A student in the class of 2021 from Caldwell, Madison Basterrechea describes her law school experience as wonderful, challenging, and “a surprising amount of reading.” She was well-prepared when she began her law school experience three years ago and has taken full advantage of the learning opportunities available through the College of Law.
A sociology and anthropology major at the College of Idaho, her undergraduate professors taught classes using the Socratic method. If you’re not familiar, it’s also referred to as ‘cold calling.’ She was ready to be put on the spot in class.
Eager to make the most of her law school experience, she joined law review and competed in moot court. She also did well academically.
Basterrechea received a merit-based scholarship during each of her three years at U of I. The scholarship helped offset the cost of tuition and invested in her bright legal future.
During her first summer, she earned one credit working on cases for the third judicial district in Canyon County. During her second summer and fall term, she practiced under a limited license and gained valuable experience working with the City of Boise Criminal Division. She worked with the prosecution to evaluate each case, take into consideration the defendant’s circumstances, and negotiate plea deals. Her experience working with many different attorneys helped provide insight into different lawyering styles.
Basterrechea appeared in court 2-3 times each week during her semester in practice, mostly via zoom because of COVID-19. She gained valuable experience with arraignments, traffic court, pre-trial hearings, sentencing, and appeared in person for a bench trial during direct questioning and closing arguments.
“Though a lot of important legal work can be accomplished remotely, it’s difficult to re-create the courtroom experience through the camera lens,” said Basterrechea. “Appearing in court with the other attorneys, clients, and the judge provides the right amount of gravitas for the situation.”
During this time, she was also competing with peers Katie Fortuna and Anders Pedersen on our National Moot Court team. Under the leadership of Professor Benji Cover, or “B Cover” as the students refer to him, the teammates tackled a complex RICO issue that also included constitutional issues and administrative subpoenas. During their six practice rounds, they uncovered new issues with each argument. They did well, competing against the two teams that made it to the final round of the competition.
Basterrechea is looking forward to commencement, taking the bar exam, and clerking for Judge Gratton for the next two years with the Idaho Court of Appeals.