Tuesday, July 1, 2008

US District Court for the District of Columbia

Michael Holt shares his experiences:

My first month as an intern here at the US District Court for the District of Columbia is nearly over and, I have to say, working for a federal judge is a pretty great 1L gig. It's also an experience that would be virtually impossible to realize without funding from EJF.

I can't imagine being exposed to such a wide array of cases, in such varying procedural stages, in any other setting. As an intern, I get to see arraignments, hearings, sentencings and all the various proceedings that come between. Being able to speak to the law clerks and the Judge before and after these proceedings has really given me an understanding of many of the nuances of courtroom procedure that would otherwise have gone over my head.

Thus far my assignments have kept me quite busy. Probably the most amazing part of this summer has been realizing that I'm actually capable of doing real legal work. The process of researching and writing is basically like that of completing LRW assignments, except that there is that added incentive of not wanting to be completely embarrassed in front of the law clerks. (I have never spent so much time double checking my cites...)

One of the great perks thus far has been the series of speakers that have come to talk to the law clerks this summer (we interns tag along, too). So far, we have had some prominent speakers from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Public Defender's Office, NPR and a 'BigLaw' DC firm. (Later in the summer, two Supreme Court Justices are dropping by to chat. Again, what an awesome job!) It's quite interesting to hear the anecdotes of these seasoned lawyers and Washingtonians. But it is even more interesting to hear their candid opinions about recent Supreme Court decisions, sentencing guidelines, and the legal profession in general.

This summer has really been great so far. And I can't help thinking that those folks at other law schools (who can't receive funding for judicial internships) are really missing out. Judges and law clerks are incredibly dedicated public servants. They are also wonderful resources for students who intend to one day pursue a career in government or in public interest law. I'm grateful that EJF recognizes this, and provides Georgetown Law students with the means to spend their 1L summer in such a wonderful legal setting.

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