Notes of Interest


Some of the most interesting moments of my internship occurred almost matter-of-factly during the daily routine.  On television, the scene in the Judges Chambers always involve heated exchanges between the defense attorney and the district attorney, but that is not always the case, at least in Huntingdon County.  First, many of the lawyers have their offices within a block or two of the courthouse, so everyone is in close proximity to each other.  Second, a lot of these attorneys have either worked together at some point, either as co-council, as interns during their law school days, or working in the same law firm at some time.  Sure, there were some heated debates that took place in chambers over the merits of a case or someone feeling that their client was getting a bad break, but for the most part the lawyers and judges in the county get along. 

Another interesting item that I learned during my internship is that a lawyer spends a majority of his or her time in the office on the phone.  Attorney Smith employs two secretaries that answer his phones and take messages, but those messages need to be returned in a timely manner, so on days we were in the office, he would spend the majority of his time on the phone while I looked over cases.  Since Attorney Smith has his hand in nearly every facet of the law at some time or another, the calls he fields from clients are wide ranging.  One minute he may be on the phone discussing settlement in a divorce case, the next minute speaking with a first-time client about a DUI. 

Going to the county jail and meeting with prisoners represented by Attorney Smith is one of the most interesting things I have ever been a part of.  At any time Attorney Smith is usually representing several guests of the Huntingdon County Jail, and on a few occasions we would go to speak with them in person.  Whether hearing a prisoner spout off about conspiracy theories in regards to his case or talking with a prisoner about his upcoming parole hearing, a visit to the jail was nothing short of entertaining.  I had heard the notion that no prisoner ever considers himself guilty, and now I know that for a lot of them, that is very true.  Some of the men that were incarcerated were up front and honest about the crimes they had committed, but some were just downright funny to listen to because of their wild claims.