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Unlocking the Legal World: My Eye-Opening Internship with Joel by Shane Mathiesen

Updated: Sep 23, 2023

Today's blog post is by a guest author. Mr. Shane Mathiesen is a rising junior at the University of Arizona who reached out to me to see if he could shadow me and learn what I do. He has been working with me since January of this year and it has been a wonderful experience both for him and for me. I asked him to write a reflection essay and I was so taken by it that I got his permission to post it to my website. Please enjoy.


With what seems like such a short time working with Joel, I have nothing but positive words to say. I first approached Joel asking for part-time work. I imagined myself sorting through files. Answering the occasional phone call, and getting him a cup of coffee in the mornings. Instead, the experience that he provided, and is still providing, is nothing less than priceless. He offered me an intern position, which I agreed to knowing the legal experience would be worth the time. The time spent in court, summarizing interviews, police body cams, and disclosures, were real-life experiences that I would carry with me as I continue along my own path to a criminal defense Attorney. Joel is persistent, organized, hardworking, and immensely dedicated to his work. It is honestly quite inspirational to see him work, as once he’s locked in, his main focus is his client, and helping them to the best of his ability. This type of work ethic is something that I myself will mimic as I continue working toward a career in law.

I will confidently say that my favorite moments that I can recall are moments where I am with Joel in the courtroom. Not just because I am able to observe a real defense attorney at work, but because of the new light that was shined on my perception of how a lawyer operates in the courtroom, and how the judicial process is carried out through and through. Before coming on to work with Joel, any ideas that I had about how judicial processes are carried out I got through shows like Suits and Law and Order. Upon working with Joel, I have learned that these shows are far from the truth of how the courtroom operates, and that everything is much more organized and civil. This surprisingly attracted me to a career in law even more, as I gained a newfound respect for the field.

My respect especially goes out to Joel, as he has been nothing but welcoming throughout my time at the firm. Beginning day one, he would always include me when going through his schedule for the day, saying things like “We have court tomorrow at 9,” or “We are seeing our client tomorrow at the jailhouse at 10.” Small moments like this went a long way with me and motivated me that much more to work hard, and to put my best into everything that I did. Also pointing out Joel’s approachability, there was never a moment where I needed to hesitate on whether or not it was a good idea to ask him a question. In fact, it's his rule that there are no dumb questions, and if I ever needed help with anything he always encouraged me to ask. His being like this made it much easier to learn and get into a routine with work, as I was always able to rely on him for any issues I had.

Overall, I think the thing that sticks out most for me is the relationship that we develop with our clients. I genuinely find myself thinking about certain cases throughout my day, figuring out possible new angles to look at the problem, and hopefully finding the best solution. I didn’t expect this to be part of the job as a lawyer. I thought that lawyers needed to be cutthroat with their clients, with little to no investment in their well-being, to avoid having personal interests. Boy was I wrong. I treasure this new look at what lawyering is all about, and I am grateful to Joel for giving me this opportunity to learn from one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Tucson.






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