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Adam Kretz '08

Judicial Law Clerk, Judge Beth Labson Freeman, United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Political Science Major
PIFP 2008-09 Fellow, Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute

"I currently serve as a law clerk to a federal trial judge after graduating from Stanford Law School in June 2013. My work revolves around learning and applying the law to make my judge's life easier. We have about 300 cases on our docket, and I do legal research, draft orders, and help her decide cases in everything from patent disputes to employment cases to billion-dollar class actions."

Key milestones?

“After I graduated from CC, I was awarded one of the college's public interest fellowships (PIFP) to work at a Colorado nonprofit called the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute. There, I got to be involved in statewide campaigns, policy research, and lobbying the state legislature on ways to change Colorado tax and fiscal policy to better protect and provide for low-income residents. It was a wonderful opportunity, and, true to CC form, something I had literally never studied before accepting the job! I was encouraged to go out and do something that could make a difference, and CC's PIFP program provided me the chance to do it.”

I learned to engage with others' opinions (and, perhaps more importantly, learned not to be ashamed to be persuaded by someone and change my own beliefs).

Future Aspirations

"After my clerkship ends, I will return to the law firm where I started after graduation. It's called Arnold & Porter, and I will be an associate in its San Francisco office. The firm combines high-end legal work for our clients with a long tradition of public service. In the 1950s, we were one of the only law firms that would defend those brought before Sen. Joe McCarthy's Committee on Un-American Activity during the Red Scare. More recently, the firm has worked to end the death penalty in California and across the country, bring marriage equality to Wyoming and North Carolina, and fight voter disenfranchisement in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin."

Block Plan Benefits

Being a lawyer is much, much easier after studying on the Block Plan—I think it's the single best thing you can do to prepare for law school and the profession. I now have an incredible ability to focus, something I definitely did not have before I came to CC. Take today for example: In chambers, I oversee about 100 of the judge's cases. This morning, I drafted orders on several short procedural motions, did legal research regarding a bankruptcy appeal, and then had a 30-minute meeting with the judge to prepare for a hearing this coming Thursday. CC taught me how to delve deeply into a question, consider it from all sides, and then have the confidence to present an answer. My judge doesn't want to hear me vacillate after I spend a few days researching a question. She wants me to be able to tell her how I think she should rule on the matter. And the faculty and my classmates at CC taught me the confidence to present an actual argument, rather than just argue back and forth with myself."