How My Experience at Davidson College Helped Get Me Through Law School

By Emily Palmer ’17

Davidson provided me with the opportunity to take law-related classes as an undergraduate, which confirmed my desire to go to law school. At Davidson, I took classes like Criminology, Legal Research and Writing, Constitutional Law, and Constitutional Police Procedure. These classes mirrored some of the most important classes I would take in law school, and my early experience with reading court cases put me well ahead of my peers during my first year at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

As a political science major, I was also able to study some of the greatest leaders in American political history. From studying politicians to civil rights leaders, my classes at Davidson always emphasized the importance of leadership and service. Helping others is a constant theme at Davidson—whether through philanthropic fundraisers or volunteer opportunities—and I believe that my time at Davidson is what sparked my interest in a career in public service and criminal prosecution.

Clerking in the Family Violence and Major Crimes Divisions of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, I have witnessed firsthand the suffering of domestic violence victims, and the deep, unfathomable pain of families of murder victims. I have watched victims find the incredible strength to testify against their abusers in pursuit of justice, and I have seen the overwhelming relief of victim’s families when justice has been served. These experiences with the LADA’s office have allowed me to grow as an individual and have made me deeply appreciate how public service benefits local communities. Davidson is responsible for instilling within me the values needed for prosecution: ethics, honor, and empathy, and for that I will always be grateful.

Davidson also provided me with an incredible mentor and advisor—Dr. Susan Roberts. Dr. Roberts supported me in every possible way during my years at Davidson. She was always a sounding board for my career aspirations and internship searches, a supporter of my extra-curricular activities, and is someone that even now I can go to for advice. My relationship with Dr. Roberts taught me the importance of having mentors in your life, and the value of surrounding yourself with people you can go to for guidance. I have been lucky enough to find mentors every step of the way through law school and working at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. Without them, I know that I would not have made it through college or law school.

Survivor-themed Networking, Resume Reviews, & Employer Visits for the Davidson College Swim Team

Survivor-themed networking, resume reviews, & employer visits, are just to name a few of the career opportunities, the Davidson College Swim Team took part in over winter break as part of the Career Advantage program. Emily Bassett (‘20) and Frances Resweber (‘20) tell us more about their experience in Fort Lauderdale.

Over winter break on the Swimming and Diving team’s annual training trip, we had the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities organized by Davidson’s Career Center that were geared toward some of our long-term career goals.

In the past, our training trip has always been heavily swim- or dive-driven: two practices a day for up to ten days in a row. With the exception of some beach down-time in between practices each day, we fell into the usual rhythm of eat, sleep, swim/dive. As seniors this year, however, we realized that our training trips would look a little different as we used our extra time to search for jobs, complete applications, or make some finishing touches on our resumés.

Thankfully, Josh King from the Career Center joined us in Florida this year to help us navigate this process. Josh organized several events to help not just the seniors, but everyone on the team begin to brainstorm and make steps toward our future career goals.

The first of these events was a Survivor-themed networking event for the entire team. Just like the reality TV show, we went through several competitive rounds of learning how to ask and respond to questions that we might encounter in a real networking event or an interview. After each round, we voted for the best networker on the island, culminating in a final round with a jury that consisted of former contestants. This was such a valuable event for our team because we had the opportunity to learn and practice networking skills that will prove to be valuable for the rest of our lives as we move beyond Davidson in a familiar setting with our teammates.

Some of the questions forced us to think critically about how our lifestyle and skills we’ve acquired as collegiate athletes will benefit us as employees. Throughout most of our time at Davidson, we’ve simply gone through the motions without much forethought on how this type of lifestyle will be advantageous to us after our undergraduate experience. We’ve realized that practicing morning and afternoon, amounting to about twenty hours per week, has turned us into advanced time managers. During practice or competition, we’ve learned how to be resilient and how to move on from a practice or race that doesn’t go our way. Finally, being an athlete at Davidson has taught us the value in communicating with our coaches, teammates, and professors that will translate well to our positions as co-workers.

