The past six weeks have flown by! It feels like my program just started, yet, this time next month, everyone will be back at their respective colleges or law schools and the program will be over. I almost wish that I could slow time down (for some parts of the internship; I am in no hurry to slow down the copy machine- it is slow enough as it is!) because I am really enjoying my time at the US Attorney’s Office – except for the part where I have to wear a suit to work everyday in 95 degree heat!
Before the summer began, my primary goal was to prepare myself for an entry-level position in the legal field when I graduate next year — that’s the goal of any internship I suppose: job preparation. And while I have gained exposure to legal motions and briefs, and drafted several responses myself, most of the learning that I will take away from this experience will be from observing the Assistant US Attorneys and their routines. From the outside looking in, being a lawyer calls to mind images of attorneys experiencing thrilling arguments with their opposing counsel in a courtroom and feeling the euphoria of having their objection sustained – people expect attorneys to spend most of their time standing in front of a jury, and dazzling them with their rhetoric, like on TV shows such as CSI. In reality, though, what I’ve found is that most of the attorneys I work with spend 90 percent of their time behind their desk preparing for cases that may never make it to trial.
Nevertheless, the office keeps its interns busy — half of the time I enter the office in the morning expecting to work on one project, and finish the day not having done a thing for that project because I was assigned three other priority cases to work on. Lucky for me, we record all of our assignments on a daily log, which serves as a helpful reminder for what projects we’ve finished and what we still need to do.
I split my time between researching cases in the library, organizing exhibits for trial into binders and boxes in the office and observing or assisting trials in courtrooms.
So far, the most fun that I’ve had has been getting to know my fellow interns, most of whom have taken me under their wing and given me tons of advice for law school. I’m going to miss our lunchtime arguments about which superhero movie series was the best or which team will win the World Series this year. Just this afternoon, we all played softball against the clerk’s office — it was the Assistant US Attorneys and their paralegals and interns against the judges, court martials and their interns. Unfortunately, we didn’t stand a chance – nobody expected that federal judges could hit 300 foot fly balls!
As one last note: something that I’ve learned about the legal field in the last six weeks is that detail matters. If the font on the cover page of the exhibit binders is not the same size for all 4 sets, they need to be redone; you need to cite the jurisdiction for any case that you include in a legal brief, not just the name and the year; and most of all, always remind your superiors to “shake it off” after they strike out at the plate.
– Ricky Rosen ’14