Nneoma Ibe learned a great deal about federal law during her externship, notably in the area of public defense, including a case involving a defendant charged as part of the U.S. Capitol riot.
During her time with the office, she contributed to drafting a federal habeas petition for a client on death row accused of felony murder of a police officer. In addition, she also spent a significant amount of time researching important legal concepts critical in the defense of federal criminal defendants, including ineffective assistance of counsel and prosecutorial misconduct claims.
While she gained experience and knowledge during her externship, Ibe also found she wasn’t interested in pursuing criminal law. However, she found her time to be very valuable and felt a part of the team.
“I always try to be realistic about whatever experiences I undertake,” she said. “I went into my externship with as open a mind as possible. This helped me get the most out of the experience. I was always eager to assist in any case I found interesting. I asked a lot of questions and received a lot of answers. Most of all, I let myself enjoy the process.”
Ibe recommends students who are interested in a public defense career consider federal public defense.
“The federal offices do not get as many quick turnaround cases as the state offices do, however, they still get the same quality of experience with litigating and the case which land at the federal offices deal with complex and interesting areas of federal law,” she said.
Interview was conducted in Summer 2022.