Editor’s Note: Each summer Penn Law students hone their skills through a wide array of private and public sector internships across the country and around the world. Generous financial support and fellowships for international and public interest work enable students to pursue diverse assignments in the United States and abroad. This post from Emily Lubin L’19 is one in a series of firsthand accounts detailing how students’ summer employment opportunities are preparing them for their legal careers.
Lubin is from Winter Haven, Florida and is in the Class of 2019.
This summer, I am interning with the Alaska Public Defender Agency in Fairbanks, Alaska. As a hopeful future public defender, this internship has been the perfect way to work on my legal skills in a unique location.
As a legal intern, I work on misdemeanor cases from arraignment to close. I appear in court almost every day and make arguments at arraignments, bail hearings, calendar calls, and changes of plea. I meet with clients to discuss their cases, review discovery, and write motions to suppress evidence. At an evidentiary hearing on a speedy trial issue, I questioned a witness and made an oral argument, resulting in a positive outcome for a client. I expect to do a full trial before I leave Fairbanks. I am constantly inspired by the talented attorneys at the Agency, and grateful to have the opportunity to do this important work with the people I represent.
In addition to my legal work, I am enjoying the beauty of Alaska. The sun stays out all night in the summer, leading to events like the Midnight Sun Game featuring the Alaska Goldpanners (the resident baseball team). Fairbanks also hosts the annual Rubber Duckie Race as well as the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. I traveled to Girdwood, Alaska for the Alaska Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers conference – not only did I learn a lot about various criminal justice topics, but I also climbed the Alyeska North Face Trail.
My time at Penn Law prepared me for this internship. My participation in the Criminal Record Expungement Project gave me essential experience working with clients. I use Constitutional Criminal Procedure, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence every day. The Trial Practice Skills Bootcamp gave me an integral overview of the trial process. The Intramural Mock Trial Tournament and the Keedy Cup Preliminaries helped me to understand how to think quickly and analyze opposing arguments. Legal Practice Skills is just as essential in my 2L summer as in my 1L summer. I am grateful to everyone in the Toll Public Interest Center and Career Planning & Professionalism for their support.
This internship has been very helpful for my future career in public defense. My ability to work with clients and my public speaking skills have improved with the help of my supervising attorney. I am exposed to all aspects of the criminal process. Working with clients in a completely different community allows me to broaden my understanding of the various structural issues that individuals face. This summer has only deepened my motivation to pursue a career in public defense.