Nature of the Job

At about the half way point now I’m checking in with my first post. Better late than never I suppose. I learned quickly that my internship is a lot of what you make it. With about ten other students holding the same position as me, I’ve seen about ten different approaches. This speaks to the flexibility and freedom of the job, a work environment that I appreciate. My level of supervision is low, but the expectations for my work are high. I’m being evaluated by my bosses based on what I produce for them in terms of quality and speed. They aren’t looking on to me and judging me based on how busy I look, which is something I can’t stand so I consider my self very fortunate because I did not realize the internship would be like that. I could have inferred however, because I did know that a lot of my work would be outside of the office. I’ve been doing things such as tracking down witnesses, interviewing them, searching for public and private surveillance footage, attaining said surveillance footage, taking pictures etc. (I’m working at a criminal defense firm). This is something that all the interns are doing but there is still a lot of room to make it your own like I said. Some of the interns want to complete as many investigations as possible and will go to as many lawyers as they can asking for work, but the consequence of that is they don’t become all that in depth with each case, especially from a legal angle. Doing an investigation is one thing, but making a legal decision about what to do with the information is what separates lawyers from investigators. Something I have enjoyed is returning to the office from an investigation, telling the lawyer what he/she needs to know, and then discussing what to do with that information, how we will use it to help the client. For example, I went on an investigation and discovered some information about the past of a complaining witness (i.e. the enemy of our client). I watched the lawyer take the information I’d given about her boyfriend and her criminal record and do some research to confirm the extent of their records. He them explained to me how he would use this to discredit her in court. Some interns in my position would not have taken part in that and would have instead completed another investigation. that’s a strategy that works well for some of them who plan to work as an investigator before law school. I, however, am more interested in using investigations to learn how to be a lawyer. I’ve heard on that job that in order to instruct your investigators you need to be able to do investigations yourself, so you can put yourself in others’ shoes. So that’s the advantage that I see. More to come soon; in my next post I’ll share some specific anecdotes about some of my Manhattan investigations.

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