The Public Interest Law Project Award for the summer of 2018 allowed me to work and serve my community as a law clerk for the Washington County District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for protecting the public and the community of Washington County and prosecutes both misdemeanor and felony crimes. During my summer at the DA’s Office, I was able to work on a magnitude of different projects and cases for several different attorneys. From misdemeanors to felonies, I received a first-hand look and was able to experience how all cases work through the criminal justice system and specifically, a prosecutor’s role in these cases. Working with different deputy district attorneys also allowed me to receive a wide variety of mentorship and skills that I would have not gained in the classroom.
I experienced and had the opportunity to work on a variety of different assignments including completing research and writing projects that directly related to ongoing criminal cases. I assisted both felony and misdemeanor deputy district attorneys with various motions and responses, including responses to motions to suppress and memos on direct matters involving procedure and evidence. Lastly, I was able to learn all the steps of trial and assist attorneys in their preparations and trial materials. Through watching various trials, I was also given the opportunity to experience the courtroom setting and observe the step-by-step process of a full trial, including jury selection and observing pretrial motions.
One of the largest impacts I experienced was the role that prosecutors had in regards to victim rights. These skilled and professional attorneys not only represent the state but also can have a strong impact on closure for victims. Overall, this experience allowed me to cultivate a further love of the legal field. The attorneys I met and had the chance to work with inspired me to continue to grow my love for public interest work, and I am very grateful for the opportunity presented to me at the Washington County District Attorney’s Office through PILP.