I have only spent two days at my internship, and yet I have been kindly reprimanded for my shoe choice once already and workplace culture is startlingly apparent. I owe my relatively fast adjustment (although the jury’s still out..no pun intended) to my supervisor, who has made it her mission to impress to us interns the importance of respecting the strict but unspoken norms of the courthouse. Some of the nuggets of wisdom my supervisor has supplied me with are as follows:
- Do not talk to a judge or referee unless they talk to you first. Never offer your hand unless they have deigned to do so first. Respect the hierarchy.
- Think of the most conservative, professional outfit you have ever worn and then up the conservativeness and professional-ness ten times. This is how you should dress while in court.
- Remember that your behavior reflects on the judge and act accordingly.
Despite the intimidating-sounding rules and culture of the courthouse, it is a place I am growing to love. People are friendly and want to help you learn in a multitude of ways. The courthouse is not a place to mess around, it is a place to listen and to grow. When I first heard about some of this intense culture during my interview, I thought that I might not thrive in this environment. However, I have felt the opposite so far. I believe that the high expectations of behavior will put me in a professional crucible of sorts, making me into a more refined, thoughtful, articulate, and confident person. I could not be more excited to be a part of this work culture.