Nov. 19, 2020 - As third-year University of Houston Law Center student Fariha Jawed nears the end of her legal education, she is also gaining valuable experience working as a judicial intern for U.S. District Court Judge Charles Eskridge. Next semester, Jawed will intern on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit with Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod.
"I've attended many hearings on different cases," she said. "My favorite part is the post-hearing meetings with Judge and the law clerks where they discuss their thoughts and opinions. I have also able to work on many recommendations and opinions.”
"I think along with the networking opportunities, it has been interesting to see the judicial process on the backend. I also feel like by the end of this semester, my research and writing skills will have greatly improved."
Over the summer, Jawed participated in a virtual internship program with Vinson & Elkins, which allowed her to network with various affinity and practice groups.
"I was able to attend many webinars on matters that are personally important to me, such as Black Lives Matter and colored women in the legal profession," she said. "I rotated through three groups: tax, commercial litigation, and energy transactions. In these groups I worked on various legal memos and research projects. I was also able to take on a pro bono project."
Upon graduating from the Law Center next May, Jawed will return to Vinson & Elkins in a full-time capacity as an associate. She said she hopes to be a part of the process to increase minority representation in law.
Currently, Jawed serves as the President of the Muslim Legal Society, the first of its kind at UHLC. The organization hopes to provide a platform for Muslim Law students to develop and succeed both in-and-outside of law school.
"As a female, Pakistani, Muslim, it is very rare that you find people that look like you holding office or representing you in some capacity," Jawed said. "I think one of the first steps in changing that narrative is arming minority communities with access to legal representation."
Law is a second career for Jawed, who previously worked as a certified public accountant.
"Being a CPA and having prior work experience as an accountant provides relevant background that can be helpful in tax law," Jawed said. "This combination allows me to play both roles and approach any question with two very distinct perspectives. Additionally, earning my CPA has given me a competitive advantage in the legal market."
Jawed initially began her legal education as a part-time student at the Law Center. She commended the program for its diversity of faculty and students.
"The part-time program is staffed with amazing professors," Jawed said. "The Law Center does a great job ensuring that part-time students have access to the same opportunities as full-time students do. I was surrounded by students who were all at different stages in their lives and careers. They brought unique and interesting perspectives to the classroom.