State Courts

THE ARKANSAS SUPREME COURT (2 positions)

The Arkansas Supreme Court is Arkansas’s final appellate court and the ultimate arbiter of Arkansas law. The Court has appellate and original jurisdiction as defined by the Arkansas Constitution, and it has superintending control over all lower state courts. The jurisdiction of the Arkansas Supreme Court generally is limited to appeals involving the interpretation of the Arkansas Constitution, criminal appeals in which the death penalty or life imprisonment has been imposed, petitions for extraordinary writs, appeals pertaining to elections and election procedures, appeals involving the discipline of attorneys and judges, subsequent appeals following an appeal decided in the Supreme Court, and appeals required by law to be heard by the Supreme Court. More information about the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Externships are available with the following members of the Arkansas Supreme Court: Justice Karen Baker and Justice Courtney Rae Hudson. Because of the complex issues considered by the Supreme Court, students are advised that they should have completed the course in Constitutional Law prior to applying for an externship with a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

1. Justice Karen Baker, Arkansas Supreme Court (1 position)

Justice Karen Baker has been an Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court since January 1, 2011. Justice Baker received a Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas Tech University in 1983, and a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School in January of 1987. Justice Baker had a private practice in Clinton for eight years prior to taking the bench, which included six years as a part-time public defender for Van Buren and Searcy Counties. In 1995, Justice Baker was appointed to serve as Second Division, Circuit/Chancery/Juvenile Judge for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, which includes Faulkner, Searcy, and Van Buren Counties. In 1996, Justice Baker was elected to the position of Fourth Division, Circuit/Chancery Judge for the Twentieth Judicial Circuit. She was reelected to the same position in 1998. In 2000, Justice Baker was elected Associate Judge to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, District Two, Position Two. She was reelected to this position in 2004. District Two is a large district that includes nineteen counties in central and north-central Arkansas. More information about Justice Baker.

An extern serving in Justice Baker’s chambers will work with Justice Baker and her staff. The extern will have the opportunity to develop analytical skills through the preparation of legal memoranda, attendance at oral arguments, and participation in staff meetings. To be eligible to serve as an extern in Justice Baker’s chambers, a student must have excellent writing and research skills and must have successfully completed the course in Constitutional Law. Justice Baker and her staff will interview students recommended for an externship prior to final approval of the placement.

2. Justice Courtney Rae Hudson, Arkansas Supreme Court ( 1 position)

Justice Courtney Rae Hudson has been an Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court since January 1, 2011.  Justice Hudson received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 1994.  She graduated with high honors from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 1997.  Justice Hudson served as a law clerk at the Arkansas Court of Appeals from 1997 to 2005 for Judges Terry Crabtree and Frank Arey.  She was elected to the Arkansas Court of Appeals from the third district in 2008.  In 2010, she was elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court where she serves as the supervising Justice to the Committee on Professional Conduct.  Justice Hudson was awarded the Gayle Pettus Pontz Award by the Women’s Law Student Association at the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2014.  In 2018, she was reelected to her current position. More information about Justice Hudson.

An extern serving in Justice Hudson’s chambers will work with Justice Hudson and her staff.  The extern will have the opportunity to develop analytical skills through the preparation of legal memoranda, attendance at oral arguments, and participation in staff meetings.  To be eligible to serve as an extern in Justice Hudson’s chambers, a student must have excellent writing and research skills.  Successful completion of Constitutional Law is also preferred.  Justice Hudson and her staff will interview students recommended for an externship prior to final approval.

THE ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS (3 positions)

The Arkansas Court of Appeals is Arkansas’s intermediate state appellate court. The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over all cases appealed from state courts except for certain types of cases that are specifically required to be filed in the Arkansas Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals hears appeals from criminal cases, civil cases, decisions of the Board of Review, and decisions of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Twelve judges serve on the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Information about the Arkansas Court of Appeals.

