Molly Lovell, 2L
United States Attorney's Office
I had a wonderful experience this summer at the U.S. Attorney's Office Sex Offense and Domestic Violence unit. Most of the time I listened to jail calls or watched police body worn cameras, but I also got to write five legal motions, sit in on witness interviews, conduct legal research, and go to court. I even got to second chair a misdemeanor trial! (I couldn't talk but I got to sit at the table and pass notes to the attorney.) I really felt like I got to learn what it's like to be a prosecutor this summer.
My co-workers were amazing. At my office, I had three different mentors--one mentor for sex offense cases, one for domestic violence cases, and one for misdemeanor cases. I got to know them all on a personal level. The attorneys at my office were all great and they made a point to get to know the interns.
My fellow interns are really what made my summer great. The eight of us would go to happy hour every week and, when I got married, they threw me a party after work.
Unfortunately, I don't think I'm able to discuss specific cases I've worked on because a lot of them haven't been resolved yet, but, generally speaking, I worked on misdemeanor sexual assault cases, child sexual assault cases, rape cases, and domestic violence cases (ranging from misdemeanor to felony.)"
Molly Ramsden, 3L
Army JAG corps
I greatly enjoyed my time with the Army JAG Corps. Specifically, I worked at Trial Defense Services (TDS). While there I helped defend soldiers through a multitude of proceedings ranging from separation boards to court martials. I thoroughly enjoyed being able to give back even in this small way to those who sacrifice so much on a daily basis.
Austin Buckley, 3L
Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Fredericksburg
This summer was an intensive experience in litigation - I was able to prosecute approximately 100 cases, including 8 bench trials and two jury trials. The opportunities allowed me to truly gain a feel for what working as an actual prosecutor was like - from the day to day to the pressure of appearing in court and juggling case loads - was a unique experience far different than any other internship I've held, where the title of "Intern" comes with specific duties that are often different than those of an attorney. This summer, I practiced as a prosecutor, as an attorney, with attorneys and can not wait to continue doing so after graduation.
Sara Scharff, 2L
Colorado Attorney General's Office
This summer, I had the opportunity to work at the Colorado Attorney General's Office in the Civil Litigation and Employment Law Section. The program was a fantastic learning experience, as I was able to work on a wide range of cases and apply the fundamental principles I had learned during my 1L year to real world scenarios. The AG's office also organized invaluable meetings for the interns with state and federal judges at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as with the Attorney General herself, who spoke of the importance of public service work. Without PSF funding, I would not have been able to have this wonderful experience and plan to continue a career in public service as a result of my work this summer.
Anna Ellermeier, 3L
U.S. Attorney's Office
My summer at the U.S. Attorney's Office was fantastic. I conducted legal research, drafted pleadings, and appeared in federal court. I had the opportunity to work on many types of cases and tackle a broad range of legal issues. I learned an incredible amount, largely because of how willing all of the attorneys and staff were to share their knowledge and expertise. The funding I received from PSF helped to make my summer possible and I am very grateful for the support!
Alison Schoettler, 2L
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
I spent my summer at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services working in the Office of the General Counsel, General Law Division. The General Law Division provides counsel to the agency's operating divisions on a variety of matters related to procurement law, appropriations law, employment law, and tort claims. I worked on matters in all of those areas, and I saw how both administrative and court processes work at the agency level.
From writing research memos to drafting responses to bid protests, I gained a wide range of experiences in so many legal areas. I feel fortunate that PSF funding allowed me to take this opportunity to learn so much. It has helped me figure out types of law I might want to practice after graduation, and it afforded me the opportunity to work with attorneys who taught me a lot and served as great mentors throughout the process.
Victoria Jensen, 3L
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
This summer I had the opportunity to work in the General Counsel's Office of the Department of Homeland Security. I was able to do a number of substantive legal research projects, attend meetings and conferences, and take a few field trips to component training facilities. I also drafted settlement recommendations for federal tort claim and debt waiver requests, as well as responses to requests from the Office of Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
Through my internship, I gained a greater understanding of government agency work, and I established relationships with high-quality attorneys who had a passion for the mission of the Department. PSF funding enabled me to afford to take on this volunteer internship and live in D.C. The internship solidified my desire for public service work, and I look forward to pursing that career.
