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Meet Daniel Conlon-Gutierrez

Law student interns with Supreme Court of Costa Rica

Duquesne law student Daniel Conlon-Gutiérrez is in San José, Costa Rica this summer to complete a law internship with that country's highest court. The rising third-year student is conducting research into parliamentary principles in the law of Costa Rica and the United States as part of a scholarly partnership between Duquesne University School of Law and Supreme Court of Costa Rica.

"Duquesne Law School has a unique international program," says Conlon-Gutiérrez. "I am pleased to participate in the school's academic agreement with the Supreme Court of Costa Rica and to be the first student to do so."

His comparative research will be conducted over three weeks from late May through early June 2013.

Since signing the partnership agreement in March 2012, the law school and the court's judicial school have developed exchanges for lDaniel Conlon-Gutierrezegal scholars to share research, give guest lectures and create new cooperative programs. The student internship is paving the way for law students, too, to travel between Pittsburgh and San Jose and the two institutions.

Conlon-Gutiérrez is working under the direction of the court's legal staff, including Lic. Olman A. Rodríguez, a high-ranking clerk to Justice Fernando Castillo Víquez, one of the seven justices of the court's constitutional chamber.

In November 2012 Rodríguez came to Pittsburgh to participate in a Duquesne Law symposium, Current Constitutional Issues in the Americas, the fifth in a series of seminars focused on constitutional law in the nations of the Western Hemisphere. Duquesne Distinguished Professor of Law Robert S. Barker, who organized the series and developed the academic agreement, proposed Conlon-Gutiérrez's internship to Rodríguez and then submitted a proposal to the president of the court.

"Daniel's internship opens the door for other Duquesne Law students," says Barker. "The partnership presents rich opportunities for research and exchanges that are beneficial to both institutions. It's interesting to note that this partnership is the only one of its kind that the Costa Rica Supreme Court has with a law school."

Duquesne's Public Service Law Fellowship program is funding Conlon-Gutiérrez's placement at the court. The fellowships provide student attorneys with valuable summer work experience, typically at branches of government, reflecting the Law School's commitment to public service. Alumnus John "Jack" McGinley, Jr., a 1968 law graduate, and his family members, including parents Jack and Marie and aunt Rita M. McGinley, along with the Rita M. McGinley Foundation, make the fellowships possible.

Conlon-Gutiérrez says he plans to make the most of his experience. Court will be in session, and together with his research, he expects full days. Free time will be taken up with exploring San José and Costa Rican countryside. He is writing a blog about the trip, www.lawincostarica.tumblr.com.

The 30-year-old is a native Spanish speaker, having been raised in Mexico and spending a year between high school and college teaching English as a second language to Mexican children. Conlon-Gutiérrez earned a bachelor's degree in political science from North Park University in Chicago in 2006, then worked in the Washington, D.C. area for several years before coming in 2011 to Pittsburgh and Duquesne School of Law.

This spring Conlon-Gutiérrez completed an externship with the Honorable David S. Cercone of the U.S. District Court of Western Pennsylvania. During the academic year he also served as a research assistant to Professor Barker. In the summer of 2012 he was a legal intern for the Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid in Washington, Pa. His academic activities include the Duquesne Business Law Journal, the trial advocacy program, the Energy and Mineral Law Society and the Christian Legal Society, which he serves as president.

In addition to his legal background, Conlon-Gutiérrez is a classically trained singer. He lives in Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood with his wife.

Read about the academic agreement between the Supreme Court of Costa Rica and Duquesne University School of Law in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article. Learn more about the University's Public Service Law Fellowship program in a Duquesne Lawyer feature story.