Is good. Very very good. So good in fact that I feel I ought to be paying *them* money for the experience, rather than working for free and having the EJF pick up my tab.
The office is staffed by committed, passionate, yet down-to-earth attorneys who aren’t afraid to laugh at some of the things that roll through the place. I’m impressed by both their compassion and their skills as advocates. There’s little or no bullshit and the office is very casual – we can wear jeans on some days when we’re not in court. The best part of the day is lunch, where everyone gathers around the conference room table and talks a comfortable blend of shop and casual conversation. Some of the stories these guys have are amazing.
I’m assigned to a young attorney who handles mostly misdemeanors and spend (thusfar) my much of my day in court, at his elbow. Recently I watched him assemble a very strong case out of next to nothing – it was like watching someone make bread out of straw. Part of my day is for calling clients and witnesses, and generally shooting the shit about all the cases in the office (which range from misdemeanors to capital cases). Another prong of the internship is a lecture/exercise/research prong. Thus far we’ve gotten a crash course on criminal procedure for our jurisdiction which was immeasurably helpful – I really feel like all the points of confusion have been cleared up well enough so that I can follow along without difficultly and begin to predict likely outcomes.
I’m also enjoying the fellow interns: The Persian, the Dapper Floridian, and SurferDude are all from my section, so among the 11 or so interns, we form a small and odd block. Had I been the only one, I’d enjoy myself just as much I think – my new fellow interns are all pretty laid back (as far as law students go) and are pretty communicative about what they’re working on.
In terms of applying my first year knowledge, some of it has come in handy – specifically the “big picture” stuff: policy arguments, etc. There’s a recurring issue with abduction that would comfortably find a home in a number of my classes (the prosecutors want to tack it on to everything, raising a 5 year offense to 5 plus however many extra years the abduction would add on (in some cases doubling the sentence), which raises issues of just where the authority to determine appropriate punishment lies. I’d have to say the line “We’re all Realists (Legal Realism) now,” has been rattling about my brain quite often. Strategies are formulated with judges in mind, and there’s a lot of prediction/speculation over how things “actually turn out” rather than how things ought to turn out based on an abstract system of jurisprudence. While I want the abstract theory, the idealized stuff, I personally work better when I have an understanding of "how it is" (however subjective and limited) that I can play off against "how it ought to be".