Kristin Hopkins, 2L
Federal Communications Commission
This summer I was a legal intern at the Federal Communications Commission in the Wireline Competition Bureau. I was fortunate to come during a time where there were ""hot"" proceedings that were being proposed and voted upon before the upcoming presidential election. I worked on Inmate Calling Services, Business Data Services (high-speed internet for big businesses), and Privacy for Internet broadband users. These projects allowed me to see the range of work the FCC does, and I was able to experience all facets of administrative law from the public comment period to the rule making process. The attorneys truly used the interns in a way that allowed us to get the most out of the short summer experience, so I sat in on important meetings, helped draft rule making documents, and gave my opinions on petitions and extensions from various companies.
Because of PSF, I was able to have a great summer at the FCC. I learned so much about communications law, and it was my first time living on my own in a big city. The money from PSF allowed me to not have to worry about housing, and just focus on enjoying my internship and my time in the city!
Stephanie Cone, 2L
Office of the Norfolk Public Defender
My experience working at the Norfolk Public Defender’s Office from day one confirmed my desire to work for indigent clients. I spent the majority of my time in misdemeanor court and doing research. In misdemeanor court the day of trial is frequently the first time the public defender’s meet with their client, or even in some cases even speak to them. It was very rewarding to be able to be the listening ear for clients who frequently feel unheard because their defense attorney has ten or fifteen clients to meet with that day. It is also very rewarding to watch the research you do make a difference. I wrote a memo on a fourth amendment issue; the attorney used some of the arguments from my memo in court and the judge granted the motion to suppress.
I am grateful to the public service fund for making my summer possible. It is a lot easier to make the financial decision to work in public service, which is frequently unpaid, when you do not have to worry about whether or not you can afford it. I was able to devote my time to my internship without having to worry about working a second non-legal job to cover expenses.
Laura Worden, 3L
Office of the Norfolk Public Defender
Working for the public defender was a great experience. Not only did I get the opportunity to improve my legal research and writing skills, I also got the opportunity to argue motions, findings under advisement, and misdemeanor bench trials. I also got the chance to watch multiple jury trials, shadow different types of criminal defense attorneys, and attend an immigration training in case an issue arose with a client who wasn't a citizen. Overall my experience was very educational, very eye-opening, and very fun. I'd highly recommend this type of summer experience to anyone interested in doing criminal law or litigation in the future.
Sarah Walinsky, 3L
Newport News Public Defender
Newport News, VA I had a fantastic experience at the Newport News Public Defender's Office. I did the usual research projects, but my favorite part of the experience was the opportunities the job offered to attend and even litigate in court. The office set up a schedule so that the interns would shadow different attorney specialties (traffic, juvenile, criminal non-commonwealth, etc.). We also sat in on a few client interviews and jail visits. Towards the middle of the summer we began using our 3L Practice Certificates to handle non-commonwealth cases.
Michelle Monfiletto, 3L
JustChildren at Legal Aid Justice Center
My internship with JustChildren at the Legal Aid Justice Center broadened my understanding of the legal issues students with disabilities face. In addition to special education cases, I had the opportunity to work on discipline cases for students facing long-term suspension and expulsion. There is so much at stake when a child is facing expulsion. Having witnessed a school board hearing it is honestly overwhelming the impact an attorney can make for a child who may be expelled from school. This summer I helped draft a Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Complaint against Richmond Public Schools based on discriminatory discipline practices that unfairly target minority students and students with disabilities.
I worked with the RISE for Youth coalition to promote alternatives to youth incarceration in Virginia. Through RISE I worked with the youth in the Performing Statistics Program, a program that allows incarcerated youth from the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center’s Post-Dispositional Program to leave the detention facility and work with artists at a teen art studio. With help from artists, program facilitators, and myself these students created moving works of art about being an incarcerated juvenile. I assisted the youth with creating spray-paint stencil portraits of themselves that included a verbal message. They spend hours with Exacto knives, painfully cutting out the many stencil layers required for their portraits. They agonized over the message they wanted to send. These youth created such poignant, powerful portraits with messages that really moved me.
