I am in the last two weeks of my internship at the Public Defenders office and I can confidently say it was an incredible experience and I learned much more about my career path in law than I had known previously known. Prior to working there I had a good idea of how hectic and long an attorney’s schedule can be, but actually working along side them showed me the impressive flexibility with scheduling and rescheduling that these people put up with. Not to mention, the stamina it takes to have a non-stop work day where things can change in an instant. With such a large case load at the Public Defenders these attorneys can be stretched pretty thin sometimes which requires them to juggling tons of details regarding dozens of clients all at once. Just getting a small taste of this as an intern working on a few cases was a great learning experience and honestly very exciting to try and keep up with and adjust when needed. Days like those are what I feel has really helped prepare me for law school and my career. I also recently had the chance to see a full trial start to end which is very interesting for someone in this field. The fact that these can go on for hours and each side must have all statements, witnesses, and any relevant documents prepared and not let fatigue get in the way of presenting a solid case to the judge.
I also would like to offer up some advice to people who may do this internship in the future which I strongly suggest. One of the best pieces of advice I can offer is to tailor your interning schedule as best you can to the attorney’s schedule that you work for. Do anything possible to work on the days they are in court and the day/s leading up to those court days. This allows a couple things to happen: 1. you can more effectively prepare for the case with your attorney prior to the court day. So you are well informed and can learn the skill of writing case summaries in a way that distills main points and provides details needed for court. 2. Being able to be present in court and shadow the attorney as they work is definitely the best part of the whole experience. Not only is a great first hand experience of how hearings and trials work as a lawyer it also shows you the interpersonal skills required by these professionals. Seeing them interact with incarcerated clients, juvenile clients, judges, prosecutors, and more reveals how good a person really needs to be with many different people in many different scenarios. My other piece of advice for anyone doing this internship would be to learn to love paperwork and reports. The constant flow of new client reports never really ends and is always part of the job. Turn this into something that is a challenge for you to complete and learn to enjoy getting through it all and being able to write and talk about all these different cases like an expert.