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Koret Fellowship Program

Leya Day

Psychobio major, class of 2019

Over the summer, I was given the opportunity to intern at the Santa Clara County Superior Court as a Judicial Intern alongside the Honourable Judge Joseph Huber. My position was in family court, however, I was able to observe many other courts during my time there. The internship allowed me the opportunity to observe many careers in the legal field. I was able to see the “behind the scenes” into the daily life of a judge, law clerk, and lawyer. I was able to witness the ins and outs of the courtroom and see many trials. In addition, I was able to go on tours to the Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall, San Quentin State Prison, and the Santa Clara County Crime Lab.

During my internship, I prepared the calendar of Law and Motion for the Judge. I wrote summaries about the upcoming cases and important details for the Judge to review before hearings. In addition, I wrote post trial memorandums based off of the outcome of the trial. I was able to sit on the bench with the Judge and listen in on the Law and Motion calendar, trial calendar, and hearing calendars. I was able to sit in on adoptions, domestic violence cases, child abuse cases, civil lawsuit cases, and a murder case. It was very interesting to see the process of jury selection and the many decisions that the jury has to decide. The shadowing experience was eye opening and I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about different areas of law.

In addition to shadowing, the internship program allowed interns to go on guided tours to legal places around the city. I toured the San Quentin State Prison, which wasn’t at all what I had expected. My tour group and I were able to walk on the grounds alongside the inmates. A group of prisoners were our tour guide for the day. We were able to hear their stories about why they were incarcerated and what led them to the decisions that they had made. In addition, I was able to walk through death row, in which most tour groups usually aren’t taken taken there. My tour group was also taken to the execution chamber and the furniture manufacturing work sit. From this experience,  I learned about the daily operations of a prison and all of its components. After the tour, all of my misconceptions had been completely transformed. This tour was truly a remarkable experience. In addition to the prison I was able to tour the crime lab of Santa Clara. I was given a virtual tour alongside the other interns. We learned about the different ways that a person can be found guilty of a crime and the many ways evidence can still be gathered even years later. In addition, I was able to learn more about the career of a crime lab investigator. I was able to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be out in the field as a crime scene investigator and the different parts of the crime lab.

My internship experience wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of LEAD and the Koret’s Fellowship Program. The Koret’s Fellowship allowed me to obtain housing nearby my internship location in downtown San Jose. Without the fellowship, I wouldn’t have been able to afford housing because during the summers I return home to Auburn, Ca and the internship position was unpaid. This internship gave me valuable experience on many possible opportunities in the career of law. I was able to meet and work with many different people. In addition, the internship allowed me the chance to talk with some of the interns who were in law school about their experience. I was able to gain valuable insight on a career in law and tips about law school. This internship reinforced my thoughts on becoming a lawyer. It made me realize that there is a lot of work that goes into cases and it’s a big decision to go into law school. However, it has made me want to become more involved with helping families stay together. In addition, I’m still interested in discovering more fields of law and pursuing other opportunities.