Laura Conway, 3L
DOJ, Disability Rights Section
I had a fantastic summer in DOJ, and was sorry to leave when the ten weeks were up. The past summer affirmed my interest in disability rights as a career, and public interest in general. I hope to have the opportunity to continue working with similarly dedicated and interesting colleagues in the future!
Joshua Lang, 2L
U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, Torts Branch, Aviation & Admiralty Litigation Section
Working in the Aviation & Admiralty Litigation Section of the United States Department of Justice was an amazing experience. From drafting an Answer for the United States to working with trial attorneys to prepare witnesses for trial, I was presented with work that actually mattered in our litigation. Even the research questions were not simple ""softball"" questions, they were questions to which the attorneys did not have an answer and needed one for their case. Moreover, these projects implicated two unique and interesting areas of law. Aviation and admiralty incidents alike posed challenging legal questions and complex fact patterns for the legal interns to wrap their minds around.
My experience was not just limited to the work that I was given. The DOJ -- especially our section -- took a real interest in our experience and development. We were assigned a mentor who was a source for feedback, work, and advice when we needed it. Interns were encouraged to attend depositions, office meetings, witness meetings, and conference calls with opposing counsel and judges. The entire division also put on workshops to help us develop critical skills, such as oral and written advocacy. There were also plenty of social events, including a softball league, a visit to the Dulles control tower, a tour of a nuclear ship, and many happy hours. Simply put: it was an excellent experience. I thank the Public Service Fund so much for helping me get that experience.
Taylor Trenchard, 3L
Massachusetts State Legislature
This summer, I was fortunate enough to return to my home state of Massachusetts to work for the Joint Judiciary Committee. The legislative session ended on July 31st, so it was a busy two months at the State House!
My favorite part of my experience was watching the transgender rights bill pass both houses and become law. I was able to meet many transgender citizens and advocates at the public signing of the bill on the State House steps. Working on this legislation reaffirmed my commitment to public interest and working for the government post-graduation.
Alex Woo, 2L
D.C. Office Of Human Rights
This past summer I worked at the D.C. Office of Human Rights (OHR), which seeks to end discrimination in the District of Columbia. The Agency enforces federal and local human rights laws. OHR investigates and resolves complaints of discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and educational institutions. While working at OHR, I interviewed complainants, drafted agency documents, and conducted investigations. Receiving the PSF stipend allowed me to work for a great government agency while further developing a wide set of legal skills.
Mary Johnston, 3L
U.S. Department of Justice, National Security Division, Counterterrorism Section
Working with the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division this summer was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to work closely with DOJ attorneys and assist in the prosecution of terrorists and their material supporters. Being an intern with the Counterterrorism Section during the terrorist attacks in Orlando, Florida and Nice, France allowed me to observe the immediate response the office had to each attack and how well the prosecutors coordinated with the investigating agencies to secure search warrants and begin discussing prosecution strategies within hours of each attack.
I primarily researched evidentiary and procedural issues in addition to drafting approval memoranda for probable cause arrests and USAO-proposed indictments. I enjoyed this internship so much that I have actually extended it am working there one day a week throughout the fall semester to continue assisting prosecutors with these crucial cases.
Federal Defender's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan
During my my summer internship at the Federal Defender's Office (FDO) I had first-hand experience representing clients on federal misdemeanor charges. On my second day at my internship, I arrived to the office, was handed the client's "ticket" describing the offense, and was told to get ready for court within the next half hour! Although it was a bit terrifying preparing to talk to the prosector to work a deal and speak in front of a federal judge, my supervisor at FDO was beyond patient with my questions. At the end of my internship, I conducted "ticket" duty three times, representing indigent persons charged with federal misdemeanors. The experience of speaking in federal court is one I will never forget.
