Grace Lieckfield, a junior Humanities-Prelaw major in the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University, has an interest in analytical and rhetorical analysis and used that to help conclude cases while working under Judge Rosemarie Aquilina as an intern with the 30th Judicial Circuit Court in Ingham County, Michigan, this past winter semester.
Lieckfield recently gave insight into her internship experience in the following Q&A that was originally published by the Excel Network.
What was your internship responsibilities?
I interned under Judge Aquilina and reported to her law clerk Logan Byrne. My role was to receive assignments given to me by Logan and to evaluate the law to come to a sound and reasonable conclusion regarding the facts of the case.
What did your daily routine include?
My daily routine included reading the definitions of the law included within my case and attempting to use the details of the defendant to make an evaluation and put into words the judgment I came to.
How did you obtain your internship?
I am in a club on campus called “Empowering Women In Law” and Judge Aquilina was a speaker one of the weeks. She gave out cards with her information on them, and after reaching out, I was given the opportunity to intern and learn under her and Logan.
What was your favorite experience from the internship?
My favorite experience in this internship was definitely when I turned in an assignment for edits and I received a “good work, I have very small edits.” Those edits were simple and had specific capitalization requirements that were very easy to fix. When I received that response, I knew that the hours and hours of reading that I had done had finally paid off, and I was seeing what I learned in action.
What was the most difficult part of your internship?
Through this internship, I learned that I do not want to be an attorney or judge, as much as I respect the work that is done, it is a lot emotionally. When you know you are working with someone’s brother or son, it’s hard to say no to a bond or the opposite when you see them as a simply bad person, but all the facts lead to yes. It is something that was hard to get over for me, and not something I could do for the rest of my life.
What skills did you learn and/or build upon during your internship?
I gained a better understanding of the information I will need to use in law school. I better understand the definitions of laws and the workings of the court system after seeing it in action.
What did you learn about your career path as a result of the internship?
I learned that it is a very detail-oriented job that requires a lot of reading, I have always been interested in law and still am, but I am considering going into contract law and becoming an agent rather than becoming an attorney.
What advice do you have for students seeking internship opportunities?
Join a club, go to the meetings, you will find an internship. Also, don’t jump into an internship that you aren’t 100% sure about because they are a big commitment.