In addition to the networking event, we had the opportunity to meet with Josh individually to review our resumés. Josh also scheduled three visits catered toward our team’s most popular career interests: a local non-profit (KID), Miami University’s School of Law, and Miami University’s School of Medicine.

About twenty members of the team took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about Kids in Distress (KID) and volunteer their time at the non-profit. KID is committed to providing support to abused children, providing counseling to parents in an attempt to preserve families, offering childcare and after-school care to children on a daily basis, and even has a foster care system on site. The swimmers and divers, along with head coach John Young, who volunteered at the non-profit were able to either work directly with children enrolled in their preschool or help to organize their warehouse which was full of toy donations for the holidays. Getting an inside look at the facility and the work that goes into running a successful non-profit, including the variety of ways you can take a career in the non-profit sector, was an eye-opening experience.

Other informative events that Josh organized included a trip to Miami University’s School of Law and their School of Medicine. Josh traveled with the team members to both an info session and tour of the respective campuses. During the visits, we got an inside look into what the school’s admissions offices are looking for by personally hearing from admissions officials. Gaining this face time with high up graduate school officials was invaluable, and the information they had to share will undoubtedly prove useful when the time comes to fill out applications to professional schools post-Davidson. Finally, receiving tours from current medical and law school students gave each of us the valuable perspective of current students and an understanding what going through these programs will really mean. Learning from students going through the med/law school process was one of the most meaningful parts of the trip to everyone who attended one of these graduate school visits.

The Swimming and Diving Team is very grateful to the Career Center and the unique opportunities they provided for us on this trip. We hope that our teammates will get to continue this experience for years to come!

Emily Bassett (‘20) and Frances Resweber (‘20)

Get to Know the Center for Career Development

2015 Center for Career Development Staff
2015 Center for Career Development Staff

Welcome back!  While we enjoyed a little break this summer, we are excited that campus is back to normal.  We took advantage of the quiet to do a little restructuring, plan some programming, connect with new employers, and just a few other things.  So, meet our staff and some of the great resources in the Center for Career Development!

Nathan Elton, Director
Nathan Elton, Director

Nathan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson Career Advisor Network (DCAN) Some of the most common career advice you will hear is to talk to professionals in potential or identified career areas of interest.  Through DCAN there are over 800 Davidson alumni and parents who have signed up to share career advice, look over your resume, or prepare you for an upcoming interview.  Jobs and internships can be tough to land, but by using these connections you will know more about career fields that match your interests and abilities, and be better prepared for securing a position.

Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development
Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for Career Development

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: Myers Briggs Type Indicator All of us have uniquely different personalities. The MBTI assessment will help give you a better understanding of your own personality, such as what energizes you or how you make career decisions. The assessment will also assist you in better understanding the people around you, whether they be at school, work or home. To take the MBTI, please contact our office at 704-894-2132 to set up an appointment to meet with a Career advisor.


Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations
Jeff Kniple, Associate Director for Employer Relations

Jeff’s Favorite CCD Resource: Information sessions are the place to make a personal connection with employers in advance of an application or interview.  They are the easiest place to make an impression with key staff members, to learn about how companies market themselves, and to learn other information that can be helpful in a cover letter or interview.  For internship and job seekers they are essential to the process.



Tiffany Waddell, Assistant Director for Career Development

Tiffany’s Favorite CCD Resource: Workshops and Programs The CCD offers workshops and events on a variety of topics for students throughout the academic year.  From getting started with LinkedIn and learning how network with Davidson alumni and other professionals, to penning the perfect resume – check out WildcatLink to learn more about what workshops are available to you this year and RSVP today!



Sarah Williams '11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement
Sarah Williams ’11, Assistant Director for Alumni & Parent Engagement

Sarah’s Favorite CCD Resource: WildcatLink is the best resource for accessing Davidson-specific career opportunities and resources. It is an online portal where you can apply to jobs and internships, sign up for job shadowing opportunities, and register for career-related events and programs. If you haven’t already, you will soon become very familiar with WildcatLink!




Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships
Jamie Stamey, Assistant Director for Internships

Jamie’s Favorite CCD Resource: InterviewStream is a great tool to help you prepare for upcoming interviews.  Record a video of yourself answering industry specific questions.  Then, critique yourself or share with a mentor to get their feedback.  You know what they say about practice!  You might also see this pop up in some of you Davidson-sponsored program applications, like Job Shadowing and the #DavidsonIE Internship Program.


Kate Falconi '08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations
Kate Falconi ’08, Assistant Director for Employer Relations

Kate’s Favorite CCD Resource: Vault Think of this as a huge online library of career and industry guides to help you learn about jobs and career fields, and make sure you are ready for interviews.  It also includes rankings of employers in 20 different industries, such as advertising, PR, media, banking and consulting.




Julie Lucas, Office Manager
Julie Lucas, Office Manager

Julie’s Favorite CCD Resource: It’s easy to schedule an appointment to meet with one of our advisors.  Stop by the office or call 704-894-2132. Appointments are available from 9-12:00 and 1:30-5:00.  For quick questions, we also offer daily walk-in times M-TH 10:00-12:00 and M-F 1:30-3:30.




Logan Myers, Career Adviser
Logan Myers, Career Advisor

Logan’s Favorite CCD Resource: Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing Page and LinkedIn Networking Group Want to learn what 11,000 alumni are doing based on their major, where they live, what they do and where they work?  Davidson’s LinkedIn Landing page is an easily searchable system to learn about alumni based on these and other criteria.  Want to interact with alumni in LinkedIn?  Check out the Davidson College Network Group, where you can send messages to over 6,000 alumni.


Destination Unknown: We know it was a success!

destination-unknown300On Monday, September 29th, at 7:30 P.M., the Center for Career Development and the Residence Life Office hosted Destination Unknown: Realizing the Potential for Your Future.  The event was targeted at delivering information particularly important for Davidson seniors.

Center staff and student ambassadors provided information about the job and graduate school searches, resume improvement, cover letter writing, and social media polishing.  Jamie Johnson, Associate Director for the Center for Career Development, answered questions and provided information about the graduate school search.  She “felt it went very well and provided a foundation for other similar events to come in the future.”

Students could also take professional headshots for their LinkedIn accounts.  If all of these useful resources weren’t enough, yummy hors d’oeuvres and mocktails were served.  Ory Streeter, one of the Area Coordinators at RLO, worked as a bartender, requiring students to give a fact about responsible drinking in a professional setting before receiving a mocktail.

Seniors loved the event!  Alexandra Clark ’15 said, “The experienced career counselors, both students and faculty, gave me really helpful advice and tips to prepare me for my career search and for life after Davidson.  The Center for Career Development is an awesome resource for seniors and I look forward to going to more of their events.”

Seniors, don’t worry if you missed this event!  Make an appointment with a staff member from the Center or stop by walk-in hours for Center staff or student ambassadors to see what you missed.  You are always welcome!

Career Development Ambassadors 2014-2015

The Center for Career Development is pleased to announce the 2014-2015 class of Career Development Ambassadors.  Trained to assist with peer advising regarding topics such as resume review, cover letter review, and mock interview prep – stop by and visit them during walk-in hours this semester in the Center for Career Development (Alvarez 201):  Sundays 3-5pm, Tuesdays 7:30-9:30pm, and Thursdays 7:30-9:30pm.

Emily Burke
Emily Burke ’15

I am majoring in economics and will be working in investment banking after graduation.  During summers off from Davidson I have pursued internships in a variety of fields including investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the leveraged finance group and a boutique investment bank in Boston, management consulting at a firm in Washington DC, and foreign policy at the Brookings Institution, a think tank in Washington DC.  On campus I play the oboe in the Davidson College Symphony Orchestra, volunteer with the Office of Admission as a tour guide, and have served as the social chair of my eating house, Warner Hall.  In my free time I enjoy playing golf, reading, and traveling.