Lauren Ballback, 2L
Newport News, VA
Over the course of the summer, I was able to work alongside the Commonwealth Attorney and the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney to serve the community of Newport News, Virginia. I was assigned to the Violent Crimes Team, and nearly every day I went to court alongside office attorneys and watched them advocate for victim and families of victims. The research I did was directly used in court to advocate for a sentencing, ruling, or verdict. I was able to sit and participate in meetings law enforcement, victims and defense attorney to reach a resolution that would provide the victim closure, the defendant a path to a productive future, and the community resolution and safety.
Darius Rohani-Shukla, 3L
Henrico County Attorney & Hampton Commonwealth Attorney
Richmond, Virginia & Hampton, Virginia
This summer I was incredibly fortunate to spend my time interning at two very different public service organizations, the Henrico County Attorney, and Hampton Commonwealth Attorney. I found my experiences invaluable in how they exposed me to different areas of law, and different types of offices. My goal going into this summer was to narrow down what sort of law I might like to practice upon graduation, and thanks to PSF I was able to accomplish this.
I thoroughly enjoyed the wide variety of law involved in life as a County Attorney, and how different the responsibilities can be from day to day. Equally, working in the Commonwealth Attorney was an important experience for the invaluable time I spent in court, both trying cases and observing. Finally, it was a welcome change in both offices to be working in a more collaborative environment, which I found I appreciated in both. Going forward, I am certain that these experiences will be helpful in understanding where I would like to work in the future.
The Office of the Federal Public Defender, Eastern District of VA, Norfolk Office
I worked with the Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia (Norfolk Office). Established in 2001, The Office of the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of Virginia is dedicated to the defense of indigent clients charged with federal offenses. The Eastern District of Virginia is one of two districts in the state and includes the Northern Virginia area, the greater Richmond area, and the Tidewater region of Virginia.
Working with the Federal Public Defender's Office was a phenomenal experience. I was able to work on substantive projects from Day 1 and was exposed to a variety of issues (e.g., drugs and guns, child pornography, and piracy at sea) within criminal law over the course of my internship. I highly recommend this employer to anyone interested in criminal law.
Ashley Gilkerson, 3L
Hampton Commonwealth's Attorney's Office
I had an incredible experience working at the Hampton Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, and I am very grateful for the funding I received from PSF. While interning this summer, I had the opportunity to use my 3L practice certificate and appear in court almost daily. I conducted bench trials, argued motions, and gave sentencing recommendations. For some cases, I sat second chair and assisted the prosecutors with voir dire. Every day, I wrote responses to motions. I also had the opportunity to write appeals. I researched issues dealing with self-defense, Good Samaritan law, faith healing, and discrepancies in medical documents. I listened to hours of jail calls and discovered information that was used against a defendant in trial. Not only did I get to observe and participate in proceedings in the GDC, but I also spent time in Circuit Court, JDR court, “Veterans’ Court,” and Drug Court. The best part of the internship was getting to work with the amazing prosecutors and staff in the office. They were helpful, kind, and always willing to answer questions. Overall, I would highly recommend working in a Commonwealth Attorney’s office.
U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of New York
My experience as a Summer Law Clerk at the USAO was absolutely incredible! I had the opportunity to work with three supervising attorneys in the Criminal Division on cases dealing with civil rights issues, narcotics, and human trafficking. My research assignments provided an inside look at some of the most high-profile cases happening in Western New York. In addition to my research and writing tasks, I often accompanied Assistant US Attorneys to court, which allowed me to learn a great deal about the federal court system.
One of the things I enjoyed most about the USAO was getting to see how so many government agencies work together for the common goal of seeking justice. I regularly interacted with agents from the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Customs and Border Protection, among others. I was particularly interested in the inter-agency workings of the Western District of New York Human Trafficking Task Force and Alliance. I had the chance to sit in on these task force meetings with attorneys, law enforcement officers, social service providers, and NGO representatives who work as part of a joint effort to stop human trafficking in our region.
My time at the USAO has confirmed my desire to become a prosecutor. As I continue in my legal studies, I look forward to taking more classes and externships that will help me succeed on that path.
