News & Media

TJSL’s Saipan Connection Continues to Grow

Published: October 02, 2014
Melissa Dempsey

TJSL has an established history of alumni finding opportunities in Saipan. Most recently, Melissa Dempsey, a May 2014 TJSL graduate, was selected by Presiding Judge Robert C. Naraja of the Superior Court for the Northern Mariana Islands as his judicial law clerk. The Northern Marianas Islands are located on the Pacific island of Saipan, an unincorporated territory of the U.S. 

Working as a judicial clerk had been a goal for Dempsey since her 2L year. “Professor Rierson advised me that a clerkship would be the best option while I await my bar results because it would help me hone my research and writing skills while learning the court system. I followed her advice and I think this clerkship will be a great step in my goal to become a civil litigator.”

During law school Dempsey worked hard to develop her research and writing skills working as a research assistant to Professors Sandra Rierson and Joy Delman. “The research and writing skills I learned from them are invaluable and I believe those experiences put me in the best possible position when I graduated.”

Beginning in her 3L year, Dempsey began sending out applications.  “I sent out countless job applications during my third year just hoping to land something and eventually I did and I love my job.”  She encourages students looking for jobs to “put in the work and don't get discouraged.”  She also credits TJSL for helping her carve out her career. “Thomas Jefferson School of Law has assisted me a great deal in my career path. I actually learned of this clerkship through Career Services’ Symplicity.”

Dempsey started her position in August 2014 after taking the California bar exam. Since beginning, Dempsey has been exposed to a variety of matters. “The Superior Court here in the CNMI is a court of general jurisdiction so on any given day I may have to draft an Order in regards to a criminal matter and then an hour later I'll be working on a summary judgment order for a civil lawsuit. It's always changing and the job definitely keeps me on my toes.”

TJSL has maintained a strong track record of alumni landing clerkships with the judges in Saipan. According to Career Services, at least 12 other TJSL Alumni have worked in Saipan and several of those continue to work there.

Students interested in obtaining judicial clerkships should contact Paula Gluzman, Associate Director of Career Services,