Colin MacKay '15
Colin MacKay ’16

I am majoring in economics and plan to pursue a career in banking, consulting, or financial accounting. I have served as the corporate social responsibility intern at Bank of America where I researched competitive trends in the CSR space. I am a member of the Davidson College varsity swim team and serve as a representative in the Student Athlete Advisory Council and the Davidson Athletic Fund Student Athlete Engagement Program. I am a member of the Symphony Orchestra string bass section, a fraternity brother in Sigma Phi Epsilon, and a member of Campus Outreach. My hobbies include camping, spending time with family and friends, traveling, and playing cards.

Braden Beaudreau '15
Braden Beaudreau ’15

I am majoring in political science and I plan to pursue a career in law, government, or public policy.  Last summer, I interned at Akerman LLP, a law firm located in Washington, DC, for a public policy adviser working on issues concerning higher education policy.  Previously, I worked in the Davidson College Center for Career Development as a work study student, where I managed internship databases.  I spent a semester abroad my junior year traveling across the breathtaking landscape of Australia and studying business and economics at the University of Melbourne.  I also write for the Davidsonian and perform spoken word poetry with FreeWord.  My hobbies and interests include intramural basketball, supporting the Red Sox, and going on adventures with my friends.

Catherine Lowenthal
Catherine Lowenthal ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a concentration in medical humanities.  I plan to eventually work with individuals with mental illness and/or  HIV/AIDS or other physical disease.  In my summers, I have served as a research assistant at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and interned at Broughton Hospital, a North Carolina state psychiatric hospital.  I have also worked in an orphanage for children with HIV/AIDS in South Africa, and volunteered at several programs for children with HIV/AIDS in New York City.  On campus, I work as a research assistant for a psychology professor and am the Vice President of Queers and Allies, Secretary of the College Democrats and a member of the Common Ground Council.  My hobbies include traveling and trying new foods.  My favorite quote is from Booker T. Washington:  “Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”

James Cobb
James Cobb ’15

I am a Political Science major from Middlebury, Vermont. Next year, I will be working as an investment banking analyst with Morgan Stanley in New York City. Prior to an internship with Morgan Stanley this past summer, I worked with Gridley & Co, a boutique, M&A technology bank in New York City; as an equity research analyst with WEDGE Capital Management in Charlotte; as a summer analyst with the Davidson College Endowment; and as a consultant with the Atlantic Leadership Group in New York City. Through Davidson, I have been able to study abroad for two semesters in Ireland and India and the Middle East. On campus, I am the Vice President of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, a Chidsey Fellow, Terry scholar, and play saxophone with the jazz ensemble. My hobbies include reading, weight lifting, and challenging travel.

Daniel Reitten
Daniel Reitten ’15

I am originally from Tel Aviv, Israel.

I am majoring in economics and planning to be in finance after graduation. I spent my previous summer at the summer internship program at UBS in Sales & Trading where I worked on the FX spot trading desk in the New York office. Prior to attending Davidson College, I served 3 years in the Israeli Air Force. I played Tennis for Davidson during my first two years, and I got the chance to attend 3 different abroad programs. I am also a member of Hillel, and this is my seventh semester that I teach Hebrew here at Davidson. I enjoy music, traveling, crossfit and philosophy.

Leigh Miller
Leigh Miller ’15

I am majoring in psychology with a minor in French. I plan to work in Human Resources (hopefully doing recruiting), eventually pursuing a career in coaching for businesses. I have served as a Human Resources intern at the corporate headquarters for Chico’s and for Vans, working with the Recruiting, Learning & Development, and Payroll departments. I am a co-president of the Pep Band, and president of the Knitting Society. My hobbies include swimming, cycling, reading, and knitting.

To Grad School or Not to Grad School? Ask Yourself the Question.

If you are thinking about graduate school, you are not alone.  Are you asking yourself if you need a break post-Davidson before you pursue your next course of study?  Deciding on a program and when to enter is a big decision.  Before you send off those applications and secure your enrollment spot, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a few questions and take time to reflect on whether or not graduate school is the appropriate next step for you.