Tony Bergamini, 3L
Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy; Capital Trial Branch
I spent my summer working at Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy, which is a statewide public defender office. Working at the Capital Trial Branch in Shelbyville, Kentucky, I assisted attorneys in writing motions, forming witness lists, visiting clients, and researching legal questions. Obviously, given the nature of a capital trial, the work was taken very seriously. Every case involved high stakes, and both our clients and opposing counsel’s clients had a lot on the line. Despite the tension, however, I managed to really enjoy working with the attorneys at my branch. They had positive attitudes, and they showed me how to handle the stress of being a lawyer. Thanks to the funding I received from PSF, I not only was able to enjoy working in my home state of Kentucky in an area of law (public interest law) I feel passionate about, but I also was able to enjoy my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, attending multiple Louisville City soccer games with friends who are also in law school. Moving forward, I know that my experience at Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy will be invaluable.
Sarah Kuethe, 2L
Allegheny County District Attorney's Office
At the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office I was assigned to the Domestic Violence Unit. I was tasked with handling sensitive information in order to work with victims and police officers before trial. I prepared evidence like jail tapes or medical records for my supervising attorneys and I gained useful experience coordinating said evidence with the public defender's office. I was also able to participate in weekly preliminary hearings at Municipal Court where I helped establish counseling sessions for batterer's intervention and filed motions with the court.
Matthew Magill, 3L
United States Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Tennessee
This summer I returned to the USAO in Tennessee. Because of my familiarity with the office, I was promised plenty of courtroom time; I was not disappointed.
Everyone was so helpful and accommodating. Each day I went to the office with the promise of experiences, both professional and learning. It was extremely rewarding to participate in each step of the prosecutorial process, from investigations and coordinating with agents to being involved in a 4th Amendment motion hearing. This was an invaluable experience, personally and professionally.
Alyssa D'Angelo, 2L
Virginia Beach City Attorney's Office
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I spent the summer as an intern in the Virginia Beach City Attorney’s Office. I learned a lot about real estate, local government, and the practice of law. Thank you for the stipend, PSF!
Rachel Bogdan, 2L
East Bay Community Law Center
As a Health & Welfare Student Intern this summer at East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC), I had the opportunity to work on two In-Home Supportive Services cases. In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is a social services program that provides assistance for individuals who might otherwise be placed in a facility due to their inability to care for themselves. In preparation for one of our client’s hearing, I gathered our client’s medical records, diary logs, and a doctor’s letters advocating for our client’s need for increased IHSS hours. I was both excited and nervous that I would have the opportunity to advocate for our client at the administrative law hearing. Advocating at the hearing was an amazing learning experience that I am grateful to have had. It was a rewarding experience to be challenged by the judge and forced to think on my feet when advocating for our client. Further, I attend a reassessment for another IHSS client and participated in negotiations with the county, obtaining the maximum allotment of monthly IHSS hours for her.
I also had the opportunity this summer to utilize my Mandarin language skills to support the Housing unit at EBCLC on cases involving disruptive displacement in the East Bay. I provided translation services during a tenant’s rights workshop for clients who were being threatened with eviction from a new landlord who recently purchased his building. I worked with Housing and Community Economic Justice Clinic attorneys to host a workshop at the tenants’ building. We provided legal education about the tenants’ rights, encouraged them to fight for their housing, and answered individual questions.
Overall, I am extremely grateful for the incredible support and thoughtful feedback I received from my supervisor and other attorneys throughout my time at EBCLC. I gained hands-on lawyering experience conducting client interviews, counseling clients, and representing my client in an IHSS hearing. I am confident that I will draw on my experiences from EBCLC in my future legal career. Thank you to PSF for helping me make this summer happen!
Victor Unnone III, 3L
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
This past summer I was a law clerk for the Water Enforcement Division of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance at the EPA in Washington, D.C. The mentors I was assigned for the summer focused on oil spill and mining cases. These topics were particularly interesting given how large the coal mining industry is in my home state of West Virginia. Aside from the water issues my division worked on, the law clerks at the EPA had lunchtime lectures every week to gain exposure to the various laws the EPA enforces. Working for the EPA also provided an opportunity to learn how government functions at the federal level. Having worked in state government after 1L year, it was a great experience to see the interplay between various state and federal agencies and the importance of communication and cooperation when working to protect the environment. I am very appreciative of PSF’s support, which allowed for a successful summer pursuing public service work in Washington!
