By Hon. John Cratsley (Ret.)
Twenty-five HLS students, the largest group ever enrolled in the Judicial Process in Trial Courts Clinic and class, have just started their work with judges throughout the Massachusetts trial courts. Their judicial internships include the U. S. District Court, the Massachusetts Superior Court, Boston Municipal Court, Quincy District Court, Boston Juvenile Court and the Land Court.
I am pleased with the variety of placements achieved this year as they both meet the range of student interests and provide for a lively exchange of experiences in the classroom. The four LLM students, including judges from Japan and Korea, further enrich the class with comparative international observations.
Student reflections on their first days with their judges confirm the value of leaving the classroom for the courtroom. Four student comments, each give a different perspective on the value of their clinical opportunity to work with a judge:
- “I very much enjoyed my first day in court. The judge was incredibly nice to me and impressive on the bench. The trial I watched was complex and emotionally intense.”
- “This proved a great opportunity to watch lawyers in the courtroom and review their work with a judge. I learned a tremendous amount about how I should act in a courtroom and what proved successful.”
- “I realized that I’d gained a new-found appreciation for the role of demeanor in helping judges manage their various duties at the head of the court.”
- “It was totally different from anything I had ever seen before, which was exactly what I wanted in choosing juvenile court; a different perspective on issues that affect children.”
Whether a student gains a new understanding of the judicial role or learns how to be effective in the courtroom, having an inside perspective on the work of the judiciary is a unique opportunity.