U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York - Mary Claire Bartlett

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York, 2016

FileView Presentation (PPTX)

My internship with Judge Pollak was a perfect window into the inner workings of the legal system, and an incredible learning experience.  Since day one, Judge Pollak and her clerks showed a genuine willingness to teach me as much as possible, answer all of my questions, and ensure that my internship was a useful and rewarding experience.

As an intern for a U.S. Magistrate Judge, I worked under the two clerks in the Judge’s chambers, who gave me my assignments and provided me with feedback once my work was complete.  As a general matter, I was assigned cases on the Judge’s motions list and asked to draft the first copy of the Judge’s opinion. Her clerks would present me with a case, explain the procedural background up until this point, and describe what legal question I would need to research and eventually rule on.  From there, I would perform legal research to determine what other judges have done in situations similar to the one I was examining.  Then, with careful consideration of the specific details of my case, I would draft an opinion according to the legal precedents identified in my research.  I would then receive feedback and edits from the law clerks and Judge Pollak.  Ultimately, after all of the edits were made, the Judge would give me permission to file the opinion.  While these tasks were certainly not easy, especially at first, watching the final product be submitted was incredibly satisfying.  During my time, I felt so fortunate to have an internship that required me to use my brain, cultivate a skill, learn new concepts, and hone my writing skills.  I was shocked by how short the days felt, and how quickly the internship flew by.

In addition to drafting opinions, I had the opportunity to observe ongoing trials happening throughout the Courthouse.  I watched numerous criminal trials, including felony murder and armed robbery trials, which was an experience I had only had through a television screen.  The time I spent in the courtroom watching trials was some of the most fascinating moments of the internship, and gave me a new perspective on the legal system and what it would be like to work within it.

All in all, this experience has been educational, challenging, and enjoyable.  Thank you to PICS and all the alumnae donors for making it possible—I am extremely grateful.