Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Taste of the Future: Extern Job Shadowing Program

Is there a particular career or field of study that interests you the most? Do you want to explore a profession that intrigues and excites you? Do you have a plan for your future career? If you said yes to any one of these questions then you should definitely look into the Extern Job Shadowing Program. The Academic Advising and Career Center provides this program for students looking to explore various careers and professions that they are willing to pursue in the future. The Extern Placement usually lasts from 1 to 4 days where a student accompanies a professional in a relevant field and gets to experience a typical working day. In this blog, I will be talking about my experience as a participating student in the Extern Job Shadowing Program.

Initially, I had applied for 4 different placements in the legal sector. My first choice was a law firm specializing in Family Mediation Services. However, I did not get my first choice but was offered my second choice which was with a Criminal Defendant Lawyer. Passionate about the law, I was very excited about it despite my reservations against Criminal Law. I am so glad I was given this opportunity because it gave me a whole new outlook about the Law and Criminal Law in particular.
I had always thought the Law was all about winning and losing but after shadowing my host for 2 days I realized that Criminal Law was not about that at all. Being a Defendant Lawyer means having an ethical duty towards the client (in this case criminal) regardless of whether they are innocent or not. Criminals are human beings and they deserve the right to trial just like everyone else. I asked my host whether he had ever fought a case for a client he knew was guilty. His response changed my perspective completely. He replied by saying, “Whether my client is guilty or not guilty is completely irrelevant. My ethical duty is towards my client and my job is to protect the interest of my client. If the Crown does not have proof that my client is guilty then there is no basis for their allegations against my client.” I also asked this same question to my Host’s Associate Lawyer who had a similar yet different approach. He said, “The one thing I tell my client is I don’t want to know if you’re guilty or not because it will only make my job harder.” At the end of the day, a Defendant Lawyer’s job is to prove his client innocent until proven otherwise and to fight for a lenient sentence that is both fair and easy for the client if proven guilty.

It is important to note that this program is not a job position and does not secure future employment with the Extern Host. It does, however, build a connection where your host can become a potential mentor for you. This is because your Host is professionally at a point where you would want to be in the future. For me, this experience was very enlightening and my Host gave me the choice to shadow him any day outside of the program. The more exposure and hands on experience you get the easier it is to accomplish your career goals. I would recommend the Extern Job Shadowing Program to every student on campus. 

For more information on the program, visit or check out the AA&CC’s website at

Best of Luck on all your future endeavors! 

- Ayesha Haq

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