On days we don’t have a docket we contact our clients to conduct pretrial interviews and help them decide what they want to do when their court date arrives. Although many of our clients don’t answer our calls for no good reason, some of them have the excuse of being behind bars. In these cases, I get the opportunity to visit them at the jail.
Visiting the jail each week has reduced the stigma I once had towards inmates. On my first visit I was really nervous. Not because I didn’t feel safe (there is plenty of surveillance), but because I didn’t know how to speak to the inmates, who I had always viewed as a lower class of people that are a hazard to society. After my first visit my view changed for the better. Although some inmates are true outsiders, the majority of them are normal people who have just made some bad decisions in life. I found that I can speak to inmates the same as I would anyone else, and have began to look forward to my jail visits and the experience I gain from them.
On each of these jail visits I have been accompanied by a law student intern, which has provided me with another new perspective. As I stated in my first blog, the reason I am doing this internship is to be exposed to the legal system and figure out if law school is right for me. I wanted to find out what it would be like to be an attorney, but I realized that I completely skipped the step of finding out what it would be like to be a law student. Although I never assumed law school would be easy, I didn’t realize it would be as challenging as the law students have described it. Once a fellow intern even joked that being in jail would be preferable to some of their courses.
Gaining a better understanding of the difficulty of law school has made me consider this decision much more seriously. During the past few weeks I have been researching the process of applying to law school and the life of a law student, so I understand what it truly means to go down that path.