« on: May 13, 2008, 07:02:26 PM »
When I interned for a judge, he required that I observe court proceedings and then go into chambers and talk with him about what happened (he did most of the talking). This is pretty common. It helped to understand what was going on so I could ask intelligent questions. Brush up on the fundamentals of evidence and crim pro. Just knowing the steps of criminal proceedings in the particular court is important so you know what's going on (i.e. are you watching a prelim or a trial).
Also, I took a few notes during the proceedings and jotted down my questions so I'd have something to talk about in chambers.
As to written work, I had a tendency to try and turn things around very quickly. But don't get too excited about working quickly. It's a good idea to take a fresh look at your work before turning it in. Also don't forget to shepardize. It's much better to do 6 quality assignments than 10 rushed ones. You want the clerk/judge to feel confident in your work. If they find a big mistake, such as, you cited bad law, they won't have that confidence and their opinion of you will suffer. But save asking for help for when you really are confused and have tried researching the issue yourself.
I liked to be social with other interns and go out to lunch etc., but when it came down to actually doing work, I used an earplug and got down to business. If you are socializing the whole day, and don't focus for more than 5 minutes at a time, then your written work will suffer.
Aside from written work, try to observe as many interesting proceedings as you can (including in other courtrooms), even if it cuts into your time doing written work. You may want to take a few notes of what you observe, including what you like and don't like about how the attorneys present themselves.
Finally, don't count out criminal law yet!