As part of my role as legal counsel intern I have the opportunity to go to the Philadelphia Municipal Court once a week to observe various types of judges and take notes on the cases I watch. This experience has two functions: one is purely for my education, the WLP wants me to get as much real-world legal experience as possible; the second is to ensure that the courts and judges are giving the women we are trying to help the fair treatment they deserve. Since I spend all day on the phone with women looking for answers to legal questions about filing for divorce, how the custody process plays out, what rights they have as a grandmother, where to safely get an abortion in Philadelphia, and various other legal-related questions it is of utmost importance that I understand how the legal system in this city works. My first day going to court I was assigned to an abuse judge, a judge who deals solely with domestic abuse cases. I had already spent a week and a half at my internship speaking to many women seeking protection orders, dealing with violations of their protection orders, and wanting to modify existing protection orders. I had been counseling them based only the information I had received in my training materials and in conversations with my supervisor so I was eager to get this experience in order to help my callers navigate the mega system more effectively. After a brief waiting period that followed a security clearance I was allowed into Judge Mallios’ courtroom. I observed a variety of abuse cases- some were the initial petition for an order, some were against abusers who had violated an order, and some were trials to ascertain whether a protection order was warranted. All-in-all I was impressed and relieved to see the compassionate, understanding, and respectful way Judge Mallios treated the women who came into the courtroom. He believed their stories, explained the legal jargon, and ran his courtroom efficiently. And he did this all while treating his staff well, keeping a smile on his face, and answering any questions I had about the process. My morning in the courtroom was a fantastic educational experience and I brought what I learned back to the office and was able to answer my callers questions
in a more in-depth manner.