Through the Adams Center at SU, I was able to secure an internship with the Snyder County District Attorney. The experience was of incalculable value. It gave me an opportunity to observe and, in many instances, participate in the daily dealings of individuals working in the legal profession and the justice system more broadly. Through my tenure as an intern at the district attorney’s office, I was able to observe both the rewarding aspects of a law career, as well as the more troublesome or stressful circumstances that may face a legal professional at any given point in time. As someone who intends to pursue a career in law, I was grateful for the opportunity to gain insight as to how the world of a legal professional unfolds on a daily basis.
My tasks at the district attorney’s office were varied, and each allowed me to get a look at the skills essential to a practicing attorney. Some of my work was office-based, such as researching legal cases pertaining to certain topics and writing briefs on these cases. I would also occasionally assist the District Attorney’s paralegal and secretaries with various tasks such as filing, paperwork and paper shredding. I was also responsible for a long-term research project throughout the semester in which I gathered data regarding all of the Snyder County DUI offenders from the years 2010 and 2011. I used this data to observe whether or not underage drinking offenses were a precursor for individuals who commited DUI offenses on a repetitive basis. The district attorney expressed the desire to in the future create a program which will target repeat DUI offenders based on my findings from this research project.
On days in which court proceedings were held, I was able to accompany the district attorney into the courtroom and view firsthand various proceedings including criminal trials, jury selection, bench hearings, bail revocation hearings and juvenile adjudication hearings. Also on a few occasions, I traveled with the district attorney to the office of District Judge Lori Hackenburg, where I observed a series of preliminary hearings. While all aspects of my internship were valuable, I felt that the observance of courtroom proceedings was of most value because it allowed for me to observe the formal rules and customs utilized throughout various court proceedings, and it allowed me to observe how legal professionals present themselves in a formal court setting.