The first question I ask most students who meet with me to chat about researching graduate programs and application prep is simple: why?  For each person, the answer is different.  Immediate entry into graduate school may give you a leg up in your professional field of interest.  Many times graduate or professional school will afford you a number of specialized skills or certifications and help propel you into the next step of that particular industry.  For example – if you want to be an attorney, then at some point, attending law school, succeeding in your studies, and passing the Bar exam is a pre-requisite before you can attempt to practice law.  In other fields, a graduate degree may be required simply for candidacy of application to apply.  However, this is not always the case.  Some graduate programs are more likely to admit an applicant who has work experience. It is important to identify the norm or standard of education in a given field – and do a bit of research to find out whether or not graduate school immediately after college is a necessary or realistic goal.

Another big question to ask yourself: are you ready?  By ready, I simply mean are you ready to continue attending school for several months or years?  As you approach graduation, you may find that you would like a break from school to recharge before you pursue another academic program.  Perhaps you would like to gain some “real world” experience and explore the world of work a bit before deciding which field of study is the best one for you. Maybe you would like to travel the world or give back in the form of volunteering or service work.  Gap years are increasingly common for students and a great year to gain more experience, sharpen your professional skills and supplement your academic pursuits before pursuing a graduate or professional degree.

Whatever you decide, remember that the choice is yours.  Family, friends, and other influencers will not be attending classes (or work) for you.  Adjusting to a new academic or work environment and geographic location is a major life transition and certainly worth consideration and intention.

As you explore your options, you have many questions. Visit with faculty advisors to discuss your areas of interest and strategies to identify the programs that would best suit your interests.  Learn more about the ins and outs of graduate school application prep, and how to make the most of your post-graduate studies, by visiting the Center for Career Development.  Take some time to reflect as to whether or not graduate school right after college is the right choice for you now – or in the future.

Davidson Students Connect with European Internships

When Bettina Lemm ’13 looked for an internship last summer, she discovered an opportunity through Davidson parent Bill Echikson on WildcatLink at the Mundaneum in Mons, Belgium. The Mundeaneum is an archive center founded by a Belgian entrepreneur and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate with the goal of archiving all of the world’s knowledge and making it readily accessible through a collection of documents and note cards.

Bettina Lemm ’13 the Bernardus Djonoputro, the Secretary General of the Indonesian Association of Planners.

At the Mundaneum, Bettina taught an English and Social Media class to local teenagers in which the students learned to use social media platforms and express themselves in another language. In addition, Bettina created a blog in which she posted all of the events that Mundaneum and Google collaborated on—these companies formed a partnership so that Google could illustrate its appreciation of culture despite its large size, and the Mundaneum could reach a larger, more global audience. Bettina was initially drawn to this internship because of this collaboration; she wanted an opportunity to enter the world of technology, communication, and data while working within an archive center.

While in Belgium, Bettina was able to meet Bill Echikson, parent of Sam Echikson ’14, who works in the Google offices in Brussels and is responsible for making her internship available to Davidson students. Apart from seeing Mr. Echikson during office hours, he organized a biking trip to the town of Bruges with Bettina and several Yale students also interning in Belgium, invited her over to his home for a barbecue, and even asked her to attend a basketball game with him and his Finnish business partner.

Jaime DyBuncio ’13 shared this image of Schloss Leopoldskron, the palace in which the Salzburg Global Seminar is held.

After her internship at the Mundaneum, Bettina began interning at the Salzburg Global Seminar in Salzburg, Austria, where fellow Davidson alum Jaime DyBuncio ’13 spent this summer. Both Bettina and Jaime worked as program interns, during which time they helped to organize seminars, as well as attended all discussions to engage with participants and speakers. The Global Seminar was established in 1946 with the goal of bringing people together from different cultures and backgrounds to discuss global issues. The current President and CEO of the Salzburg Global Seminar is Davidson alumnus Stephen Salyer ’72, who is responsible for connecting Davidson students with opportunities at the Seminar every year.

Among the highlights of this internship for Bettina and Jaime were living and working in Schloss Leopoldskron, an historic, 300-year-old castle, as well as the chance to live among people from different backgrounds and countries and gain a more global perspective.

