In this case, my stint in the county court. I was transferred to the Juvenile court division of my office, and my first day will be on Monday.
In attempts to figure out "what's going on" in most large organizations, you usually live off rumor and innuendo, grounded in some extrapolation off the way things "are normally done." Here, you get a closed door meeting with the top officers about what's going on with your career - where you are going and why. While there's never complete certainty, nor complete transparency (understandably, given the confidences that must be kept), I remain impressed with how the office handles these type of things - both with their frankness and the planning in husbanding our increasingly limited resources (i.e., us) in the face of increasingly brutal caseloads.
Juvie is going to be an adjustment. The main difference will be that I will have no juries. I will be handing some felony cases and my clients will be teenagers. So in some ways it will be more like my DC clinical experiences than my first year in Couny was. I'm going to miss my juries though. County court is just a fantastic place to work, and every day something unique, funny, and challenging happens.
While I'm eager for the new challenges that come from moving to a new court (in many ways, it will be like moving to a strange city), I'm somewhat sad to leave my clients, my judges, my trial partners, my friends in the office, and all those people whom I've just come to know, on some level, over the course of my time here - corrections officers, clerks, court reporters, baliffs, psychologists, translators, social workers - you name 'em. On the other hand, I'm really not leaving some of them behind, and I'll be re-united with some of my old trial partners who have already cycled over to the Juvenile division.
I had a nice farewell lunch down by the river in one of our PD haunts, and also got some props during our final office meeting. In the course of these send-offs, I was surprised to learn two things, 1) that in the past 5 years, I apparently have the highest number of trials for any PD moving through the county office, 2) the current batch of State Attorneys have given me the nickname of "The Cleaner." I'm proud of both for different reasons - but not in the least that they both reflect my general policy of talking softly but carrying a big stick. I'd like to think it's helped a number of my clients, but even so, looking back over the year I have regrets. I suppose hindsight is 20-20, and then there's the argument that perfection (for most of us) indicates a caution which produces its own often hidden costs and casualties. However, while I've forgotten some of the trials that I've won, I remember each and every trial loss I've had. Some were out of my hands from the get go, others I'd handle differently, now that I have more experience. Still, they're there in my brain the way the victories are not.
The one regret I don't have, the one that makes it all right, is that I've never "forced" a client to take a plea they didn't want, nor have I ever "forced" someone to go into a trial (no matter how promising or how doomed it looked). (I use the quotes because of course one must objectively assess the clients cases and sometimes say, "The bad points are A,B,C,D,E and F. The good point is that they didn't paper this as a felony." Or vice versa.)
In the end though, this really should be an egoless job, or, more properly, your ego should be made to serve good ends. You fight for your clients on so many different levels, trying to redeem something for them; even if the legal case is hopeless, the people who are accused never are.