Friday, September 30, 2016

I feel very fortunate to have been able to volunteer at Amicus as an office intern over the last few months, as it has provided me with the exposure I felt I needed prior to starting a graduate diploma in law. In fact I wasn’t completely set on studying law at all until about a month into my internship. Being exposed to what Amicus does for so many people across the Atlantic further fuelled my desire to study law as a means to help less fortunate people. I feel very privileged to have been able to intern for a legal charity prior to opening a statute book and for this I owe a great deal to Maroshini, Florence, Margot and Rianne for allocating me work containing such sensitive information.   

My primary task upon arrival was to update membership details. This is done through the SalesForce CRM and is vital to ensuring that members receive journals and information surrounding the charity is sent to the correct email and physical addresses. It is also very important for the charity as payments need to be logged correctly to avoid financial errors. I am very thankful to Maroshini, Florence and Margot for allowing me time to get to grips with Salesforce and all of the customisable options and filters it allows. I have gained a great deal of CRM knowledge during my internship that I didn't have at all prior to starting at Amicus. I was also assigned tasks to help improve the website. These tasks included editing images and text. This was extremely satisfying as my opinions on the designs seemed to hold weight with the office and due to this I was given a lot of creative freedom. I was also entrusted with casework. My tasks involved assembling a timeline and a people’s list from various governmental documents which I had never done prior to this. In effect I was able to shadow a criminal solicitor and see how casework is undertaken, which was very beneficial to me as I plan to continue helping with casework on a pro bono basis once I qualify. 

Naturally, the first few weeks lacked certain freedom with regards to my tasks, as I had to effectively prove that I was capable of working on my own without causing huge errors. Once I had proven myself, I was often asked by Florence “what do you want to do” and “what would be fun for you to do”. This freedom is extremely hard to find elsewhere. After this my tasks become very varied and nothing ever felt laborious, as I was able to break up daunting tasks with little tasks in between.

I was also lucky enough to attend the Amicus US Death Penalty Training, where I was able to hear the powerful story of Peter Pringle and Sonny Jacobs. Although I was unfortunately unable to attend the last day, the training further spurred my interest in the death penalty, as there are a number of powerful speakers eloquently addressing the procedures and harm of capital punishment. 

I have gained profound respect for Amicus and its employees and I have seen and heard the great work they do, so to speak, from the horse’s mouth. I have been fortunate enough to communicate with a death row prisoner whilst interning at Amicus. Amicus has been supporting the case of this inmate for over a decade, and the amount of gratitude a man can show in such dismal conditions is really a testament to his character. I will remain in contact with him and Amicus for a long, long time.

Thank you Maroshini, Florence and Margot for all the patience you have displayed towards me, including the patience surrounding this blog post that has been delayed by five days! I’m sure our paths will cross again.