If you are interested in learning more about Bettina and Jaime’s experiences at the Mundaneum and Salzburg Global Seminar, they are available by email at and This year, the Salzburg Global Seminar opportunity is being offered as part of the Davidson Impact Fellowship program; many seniors have applied for the opportunity to pursue this one-year fellowship. The Mundaneum summer internship may be available again this summer – stay tuned to WildcatLink for details.

Thank you again to Bill Echikson and Stephen Salyer ’72 for making these opportunities available to Davidson students.

Duke Law Visits Davidson

During Thursday’s Common Hour, Mark Hill, the Director of Admission at the Duke University School of Law, met with Davidson students to discuss law school and the process for applying. Hill emphasized Duke’s top-tier education and small classroom environment, as well as the personal and professional engagement outside of the classroom that makes Duke Law students successful. He noted that Duke strikes a balance between theory and practice as evidenced in their two-semester Legal Writing Program, which occurs during a student’s first year at law school.

After a brief introduction about what distinguishes Duke Law School, Hill left the majority of time for students to ask questions about the admission process and timeline. During this time, Hill explained that roughly one-third of Duke’s students attend law school immediately after college, but this is by no means necessary. He also asked students to keep in mind that Duke Law uses rolling admissions, and encouraged students to apply before the February 15th deadline. The Director pointed out that while college record, LSAT, and recommendations and personal statements are weighted equally, the admission staff does understand that Davidson does not have grade inflation and that might be reflected in academic performance.

Hill closed the presentation by stressing that there is no perfect mold of a law student that Duke Law is looking for applicants to fit into. Instead, the Office of Admission attempts to determine if a student has both the potential to be an active and engaged law student and the foundations for a promising professional career.

Duke Law School will return to campus on Tuesday, November 5th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., along with a number of other schools for the Greater Charlotte Law School Fair hosted by Davidson College. Over fifty law schools will be in attendance.  Students can find more information about the fair and schools attending on WildcatLink.

Alexandra Clark ’15 Wraps Up Internship with City of Charleston Prosecutor’s Office

Below is the second post written by Jolley Foundation grant recipient Alexandra Clark ’15 about her summer internship in South Carolina.  Her first post can be found here.

This blog post brings the closing of my internship at the City Prosecutor’s Office and my summer in Charleston, South Carolina. Through my reflections as my internship came to a close, I am very content and happy to say I was able to accomplish the goals I had set for myself and experience law in Charleston to the fullest capacity during my summer.

Alexandra and colleagues at the City Prosecutor's Office

At the halfway point of my internship, I set out to explore more aspects of the law. I had become acquainted with the City Prosecutor’s Office and the judicial system of the municipal courts and wanted to see more. My first step in achieving this goal was a ride-along with the City of Charleston Police Department to see the action behind all of those arrest reports I read everyday to build cases.

I met with an officer at the CPD Headquarters at 5 PM for the “second shift,” which was from 5 in the evening to 3 in the morning. I chose to ride with Team 2, which includes most of the downtown area, which is known as being the center of the action. We rode in the police patrol car, responded to police calls over the CPD dispatch radio and gave traffic tickets. Participating in a ride-along gave me the opportunity to ask the officer questions I had been curious about while in the Prosecutor’s Office. It was a very cool experience and  I was happy to be in the front seat of the patrol car (definitely the place I’d rather be).

Solicitor's Office

I was also able to explore the Solicitor’s Office in Charleston, which handles felonies and misdemeanors on the state level. The Solicitor’s Office operates within the jurisdiction of Charleston County, encompassing the cities of Charleston, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and the crime-ridden North Charleston. North Charleston has been ranked as being among the highest crime rate municipalities in the country, so it seems that much of the office’s efforts are dedicated to that area.

