Wednesday, September 16, 2009

DC Superior Court

By Jennifer Forde

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at the DC Superior Court for an associate judge serving in the Court’s civil division. There I had the opportunity to gain a lot of exposure to various areas of civil litigation. My primary responsibilities were to help prepare the Judge for hearings by drafting outlines of the relevant legal issues and to write orders resolving various disputes.
I worked on a broad range of legal issues, but my largest project of the summer involved a very complex dispute over a series of contracts involving multiple plaintiffs. Getting through the case at first was challenging. It took me nearly a week to read through all the motions, memoranda, and exhibits, but once I finally understood the case and the applicable law, I felt good about giving the judge my opinion on how he should rule.
I also had the opportunity to observe hearings, bench trials, and jury trials. In addition to the in-court observations of cases of my assigned judge, I would sometimes observe the courtrooms of other judges hearing high profile cases. This was a great opportunity to see lawyers present oral argument before the court. I had the opportunity to see what were persuasive techniques and styles of presentation, and what was less effective.
I really enjoyed the assignments that I was given, and the opportunity to work closely with the judge was a huge privilege for me. I know that I have substantially improved my legal research and writing skills through my summer experience. I would like to thank all the EJF contributors for helping to fund my summer learning experience.

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