Sunday, June 22, 2008
Federal Court- Southern District of New York
My first week as an intern for a federal judge in the SDNY was as interesting and capturing as reading a bestselling page-turner. When I arrived early Monday morning, I was greeted by the judge’s two law clerks, who showed me my computer and desk. Just as I sat down to admire my thirteenth-floor view that overlooked lower Manhattan, I was told we were going to court because the judge was hearing a civil trial for the next two days.
The trial was an introduction to how informative and engaging the judge would be. During each break, the judge took time to explain to us certain legal nuisances that occurred in the courtroom and to advise us on what she thought were the good (and not so good) habits of the attorneys. After trial ended, the judge treated us to lunch on Wednesday where the topics of conversation ranged from law to theater to literature. The judge was eager to share her opinions, but she was even more interested in what we had to say.
The judge’s law clerks perfectly complemented her warmness with their enthusiasm and willingness to mentor me and the two other interns. Although they were inundated with work, the law clerks took additional time to explain the issues that arose in their cases. Because they believed it was a two-way street, they gave us the responsibility to independently draft memos that they would edit and then send to the judge. However, the best part of my first week was the lunches that we ate together every day in chambers. The law clerks, the deputy clerk, the other interns, and I sat around a big table and chatted about pending cases, legal gossip, and just about our lives.
I cannot imagine a better first week and I am thankful to EJF for making this experience feasible.