Justice In Action (or Watching the “Little Guy” Stick it to “the Man”)
ORIGINALLY POSTED 7/14/10–Clearly law school summers are continuations of the semester rat race with only a change of venue. One of my co-interns and I were discussing how first semester 1Ls have the best life and don’t even know it. Socratic method aside, there’s a crazy amount of hand-holding and accommodation afforded to 1Ls because everyone expects you to be clueless. Around November of 1L you meet Career Services and that’s when you’re officially in the race.
Case in point: Here I am mid-internship, and I am already looking to find another awesome placement for NEXT summer. My resume, writing samples and cover letters are done and I’m registered for several job fairs. This, my friends, is what they don’t tell you: after that first semester plan to add essentially another course to your schedule called “Job Hunting.” It’s totally an independent study course so nobody’s gonna pressure you to get stuff done, but don’t expect much if you don’t do much. I guess when everyone else has a summer internship and you don’t that’s the equivalent of a big fat “F.” And so it goes….
Last week I went to Municipal court and watched trials. As we two interns sat with the prosecutor I noticed that people looked at us differently. We did the obligatory whispering and shared information as the witnesses testified. We had to look like a formidable group; three of us against one pro se defendant. I tried really hard to listen to the cases objectively and, in my head, pick sides based on who made their case. In one trial I watched a Spanish-speaking defendant argue his way out of a public intoxication ticket using a translator. It was a weak case and so when the judge said “not guilty” I had a hard time not smiling. The defendant’s closing got to me: He asked why, in the absence of proof (no video, no sobriety test), his word was worth less than that of an officer. I hope that this experience demonstrated to him and his family that the justice system, although imperfect, strives to do the right thing.