Externship positions are available with the following members of the Arkansas Court of Appeals: Judge Waymond Brown, Judge Rita Gruber, and Chief Judge Brandon Harrison. For more specific information about the externship positions and each Judge’s individual requirements, please see the detailed externship descriptions below.

1. Judge Waymond Brown (1 position)

Judge Brown currently holds the position of Associate Judge at the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Judge Brown represents District Seven, which includes Jefferson, Chicot, Desha, Arkansas, Saint Francis, Phillips, and Lee Counties. Judge Brown was elected to this position in May 2008 and formally took his seat in January 2009. Judge Brown received a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. He continued his education by earning a Juris Doctor from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law.
Judge Brown formerly served as District Judge of Pine Bluff, Arkansas from January 1, 2001 to December 2008. He has also served as chief legal counsel for the Arkansas Employment Security Department; as chief deputy prosecuting attorney and deputy prosecuting attorney for Jefferson and Lincoln Counties; and as tax accountant for Phillips Petroleum Company. Judge Brown was a five-year member of the Arkansas Minority Health Commission. He was appointed by the Supreme Court Chief Justice to serve on the Arkansas Supreme Court Access to Justice Commission and the Supreme Court Committee for Continuing Legal Education. Judge Brown is a lifelong resident of Pine Bluff and is a very active member of the Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon. He is a member of the Harold Flowers Law Society as well as the NAACP.

An extern serving in Judge Brown’s chambers will work with Judge Brown and his staff. The extern will have the opportunity to develop analytical skills through the preparation of legal memoranda, attendance at oral arguments, and participation in staff meetings. To be eligible to serve as an extern in Judge Brown’s chambers, a student should have strong writing and research skills, a strong work ethic, and an eagerness to learn.

2. Judge Rita Gruber (1 position)

Judge Rita W. Gruber was elected to the Court of Appeals on May 20, 2008 and took office January 1, 2009. She completed eighteen years as a Circuit Judge for the Sixth Judicial Circuit on December 31, 2008. While serving on the trial bench, she helped establish a Volunteer Probation Officer program to work with first-time juvenile offenders. She also established a specialized teen parenting program, a truancy alternative school, and helped plan the CSTP juvenile boot camp at Camp Robinson. Before her election as Circuit Judge, she served as interim Pulaski County Judge and had a ten-year law practice in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Judge Gruber is very active in her community. She is currently a member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board, North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, and has served as a director of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Boys and Girls Club Advisory Committee. She worked closely with the Bowen School of Law developing mediation programming, particularly for juvenile cases. More information about Judge Gruber.

An extern in Judge Gruber’s chambers will have the opportunity to work with the Judge and her staff on many legal issues. An extern will have the opportunity to develop analytical skills through the preparation of legal memoranda as well as attending oral arguments and participating in staff conferences. To be eligible to serve as an extern in Judge Gruber’s chambers, a student must have excellent writing and research skills. STUDENTS ALSO MUST BE AVAILABLE TO WORK IN JUDGE GRUBER’S CHAMBERS ON MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY MORNINGS. Judge Gruber and her staff will interview students recommended for the externship prior to final approval of the placement.

3. Chief Judge Brandon Harrison (1 position)

Judge Harrison was elected to the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2012. Prior to joining the Court, Judge Harrison had his own private practice in Fort Smith, Arkansas, in which he concentrated on civil and criminal appeals and civil litigation. He also is a former law clerk for U.S. District Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. Judge Harrison is a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and a Fellow of the Arkansas Bar Foundation. He has published in The Arkansas Lawyer, the Arkansas Law Review, and the newsletter of the Pretrial Practice and Discovery Committee of the American Bar Association. He also is a chapter author for the Arkansas Bar Association’s Handling Appeals in Arkansas practice handbook. A third-generation lawyer, Judge Harrison graduated from the University of Arkansas School of Law in 2002, where he served as Executive Editor of the Arkansas Law Review. More information about Judge Harrison.