Renuka Santhanagoaplan, 2L
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Working at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in their D.C. headquarters was an educational and inspiring opportunity. I specifically applied to the agency because it is at the forefront of social change, and my experience there did not disappoint. Not only was I able to work on substantive law issues, write memos and briefs, and aid in actual cases, but I was able to attend agency held panels, where we could listen to individuals that had brought gender equality suits, or learn from the Commissioner and Chair of the EEOC discuss the work they aim to do.
For someone that was trying to figure out her own career path, hearing about other people's professional development journeys was helpful and valuable. Additionally, because I was in D.C., I was able to visit several other agencies and learn more about the inner workings of the federal government and make connections along the way.
Brittany McGill, 3L
US Attorney's Office, Civil Division
I spent my summer as the civil intern at the US Attorney's Office in Norfolk. There, I conducted research and drafted briefs for employment discrimination, prisoner tort, medical malpractice, fraud, and collections cases. One of the highlights of my summer was appearing in federal court as an attorney using my third-year practice certificate. I represented the United States of America in a naturalization hearing, where over 80 immigrants from 44 countries were sworn in as American citizens. I had a great summer experience, and the funding from PSF helped offset the expense of doing an unpaid internship.
Breanna Jensen , 2L
Commonwealth's Attorney's Office
Colonial Heights, Virginia
My experience working for the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office in Colonial Heights was fantastic! Working in a small office gave me the opportunity to work with multiple attorneys and to see how they use their different strengths to achieve the same goals.
I did a wide variety of legal research, and my favorite assignment from this summer allowed me to submit a brief to the court that I then got to see used at trial. I also had the opportunity to work closely with the local police department by presenting legislative updates and researching and writing memoranda addressing their legal questions. Overall, I had a great summer internship experience, and I feel extremely lucky to have been able to do important criminal justice work with such a friendly and inviting group of people.
Sara Miller, 2L
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
I spent 1L year convinced that I would never practice law in any field related to litigation. Yet oddly enough, my experience at the SEC during the past summer completely changed that. I interned in the Division of Enforcement, which is the investigatory branch of the SEC. I assisted different attorneys in investigations for four different cases, including insider trading, accounting fraud, and misrepresentation cases. I drafted questions for voluntary phone interviews, researched securities legal issues, and helped prepare for and observe testimony proceedings. On a daily basis, I was able to help my supervising attorneys to build cases against those who were under investigation for securities law violations.
While I still do not know what I ultimately would like to practice, the SEC made clear to me that I need to be doing something in litigation. Additionally, working for the public interest showed me that I need to be on the side that goes after the bad guy. The SEC prosecutes those who commit securities violations and steal thousands to millions of dollars from unknowing investors. And those investors are regular people who are often unaware of when they are being stolen from (or that there is a crime occurring in the first place). The public needs someone working for its interest when everyday people are unlikely to be able to do so themselves. The SEC opened my eyes to the importance of working for the public interest, and that experience gave me direction for my legal career.
U.S. Attorney's Office
I had a really good experience working in Cleveland for USAO. In the office, the assignments were interesting, and I don't think I worked on the same sort of substantive legal research twice, meaning I was exposed to many different types of research questions. Along with a variety of research questions, I was given the opportunity to work on different types of writings, spanning from memos to an appellate brief for the Sixth Circuit. The attorneys were welcoming and were there to help if I had questions, but, overall as an intern, I was given a lot of independence as to how I structured my day to day work and to realize if/when I needed to reach out for advice.
The attorneys who managed the intern program also did a wonderful job of providing us opportunities to learn about other federal agencies, taking us on field trips outside the office. Overall, I really enjoyed my time with the USAO and would definitely recommend it to other students.
