For this project, you will be asked to think creatively about the life of those who are working in the court system every day.
First, choose a role that you are interested in – Judge, Clerk of Court, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney, Baliff, or another support person who works within either the criminal or civil court system.
Next, research what that person’s professional life looks like. The easiest way to research this is to interview a person who is performing this role every day. Maybe that means calling the Office of the State Attorney and asking for an interview, or heading to the courthouse to speak to the Bailiff (this might be harder in these times, but you’d be surprised about how willing people are to talk about themselves!), or watching a documentary that shows how a person works through their day.
After researching the person, think creatively about how a “day in the life” of your person might look. Walk me through that day – what time do they wake up? What time do they have to be to work? How long is their commute? How long are they in the courtroom during an average day? Do they go out to lunch every day or do they have to eat a granola bar at their desk? Who do they spend the most time talking to – their colleagues, criminal defendants, police officers, or is it a solitary role? Are they clocking out at 5 PM or working till 9? Are their hours variable or the same every day? Do they go out with friends after work or people they have been working with all day? These are just ideas, remember – be creative.
The second part of this assignment is to identify the most pressing court system issue facing your subject today. If you choose a prosecutor, the biggest issue might be the current uncertainty about the death penalty statute. If you choose a defense attorney, maybe the issue is the bias in sentencing. If you choose a clerk, maybe the issue is lack of funding. Again, these are examples. Either interview your chosen person on this topic or, after doing your research, try to identify what you think the issue might be for that person.
Identify one piece of research that will help for you to help the issue concerning your person. Make sure to cite your research using APA formatting.
Finally, make your submission. You can share what you have researched and designed in any way that you would like! You can write it out like a daily calendar, make a short video, make slides, create social media postings, create a powtoon, or anything else that you can come up with to convey your ideas.
At the end of this, I would like to see that you have thoroughly researched and then thought critically about what it’s like to be one of these players in the courtroom.
If we were in person for this course, you would be completing an internship with the Office of the Public Defender. One student who was previously involved in that internship commented that he was shocked at the fact that the defense attorney he was working with went out to lunch. Every. Single. Day. That may seem like a little thing, but it tells you something about the quality of their professional life. This is just one example, and there are hundreds more.
I have attached two examples for you. These examples are not “perfect”, but they are good examples of using real examples and conveying the information in a way that shares a realistic idea of the person’s life. Remember to look for those things that make this person’s career unique. There should be information included that is associated with that person’s role in the court system.