Gabbie Kott always knew she wanted to be a lawyer. The San Jose, California, native hopes to work in mergers and acquisitions in a corporate legal environment after graduation. For the time being, though, Kott is content being a law student and working in the law school’s Milton R. Abrahams Legal Clinic. Kott spoke with us on the value of the experience she’s gained while working in the clinic.
What experiences have you found most valuable by working in the clinic and how do you think this work will prepare you to practice law?
The clinic has been the best practice-ready experience I could have asked for. You aren’t writing memos all day like a normal law clerk; you are drafting and filing complaints, meeting with clients and opposing counsel, and getting real experience advocating in front of a judge. In late November , I prepared an appellate brief and successfully argued the appeal in front of Judge Gary Randall of the Douglas County District Court. Acting under the supervision of clinic attorneys, I was first chair on this appeal. The district court sustained my appeal and ordered the trial court to vacate a void judgment entered against my client in 2013. After this experience, I feel I am ready to practice law. I have a far better understanding of the basics of civil litigation practice than I ever would have from only sitting in a classroom.
What inspired you to work in the clinic?
Some friends told me about it and suggested I sign up to work there. I would advise anyone who wants to pursue civil litigation or family law to participate in the clinic. It truly is the best practice-ready experience you can get while in school. You have the responsibility of a practicing attorney with the guidance of supervising attorneys when you might need their help. I joined the clinic to gain a better understanding of how cases progress through the court system and what really happens at the trial level. Because I want to be a transactional attorney after law school, I am not as a familiar with civil litigation other than through a casebook. This is why working at the clinic is such a valuable experience.
What are your plans after graduation, and what advice would you give pre-law or first- and second-year law students?
After taking the bar exam in July 2018, I will be clerking for Justice Cassel of the Nebraska Supreme Court. After that, I hope to become a transactional attorney.
As for wisdom that I’d pass on to those not quite finished with law school, I’d tell them to take advantage of every opportunity and resource that Creighton law school offers. Law school is about being proactive about your career. If you wait around for something to fall in your lap, it’ll be too late. If you want to do something, go after it. If you can’t find something you want, go talk to someone who can help you find it.
Note: The Nebraska Supreme Court’s Senior Law Student Practice Rules, Neb. Ct. R. §§ 3-701–3-706, allow clinic students to participate in legal activities under the general supervision of a Nebraska-licensed attorney.