Monday, January 14, 2019

Summer Lovin'... My Job

What did I do last summer? Oh, just solidified what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, no big deal.

Last summer, I finally got to put all of that basic legal education to work as a law clerk at the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. For those of you that may not know, 1Ls are not supposed to work, so the summer after 1L is the first chance you get to put your newfound legal education to the test. I chose to do that in the criminal law field.

When I was applying for jobs, Sacramento was my first choice because I knew the office had a great reputation among Loyola alums and the majority of my family lives in Sacramento County (aka free rent and food and cable and all of the amazing perks that come with pretending you still live at home with your parents). I am thankful that I was offered the job because I learned more than I could have ever hoped.

My responsibilities as a law clerk included going to arraignment court multiple times a week, working up misdemeanor case files, and doing projects and research for different felony units. I enjoyed all of these tasks for different reasons. When it came to arraignment court, I mostly observed and helped keep files organized for the attorneys because I could not speak on the record (for future reference, you can speak on the record as a certified law clerk, but in order to become certified, you have to take Evidence, which you do not take until 2L year). However, there is just an amazing rush that comes from being in the courtroom and feeling the fast pace of it all, even when you cannot speak on the record.

Then there was the puzzle that came with working up case files: this meant that I would receive a new misdemeanor file and make a plea offer recommendation to the DDA (Deputy District Attorney) handling the case. No incoming case is the same and every set of facts is going to be different and change the recommendations you make to your supervisor, so it is always a new challenge. Finally, projects and research is exactly what it sounds like, except more exciting than you think. I had the opportunity to work with the majority of the felony units in the office, including Homicide, Sexual Abuse and Child Abuse, Career Criminal, and more, and each assignment that they gave me was completely different and utterly fascinating.

I also spent the last part of the summer commuting back to Los Angeles for boot camp. What is boot camp you ask? No, it isn’t a work out class (Gym? I don’t know him), it was a weeks long training for the Byrne Trial Advocacy Team (Loyola’s nationally ranked trial team) before the school year starts. Boot camp ended with a trial where I made pre-trial motions, direct-examined, cross-examined, and delivered a closing argument. That feeling in the courtroom I mentioned earlier? It is still exactly the same when the case is a trial advocacy case. Thank goodness, or else I don’t know if I would be able to last until next summer.

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