Tuesday, July 29, 2008

US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

Daphne Lyman writes from New York:

Working at the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York in the Criminal Division is the best job ever. Just ask anybody who works here. Despite the hard work and government salary, the ability to “do the right thing” on a daily basis makes it all worth while. And the same goes for the interns.

Each of the 35 interns has been assigned to one or two attorneys, and while of course they are all involved in different cases at different stages of prosecution, I think everyone has had the opportunity to significantly contribute to a case. It is amazing to realize the fruits of your labor. Even the most minute research project can turn into a larger memo or brief that will have an impact on a person’s life, a person who we often get to see and even interact with. A few times, research I did on last minute issues for a suppression hearing was used as part of the government’s brief and/or oral argument. And I was able to attend those hearings and see the defendant and the process first hand.

My biggest project this summer has been on a sentencing, researching issues raised by the defendant’s objections to a Pre-Sentencing Report and then drafting the Government’s response. Other interns have worked on everything from drafting subpoenas and attending proffer sessions with cooperating witnesses, to trial preparation and trial itself, and finally through sentencing. I even helped one of my attorneys prepare for her first oral argument on an appeal brought by the defendant before the Second Circuit.

When we are not busy hunkered down in the library or accompanying our attorneys on their quest for justice, we attend trials at the federal courthouse down the street. There is always something exciting going on- an opening statement in a drug trafficking trial, a summation in a murder trial, or the cross-examination of the defendant in an organized crime trial, for example. This job has been an amazing experience in criminal law, litigation, and the actual pursuit of justice, as cheesy as it sounds, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

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Equal Justice Foundation

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