Lessons learned from Externships at Denver Law: “When you are working in a real law office, you see what lawyers do.”

For Tyler Geisert, ’13, legal education that began in the classroom really took off once he ventured into the real world of law. His three externships placed him in the area of law he suspected he would like – environmental and natural resources – and eventually led to the employment he will begin later this summer.

“My first externship was at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office of Natural Resources,” he recounts. “It was the second semester of my 2L year. I didn’t know what to expect. It turned out perfectly. First, it convinced me that this is the area of law I want to work in. Second, it was greattyler geisert pix working alongside practitioners and to begin doing real legal work. What I had learned in the classroom made more sense to me. I realized I can do this work, and I also learned I really like doing it.”

The next summer Tyler took an extern position at the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. “I became aware this is a great field to be working in now,” he says. “The current use of new technologies, fracking and horizontal drilling, means we can get to deposits we couldn’t reach before. The legal and policy issues that result will keep lawyers busy.”

In his third year of law school, Tyler took an in-house extern position with MarkWest Energy Partners, a Denver-based, publicly-traded company providing mid-stream services in the natural gas industry. “That means gathering, processing, and transportation of natural gas; the transportation, fractionation, storage, and marketing of natural gas liquids; and the gathering and transportation of crude oil,” Tyler explains. “It’s exciting work, with new challenges arising all the time.” Tyler will join the Mark West counsel’s office soon. He will take with him lessons he learned doing externships during his time at Denver Law.

“When you are working in a real law office, you see what lawyers do,” he says of his three externships. “You learn by watching them and also through your own work. It’s a trial-and-error process. By emulating other lawyers, you start to find out what works for you and what doesn’t. I learned what you need to do to be good at your job, and I learned I have to do it in a way that meets my needs, fulfills my life. These are important lessons, and you can’t get them in the classroom alone.” -rw

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