Kathy Zhou, 2L
Suffolk County District Attorney's Office
I spent my summer with at the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office in Boston, the biggest DA's office in the state. I specifically worked with the Child Protection Unit, which handles child abuse cases in Suffolk County. Over the course of the summer, I was able to work on all parts of the trial process, from victim and witness interviews to filing motions during trial. Additionally, as part of our learning experience, interns were expected to go across the street to Superior Court to watch any trials in process. As a result, I was also able to observe many trials from opening statements to jury verdicts.
Near the end of my summer, I was given the opportunity to second-seat a trial in Suffolk Superior Court. Throughout the trial, I helped the lead ADA take notes and file motions. Additionally, the ADA included me in her preparations, and encouraged me to voice my ideas with regard to jury selection and trial strategy. While I am not certain working as a prosecutor is in my future, this summer was integral in helping me gain valuable practical experience and find my voice as an emerging lawyer.
Lydia Warkentin, 2L
Prisoners legal services of NY
During my time at PLSNY, I worked with inmates in the NY State prison system facing solitary confine time of up to three years. I worked with the attorneys at PLSNY to draft appeals against the state trying to reduce SHU time. I worked on over 11 cases and by the end of the summer had received several decisions--one of which was the largest SHU time cut PLSNY had ever received. Because of PSF I was able to make a difference in the lives of prisoners, arguably one of the most marginalized groups in America. This summer had a huge impact on me and my desire to help the underprivileged and powerless.
Katherine Lennon, 3L
Norfolk Public Defender's Office
This past summer I worked at the Norfolk Public Defender’s Office. During this internship, I was able to get an invaluable amount of experience. Whether I was arguing cases in court, researching a legal topic, or talking about a case with one of the attorneys in the office, I was learning a lot and enjoying every minute of it.
Going into my summer, I knew that I was interested in pursuing a career in criminal law, but not yet sure in what capacity I wanted to work. My summer experience confirmed for me that work as a public defender would be a career path I would like to pursue. I found the work to be both challenging and rewarding. Even during the fall semester, I still receive emails from attorneys in the office giving me updates on cases I worked on.
I truly feel as though my summer work with the public defender’s office was a worthwhile experience. I am thankful to have had the opportunity and thankful to PSF for its help in making it possible!
Chantelle Williams, 3L
The New York City Department of Education
This summer, I worked for the New York City Department of Education, Teacher Performance Unit. As a law clerk, I assisted in the discipline of ineffective tenured pedagogues. In preparation for incompetence cases against ineffective tenured pedagogues, I interviewed school administrators, teachers, and support staff. Further, I assisted attorneys in drafting and preparing direct and cross-examinations. My summer experience was truly gratifying.
I am grateful for the opportunity and I intend to further explore my interest in public service.
Victoria Woods, 2L
York County District Attorney's Office
I spent my summer working for the York County District Attorney's Office, with the Appellate Unit. Throughout the summer, I wrote several briefs that were submitted to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, which was tremendously cool as a rising 2L. It meant a lot to me to be trusted with that responsibility and inspired me to have a lot more confidence in my work. Outside my assignments with the Appellate Unit, I had opportunities to work with other ADAs, the Vehicular Unit, and the Special Case Unit. Those projects were interesting because they had more immediate results, and I could see my research in action in the courtroom.
Overall, I really enjoyed my summer internship with the YCDA's Office. I learned a lot about ""the practice"" and practical aspects of being a lawyer, gained confidence in my writing and presentation skills, and learned that I really love the prospect of giving back to my community through working as a prosecutor.
Mahlet Makonnen, 2L
Office of Legal Policy, Department of Justice
This summer, I interned at the Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of Legal Policy (OLP) in Washington, DC. My assignments included authoring a memorandum analyzing the constitutionality of a federal pilot program, researching the applicability of state and federal laws to law enforcement scenarios involving unmanned aircraft, tracking and organizing regulatory changes, and drafting questions to prepare district court and circuit court judicial nominees for nomination hearings. My internship provided me with invaluable policy and legal experience while developing lasting connections with dedicated public servants. As a Public Service Fund (PSF) stipend recipient, I am grateful for PSF’s role in making my internship at DOJ a success.
