UCDC Spring 2023: The Practice of Law in DC: From the Public Defender's Service to the Supreme Court

March 6, 2023

Since coming to Washington D.C., I have been extremely busy—but in the best way! As an intern with the Public Defender’s Service, I have been immersed in criminal defense investigations, trial preparation, and post-trial sentencing. Not only have I had access to the guidance of law clerks, investigators, and attorneys, but I have been entrusted with casework that directly impacts the lives of our clients. My internship experience continues to teach me the importance of having zealous advocates for indigent clients in the criminal justice system.

When I am not interning, I have been able to go out and explore! I have taken advantage of the metro pass provided by UCDC and a seemingly unlimited list of experiences in Washington. To name a few, I have visited the National Zoo, the National Gallery of Art, almost all of the monuments, the Capitol, the Supreme Court, and the White House. The White House is less than a ten-minute walk from the UC Washington building, and the National Mall is just a few blocks more. The courses in which I am enrolled have encouraged me to explore the city too. In Activism and Protest, I am regularly asked to go on exciting ‘scavenger hunts’ to areas in which pieces of history have occurred. This course has taught me that Washington D.C. is full of history that can be easily overlooked, and it has helped me to appreciate the pieces of history which have occurred around me. I have visited the A. Phillip Randolph statue in Union Station, the Brady Campaign Headquarters, and the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream'' speech. In my other course Supreme Court: Conflict, Change, and the Court, I was encouraged to visit the Court for an oral argument—something that I have been hoping to do for years. Arriving at the Supreme Court at the sleepy hour of 2:30 am to ensure that I got a seat in the courtroom, I was the first person in line to observe the oral argument in Dubin v. United States. The courtroom itself is far more intimate than I imagined, and it was an incredible experience to listen to oral argument in person. With more than a month left here, I hope to return to the Supreme Court for more arguments and am excited to continue exploring Washington, D.C.!