Brian Casper's internship with the Public Defenders Office let him see the importance of criminal defense. For him, the most important part of the criminal justice system is to protect society and help those whose lives have fallen apart. Learn more about his internship here!
What was your internship experience?
As an intern at the Public Defenders Office, I did legal research for the attorneys, drafted court motions, and appeared in front of fourth district court judges on behalf of clients. I familiarized myself with criminal procedure in Utah and conferred with clients and prosecutors in criminal cases.
What was the most useful thing you learned from your internship?
I learned the importance of criminal defense in our justice system and society at large. I learned that most of those being charged with crimes have been victims themselves, either of abuse, neglect, or social class. I learned that the most important part of the criminal justice system should be to protect society and also help those whose lives have fallen apart.
How did your courses and your major prepare you for your internship?
The most important course was my legal research and writing class, as legal research is the foundation of criminal defense. The writing skills I learned in that class, as well as my Civil Procedure class, were very important in drafting motions. My Criminal Law course was important because it taught me what to look for when considering the elements of a crime.
What professional skills did you develop in your internship?
I significantly improved my research skills, my writing skills, my communication skills (both with supervisors and with clients), and my organization skills.
Would you recommend this internship to other students?
Absolutely. It gave me hands-on experience that other legal interns are unlikely to have. While research and writing are common to most legal internships, getting the opportunity to speak with clients and discuss their cases, then actually appear before the judge on their behalf, is a much more proximate experience than most internships offer.