Wednesday, August 17, 2022

At the time of writing I am about half way through my Amicus placement which began at the start of July 2022 and which is set to end in late September 2022, between my previous role as a criminal paralegal and, prior to the commencement of a criminal pupillage in the UK. I have been undertaking my placement in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where I was welcomed by the head of the office, a team of US law school interns and the attorneys.

Since arriving and settling in, I’ve had a steam of diverse and challenging work having been assigned to projects on about 4 or 5 different cases, some on an ongoing basis and others for one-off ad hoc tasks. For each case I’ve interacted with I’ve been able to work alongside the dedicated and diligent individuals who comprise the associated team. 

As an Amicus intern, assisting the office I’ve been able to experience what it’s like to work in the US Justice System. I’ve been able to sit in on office meeting and listen to attorneys discussing complex death penalty litigation. I’ve been able to read case briefs, transcripts, evidential papers, reports and rulings whilst working for attorneys, researchers, investigators and writers. As part of some of the teams I’ve assisted I’ve been able to produce follow up work: analysing papers, carrying out legal research and, drafting motions. Much of the follow up work pertains to the core and ever-changing issues central death penalty litigation such as: race, intellectual disability, lethal injection, biases and jury selection. As such work may eventually form part of the arguments submitted on a client’s behalf I feel I’ve been able to carry out work that really benefits the team and the clients. 

After a few weeks on my placement, I was able to visit one of the office’s long-term clients in prison with two attorneys. Having read their trial transcripts and having explored the complex litigation that has followed since, I was able to sit down with the client and their legal team whilst they discussed his case. I was also able to chat to the client about their life before and, beyond their case. Such work has been demanding both emotionally and intellectually, but overall, it has been a unique and rewarding experience. I’ve had the support of the office and the company of their other interns alongside all of this too. This Amicus placement, though not yet done is something I know I will remember for years to come and, it is something I would highly recommend.