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On November 6, 2013, the Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs (OCP) held an Appreciation Dinner to honor externship supervisors in our Fall/Winter Criminal Prosecution Clinic and Spring Judicial Process in Community Courts Clinic. Eight Judges and five Assistant District Attorneys attended, along with clinicians from our Criminal Justice Institute and other HLS clinical programs. The evening’s lively discussion focused on student supervision and was moderated by Judge Cratsley, with introductory remarks by Judge Limon of the Suffolk County Juvenile Court.
Several judges noted that the externships give students the opportunity to see what goes on in a judge’s mind, as well as exposing them to court staff and the culture of the courthouse. As Jack Corrigan of the Criminal Prosecution Clinic said, seeing students trying to make a difference rekindles idealism for everyone. Students bring fresh perspectives, energy and much needed help to the courts in the current climate of limited resources. In the Spring 2013 semester, students contributed over 500 hours of research and writing to the courts.
ADA Joe Pagliarulo (West Roxbury District Court) described giving his students incrementally harder tasks. At the beginning of the semester they may just identify themselves for the record in court, but by the end they are doing jury trials.
Judge Limon noted that he has been involved with the externship program since 1999, in part because clinical experience was so valuable to him in law school. At the beginning of the day, after talking to the session clerks and judges, he steers students to observe events they may not have seen before, like a Motion to Suppress or a jury being empanelled. He and his colleagues in the Boston Juvenile Court have lunch with the students every day in order to create the opportunity for discussion. Judge Harris noted the benefits of listening to the students’ opinions as they are much closer in age to the young people appearing before him.
A big thank you to everyone who supervises our students!