By: Matthew Gabalski ’24
This summer I had the pleasure of working with Hon. Julio Fuentes, a Senior Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During this time, I had the incredible opportunity to explore, research, and write about several areas of law. These areas spanned from the exciting topics of torts and immigration to the more nuanced and detailed issues involving bankruptcy and procedural appeals. Most of the summer was spent reviewing precedential opinions and writing summaries for the clerks and the judge; however, I also had the opportunity to write a non-precedential opinion for the court. This was the ultimate test in implementing the skills I had learned in both semesters of Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research my first year at the University at Buffalo School of Law with the added knowledge that these results had real-world effects. This internship also gave me the opportunity to work closely with many of the judge’s law clerks and was able to get their advice on their experience in law school and their experience before they were a law clerk. In addition to furthering my skills in both research and writing, this internship gave me the chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at the judicial process and learn more about appellate court processes as a whole.
The highlight of this internship was the ability to see oral arguments at the Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia. During this time, we saw two days of oral arguments with a wide array of cases and got to experience many different styles of advocacy with varying degrees of effectiveness. After all cases were heard, the interns were given the opportunity to go into the judge’s chambers with the clerks and discuss the cases that were heard. This was by far my favorite part of the experience, the judge took the time to explain how he made his decisions, what type of advocacy had worked that day and why and what arguments simply fell flat. The clerks then took the time to answer any questions we had about the cases or why the judge was leaning a certain way in the case. Overall, this experience gave the perfect opportunity to watch and utilize in real time many of the concepts I had learned in my doctrinal classes in my first year. Both the judge and the clerks were so approachable and extremely helpful and just made the experience amazing.
This summer has been incredible, and I have had some amazing opportunities, none of which would be possible without the generosity and kindness of both Kristin Graham Koehler and David Koehler and their funding of the 2022 Kristin Graham Koehler ‘94 & David Koehler ‘94 Judicial Fellowship Award. This internship has taught me so much about advocacy, the judicial process, and the inner workings of the federal appellate system. I have no idea on what area of law I wish to focus. This experience was an incredible way to research and write about a vast array of different topics. It has helped me tremendously in figuring out what I find interesting. I thank the Koehlers for giving me this opportunity that I will always remember.
Name: Matthew Gabalski ’24
Name of Fellowship: Kristin Graham Koehler ‘94 & David Koehler ‘94 Judicial Fellowship Award
Placement: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Hon. Julio M. Fuentes
Location: Newark, NJ
One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: “This experience was an incredible way to research and write about a vast array of different topics. It has helped me tremendously in figuring out what I find interesting.”