From reading the other WOW blogs, it sounds like everyone is having an amazing summer. As for me, I would have to say that my internship has definitely met and exceeded all of my expectations thus far. As an aspiring lawyer, the goal I was most excited about fulfilling this summer was getting an opportunity to experience the actual courtroom proceedings that take place in Manhattan Family Court. I expressed this desire to my supervisor at the onset of my internship and she has been quite accommodating in allowing me to gain exposure to a wide variety of different proceedings. It has been a great learning experience for me to observe courtroom procedure and to pick up on the often subtle nuances that distinguish the more refined lawyers from their peers. I was relatively familiar with how criminal courtrooms are run from previous experience but this internship has allowed me to broaden my perspective and such knowledge will be quite useful when the time comes for me to decide which type of law I would ultimately like to pursue.
Being a Sociology major, another goal that I had for the summer was to gain some real-life experiential learning to contrast with the theoretical knowledge I’ve acquired in the classroom. It is one thing to read about how social infrastructures, such as the legal system, can affect people’s lives but it is another thing entirely to experience first-hand the profound impact that even seemingly minute legal decisions can have on a client’s life. I have been fortunate in my short time at LFC to witness a broad spectrum of outcomes: from triumphant victories where families have been reunited to tragic cases where children are separated from their loved ones and placed in less than desirable living arrangements. The capricious nature of judges makes predicting such outcomes almost impossible; some are uplifting and others are heartbreaking but I’ve learned that, regardless of how invested I am in any particular child’s case, it is best to never take any decision personally. This is a piece of advice that was given to me by one of the veteran attorneys at LFC and I believe it to be absolutely imperative to maintaining one’s sanity in such a potentially overwhelming career. Such is a prime example of why interning at a place like LFC is truly an invaluable experience: having the opportunity to apply the sociological ideology I have acquired at Brandeis to real people’s lives has added a human element to my perspective that simply cannot be conveyed in any textbook.
At this juncture in my internship, what I am most proud of is the interpersonal connections that I have made this summer. I feel like my relative similarity in age and background has allowed me to establish common ground and to build a nice rapport with the clients with whom I have worked. I think being able to communicate and build relationships with all kinds of people is a fundamental skill that has been augmented significantly by this experience and one that I will be able to apply to both my future career and academic pursuits.
I can hardly believe the summer is halfway over already. I hope everyone enjoys the month or so we have left and I look forward to reading all about the awesome things everyone else is doing in their blogs.
A. Bray, 2013