This summer I have the amazing opportunity to intern at the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office. As I round off my first two weeks, I am starting to realize (with some relief, because I really didn’t have back-up plan) that deciding to go into the legal profession is the best choice I have ever made. Every week brings a new case load and each case is different – from things as minor as child support disputes to something as dramatic as a murder case. I love that I get to do something different every day, and I love how much interaction we have with clients. When you get to know the men, women and children behind the crimes, you start to see that they are all just people like you, not the morally-apathetic animals that the news can sometimes paint them as, and that many struggle with mental health problems, ptsd/trauma, family dysfunction, financial insecurity, and/or addiction. This internship has made me even more confident that I want to become a criminal defense attorney; I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.
The only thing that has been truly challenging for me so far in my internship has been keeping up with the pace of the work. There are so many legal terms to remember, so many court dates floating around the calendar, endless filing and memos to type, and just overall a busy office with a lot of different things going on. Thankfully, my attorney has been great at breaking the information down and walking me through things, while at the same time maintaining high expectations for me as an intern to meet and I appreciate the challenge in that. I have learned so much already and I am looking forward to having a bigger role in the cases as the weeks go on. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the summer holds. My goals are to interact more with the clients, become skilled enough to work more independently, and establish a good relationship with the rest of my fellow interns and the staff attorneys.