Tag Archives: Law

The Life of a College Intern

There is no question that I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for my internship. I wanted to be an intern ever since I was a freshman, but the opportunity never came along. Well, let me rephrase that, I could never afford to forgo work in order to do an internship. However, during my junior year, I found myself with the opportunity and a supporting partner- so I became an intern.

I wanted  it to be related to the legal field, but I also didn’t want to be in a firm, getting coffee for everyone. Though I must say I love Starbucks runs. The opportunity then was working for the Small Claims Advisory Program*. There I advice self-help litigants on the procedure of small claims court. I have learned a great deal about civil procedure, but Small Claims is still significantly different from what I want to do- for starters, Small Claims Court doesn’t allow attorneys unless there is an appeal. And even then, they are allowed, but not required.

I have gone through over two-thirds of the program so far, and until recently, my experience had been mixed. Unlike most college students who get to intern, I am also working part-time. This situation produces schedule conflict, and an overly tired and overworked intern- me. Yet, even with how mixed my experience has been, I still thought it to be worth it and would recommend it to anyone. Why?

Unlike most part-time jobs you can get, internships usually allow you to get some experience in your field. This helps graduate and professional schools (if that’s your goal) to see that you do know what you’re getting yourself into. Most interns are grouped into a handful of interns under the supervision of a staff person who might get to know you well enough to write you a recommendation letter. Furthermore, being an intern takes a great deal of commitment. Let’s face it, if you can be responsible when you’re not getting a paycheck at the end of the week, imagine the kind of work ethic you would have when there’s an economic incentive attached to your contract? And last, but not least, being able to balance an internship with school and your social life shows that you can balance your life and this is a quality employers (and grad  and professional schools) really like.

The cool part (for me, at least) is that my internship came with really awesome perks. Despite of the great deal of whining that has come out of my mouth because of the commute to downtown L.A. (don’t judge unless you’ve lived it), I’ve got a chance to do two very cool things.

On Monday, I got to shadow a judge. This was one of the most amazing experience I’ve had in my life. The judge was from the juvenile dependency court. And even though I am not allowed to speak about what happened, let me say that it was so touching, that I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up representing children for a living. When people talk about “making a difference,” this is truly a place and career in which you could actually (and directly) make a difference.

Fast forward to this morning, when I got to chaperone high school students to a mock trial at a District Court. Now this experience wasn’t as eye-opening as the last one, but there is something about public service that rewards you in ways other things do not.

Anyhow, are you thinking of doing an internship? Go for it! And if you haven’t thought about it yet, hopefully this post might encourage you to try it. It’s really never too late to do one, I am a senior. AND! I almost forgot. It is also a nice way to expand your network.

-Mrs. This One 

*Although I am an intern for such office, my internship is not directly with that office.

Hanging by a Moment

Today my work hours were cut. Starting this week, I will be 250 dollars short per month. I was given no prior notice, and in fact, I wasn’t even told that it had happened. I felt my stomach sink.

I have probably mentioned already how this summer we’re really tight on money- this won’t make it any better. I didn’t look for another job before the summer started because my boss told me I was going to be able to work close to full-time over the summer. Then, all of sudden, management changed their mind.

Because I am a “working student,” they feel it is okay to do this. But it really isn’t. This is my life they’re playing with. I may be a student, but I’m also a student who has bills to pay and needs money to buy food. They’ll get away with it though, because I’m disposable and they can just fire me- if they feel like it.

I looked into other jobs already but I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get anything better. It is the middle of the summer after all, so finding a summer job might not be so easy at this time. If only I would have been told differently before, I could have had another job and not worry about how we’ll make it through now. People wonder why we have lawyers, but it is for moments like this one. Too bad I cannot afford one right now, and no one would probably take me that seriously on this. I still insist this is my life they’ve messed up with.

My break is about to be over and I will be off sometime this afternoon. Then the Mrs. and I will be able to sit down and talk about this. After all, we’re a team (thankfully) and I don’t have to deal with this all by myself. I just wish we didn’t have to deal with it at all. Though not to the same degree, I feel for the people who get laid off- I wonder if employers have the slightest clue of how much they can impact, in a negative way, someone else’s life.


Research, Law, and the Whole Casey Anthony Thing

I’ve always wanted to do research, but I’ve never found myself able to. I want to learn new things, understand why some things happen, and make some sense out of ’em. You’d think that sounds easy enough, right? That’s why I jumped to the opportunity to join a professor on her research. Though I understand that this is her research and I’m just an assistant, I’m just still waiting to see more than the small tasks I’ve been working on so far.

I want a little bit more action, but I don’t think I’ll see it until the day I do my own research. So why haven’t I? The first factor has been lack of time. The second factor, lack of chance, or opportunity. And the third, and probably the most important one, has a lot to do with the fact that I’m still not doing my thing. I love political science and all, but law and justice are my thing.

Take the Casey Anthony trial as an example. I know that this has caused a lot of anger/controversy/shock/happiness to different people (who are not even directly affected by it), but there is more to a case than a verdict that people agree or don’t agree with. In fact, cases like this one are the reason why lawyers have such a bad reputation. But this is why I think law is such an unexplored and overstated field.

The problem is not how a guilty person can walk away unpunished, but why these types of things happen. Let’s review: There are two sides to every case (most of the time). We can agree that each side’s advocate(s) will try to win. But the logic is that if someone is guilty of something, there has to be a way to prove it. This is where we can all agree that evidence is key. After all, it was lack of evidence that made it impossible to tie Anthony to any charge of murder. But can we go beyond hard facts to prove something? Can we look into behavior? These are the types of questions that one day I would love to work on- even if there are people who have been working on them already.

And about the verdict, you may criticize Jose Baez all you want, but if you really think she was guilty, I say criticize the prosecutors for failing.

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