Jamie Huffman, 2L
North Carolina Department of Justice
This past summer I worked for the North Carolina Department of Justice doing post-conviction litigation. I spent the majority of my time doing research and writing for cases in the various stages following direct appeal. I also got to sit in on oral arguments in various courts, and the intern program as a group went on trips to different courthouses, prisons, the State Crime Lab, etc.
Zachary Singerman, 2L
US Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio
Working at the US Attorney's Office following my 1L year gave me real insight into what it means to be a lawyer. While law school classes were important in teaching me to think critically, it would have been impossible to understand the everyday practice of law without spending a summer working outside the academic arena. My work this summer included a substantial amount of writing, as I spent much of my time drafting memos and briefs on a variety of issues such as the Federal Tort Claims Act, bank fraud, and the statutory right to counsel at habeas corpus proceedings. I also got a deeper understanding for government work, as my program often shadowed other law enforcement agencies in order to better understand how federal prosecutors interact with other government entities. Overall, I couldn't have asked for a better summer experience, and I look forward to getting into real practice again next summer.
Sami Alsawaf, 3L
Maryland Office of the Attorney General
This summer I worked at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General. It was my first experience with criminal law, and it was a blast! I was able to attend court, interview witnesses, sit in on task force meetings, and help research case law in order to build a case. Even though real trials are nothing like you see on TV, they were still entertaining! Watching a defense attorney lock a witness into a statement, or listening to a prosecutor lead a witness to a certain answer, were very interesting to watch and to try and figure out where the attorney was headed!
Willie Mejia, 2L
Office of the Public Defender
Arlington County, Virginia
I spent my summer working for the Office of the Public Defender in Arlington County, Virginia. My responsibilities revolved around two words: “case management.” Under the supervision of the Office’s attorneys, I was delegated almost full control over two kinds of cases: (1) new clients who were appointed a public defender, for misdemeanors and non-capital felonies; and (2) current cases that were already being investigated by the Office. By the end of my internship, it was not unusual for me to be handling seven or eight cases all at once, with a fairly consistent rotation.
Because the Office emphasized hands-on learning, from the very beginning I could work my cases however I saw fit. Thus, over the summer I interviewed clients, researched any legal issues important to their cases, wrote legal memoranda summarizing that research, and ultimately assisted the client on their day in court (with the client’s assigned public defender), among many other tasks. Part of the job also included networking with the various attorneys who worked in the courthouse daily, including the Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Additionally, my fellow interns and I were encouraged to do as much court-watching as possible: this means I was able to observe arraignments, preliminary hearings, bond hearings, plea negotiations, and even the occasional jury trial. Since the jail is right across from the courthouse, visiting clients in jail was also frequent.
Over the ten weeks that I worked at the Office, I learned exactly what kind of work is expected of public defenders, the resources available to them, as well as the necessary skills needed to work with their clientele. It definitely cemented my desire to work in criminal defense, and I am immensely grateful to the attorneys there for having made my learning experience so much more rewarding. Many thanks to the Public Service Fund, whose stipend made my internship there possible.
Johanna Lerner, 3L
Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office
I had a great summer interning with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office! I worked with a five-attorney unit within the felony division where I assisted with the prosecution of all levels of felony cases. Each day was different and exciting! The average day at the office included mornings in court observing and assisting with all different types of proceedings and afternoons in the office researching and drafting evidentiary motions, attending meetings with law enforcement officers and witnesses, and preparing for trial. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is a large office made up of over 300 attorneys of all different ages and experience levels. It was great to learn from both very experienced prosecutors and young attorneys right out of law school. I also had the opportunity to apply a lot of the material I learned in my evidence and criminal procedure courses to practical situations! The office coordinated lots of great programs for interns including presentations on different aspects of being a prosecutor, and trips to the county jail and medical examiner’s office. Thank you PSF for your generous assistance this summer. This experience cemented my desire to pursue a career in criminal prosecution and without funding from PSF this opportunity would not have been possible!