An extern in Judge Harrison’s chambers will work with the Judge and his staff on a variety of legal issues. An extern will have the opportunity to develop analytical skills through the preparation of legal memoranda as well as attending oral arguments and participating in staff conferences. To be eligible to serve as an extern in Judge Harrison’s chambers, a student must have excellent writing and research skills. GIVEN THE COURT OF APPEALS’ SCHEDULE, IT WOULD BE BENEFICIAL FOR EXTERNS TO BE AVAILABLE TO WORK ON TUESDAYS AND WEDNESDAYS. Judge Harrison and his staff will interview students recommended for the externship prior to final approval of the placement.

JUDGE EARNEST E. BROWN, CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE 11TH WEST JUDICIAL CIRCUIT (1 position)

The Circuit Court for the 11th West Judicial Circuit is a state trial court of general jurisdiction that includes Jefferson and Lincoln Counties. Judge Brown hears cases involving juvenile and family law. THIS POSITION IS BASED IN JUDGE BROWN’S CHAMBERS IN PINE BLUFF, SO TRAVEL TO AND FROM PINE BLUFF IS NECESSARY FOR THIS EXTERNSHIP. Judge Brown is able to provide a stipend to reimburse students for mileage costs for travel to Pine Bluff. More information about Judge Brown.

A student who applies for this position should have a specific interest in juvenile and family law. An extern in Judge Brown’s chambers will have the opportunity to work with Judge Brown and his staff and observe proceedings such as juvenile delinquency hearings, families in need of services (FINS) petitions, and matters involving the Department of Human Services. Judge Brown also supervises one of the few juvenile drug courts in the State. An extern will also have the opportunity to work with Teen Court, which is a program of the juvenile court. The extern will have hands-on experience working with files and reviewing cases before hearings and will gain familiarity with court practice and procedure. Judge Brown and his staff will interview students recommended for an externship prior to final approval of the placement.

JUDGE AMY DUNN JOHNSON, CIRCUIT JUDGE FOR THE 6TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, 15TH DIVISION (1 position)

The circuit court for the 15th Division, 6th Judicial District, is a state court of general jurisdiction that primarily hears domestic relations and probate cases in Pulaski and Perry Counties. An extern working in this position will gain hands-on experience with cases involving divorce, custody, visitation, child support, guardianships, trust and estate administration, and adoptions. Day-to-day responsibilities will include attending hearings, research, preparation of legal memoranda and draft opinions, and case management. The extern will also work on special projects aimed at improving access to justice for litigants involved in court cases. Qualified externs will have excellent research and writing skills, as well as a strong desire to serve the public. Judge Johnson will interview students recommended for an externship prior to final approval of the placement.

JUDGE VIC FLEMING, LITTLE ROCK DISTRICT COURT (1 position)

District Courts exercise county-wide jurisdiction over misdemeanor cases, preliminary felony cases, and civil cases in matters of less than $5,000. All felony charges enter the District Court for plea and setting of bond. The District Court may also handle bond hearings and probable cause hearings. After this, these cases are transferred to Circuit Court for adjudication. A small claims division of District Court provides a forum in which citizens represent themselves to resolve minor civil matters.

An extern with the Little Rock District Court will attend court as able from time to time at the direction and discretion of the judge in order to glean a working knowledge of issues arising in adversary proceedings. Under supervision of the judge, the extern will research and write legal memoranda relative to issues to be ruled upon by the court. Additionally, the extern will review all current case law handed down by the Arkansas Supreme Court, Arkansas Court of Appeals, and Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and summarize any and all cases relevant to issues arising in Little Rock District Court. This includes, but is not limited to, any cases involving interpretation of criminal statutes and any cases involving federal or state constitutional issues relating to search and seizure, confrontation clause, due process, equal protection, and the like. In addition, the extern will assist as needed in the administration of probation-related paperwork and functions when probation personnel experience staffing shortages. Judge Fleming will interview students recommended for the externship prior to final approval of the placement.