NCLA Internship Spotlight

Rebekah Salas Mercer

Spring Law Clerk

Law School: Stanford Law School

Expected Graduation: 2021

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Campus Activities: Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic, Stanford Christian Legal Fellowship, Stanford Federalist Society, Notes Editor: Stanford Law & Policy Review, Stanford Latinx Law Student Association (SLLSA), Stanford Naturalization Pro Bono Project

Hobbies: Civil Debate, Studying Romance Languages, International Travel, Interior Designing, Salsa Dancing, Reading Literature on Grammar & Better Writing, Learning About Health & Nutrition, Cooking (Almost Anything) & Baking Puerto Rican Puff Pastries, Podcast Binging.

What were your duties as an NCLA intern?

As an intern, I was able to engage in interesting research assignments and contribute a memo on the topic of public rights and the threats to the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in the administrative law context.

What did you most enjoy about your internship?

Although my internship was remote due to COVID, I enjoyed the interactions I had with the attorneys at NCLA. During our weekly litigation meetings, it was easy to tell that the attorneys enjoy the work that they do, are all very intellectually engaged and excited about their cases, and that the work environment is very professional, yet friendly.

What interesting thing(s) did you learn about Administrative Law?

Prior to my internship, I was not aware of the threat to the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in cases adjudicated before administrative law judges. Also, as an NCLA intern, I learned about the expansion of what is defined as a public vs. private right; such definitions have dramatic effects on whether a case can be litigated in an Article III federal courts or before an administrative agency.

How might you use what you’ve learned later in your professional career?

For me, this internship has confirmed that I would ultimately like to work in the public-interest sector in the long-run. In addition, in this internship I have been given the opportunity to improve my grasp of administrative law. Rather than just study abstract legal concepts in an Administrative Law class, the NCLA has provided me the opportunity to truly engage and research administrative law issues which I believe has given me a greater understanding and confidence in approaching this more complex legal subject matter.

Any advice for other students who want to intern at NCLA in the future?

Hopefully future interns will be able to have in-person internships, however, I would nonetheless encourage them to be proactive in asking for projects and sharing with NCLA supervisors what particular kinds of cases that you hear mentioned in the litigation meetings interest you. The NCLA legal team is very happy to provide you the work and/or opportunities to produce the kind of work product that you desire, you just need to be up-front in sharing your interests.