Professor Manesh,” he shared, “My Portland Program alumni mentor, Elaine Albrich, (J.D. ’05), has also been extremely helpful in my job search. She has looked over my materials and brought in other attorneys to do a mock interview with me.”

Marshall’s advice to new Oregon Law students, “If you have the option of doing an externship, then take advantage of it. This kind of opportunity doesn’t happen all the time.”

Through the externship program, Oregon Law students gain practical, real-world experience working in the in-house legal department of some of Oregon’s most well-known businesses and agencies. Learn more and get involved by visiting the Oregon Law Externships page on the web.

For more information about Oregon Law's Portland Program, email Managing Director Emily Johnson or call 503-412-0468.