First, I visited the Solicitor’s Office on a non-jury trial week to see the normal operations of the office. I was able to sit-in on a meeting between two solicitors who were preparing for a trial the following week. At that point, the evidence had been collected and the witnesses had been contacted and subpoenaed for trial.  In the meeting, the solicitors were deciding which witnesses would testify and in what order, and preparing to defend against motions that were being filed by the defense attorney in the case. The charge was Felony DUI with Great Bodily Injury, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

The case was brought to trial the next Monday and it was such an exciting process for me to experience. I observed the opening arguments; the witness testimonies, the expert testimonies and the responding officer testimonies; closing arguments; jury deliberation; the jury’s presentation of the verdict; and the sentencing. I was able to spend time with the Victim’s Advocate, who shed light on her side of the court, which involved acting as a support system for the victim and their family by relaying information and addressing their questions and concerns. The defendant was found guilty and given six years in prison, much more than what even the solicitors were expecting due to his lack of a prior criminal record. The process was thrilling and completely reaffirmed my aspirations in law to fulfill my goal of seeking justice for the victimized. As the victim’s advocate put it, I had “caught the bug.”

Alexandra's name badge

This summer I was fortunate enough to participate in an internship that completely validated and reignited my motivation to practice law, and gave me a strong aspiration of practicing law in South Carolina. This would not have happened without the generosity of the Jolley Foundation and the guidance of the Davidson College Center for Career Development. For that, I am so grateful.



Upholding the Law in South Carolina: Alexandra Clark ’15 Interns with the Charleston Prosecutor’s Office

Alexandra Clark ’15, the author of this post, is one of three 2013 recipients of a South Carolina Internship Grant provided by Davidson College and The Jolley Foundation.  The purpose of the grant is to allow students to participate in educational internships and to explore living and working in the state of South Carolina.  Stay tuned for Alexandra’s second and final blog post about her Charleston internship at the end of the summer!

Preparing case files for court.

This summer, through the generous help of the Jolley Foundation and the Center for Career Development, I have been fortunate enough to participate in an internship at the City of Charleston Prosecutor’s Office in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. I have learned so much and gained incredible experience from this opportunity and am so grateful that I can share my experience through this blog.

The Office of the Prosecutor is in the Greenberg Municipal Building, which also houses the Charleston Police Department and the City of Charleston Municipal Courthouse. Every weekday, I report to this building for my internship.  I am responsible for preparing the case files on the defendants who have requested a jury trial. This involves collecting the Incident Report and Arrest Report from the Charleston Police Department, the defendant’s criminal record, the Accident Report (if necessary), and any other evidence that would be deemed necessary to create a convincing case against the defendant (such as pictures, CPD patrol car videos or victim’s testimony). My responsibility is to go through the collected information, summarize it and select the most important parts to consolidate for the Chief Prosecutor, Mark Bourdon, as he prepares for the jury trial.

City of Charleston Municipal Courtroom

When I am not spending my time preparing cases for court, I am actually in court, which is my favorite part of this internship. In the courtroom, I sit beside the prosecutor before the presiding judge as we go through the docket for the day. During my short time at the office, I have already begun to recognize the habitual offenders who are in the courts on new charges almost every week. As the judge calls each defendant on the docket, I am responsible for taking notes for the prosecutor, recording how the defendant pleads, the disposition of the case, and the fines or jail sentence passed down to the defendant. In addition, I contact victims during the court session who did not appear in court in order to seek their assistance to further prosecute the case at hand. In certain courts, I am also responsible for negotiating plea deals with defendants in order for the trial to be resolved as smoothly as possible.

Negotiating with the defendants, a task usually reserved for law students, has been my favorite part of the internship. I have been able to make contact with the defendants who have requested a jury trial and attempt to resolve the matter before the case is presented before a jury. Depending on certain aspects of the case, such as the length of the defendant’s criminal record or the strength of the evidence built against the defendant, I am able to offer reduced fines, consolidation of tickets, or even dismissals upon good behavior for a ticket contingent upon a guilty plea from the defendant.

Greenberg Municipal Building

Spending time in court has taught me so much about the judicial process of the United States, including the dynamic between the prosecutor and the defense attorneys. Many of the defendants seek counsel from the public defender, granted to them by their rights that the judge informs them of at the beginning of every court session. Many more defendants choose to represent themselves and are expected to give testimony in order for the case to move forward and be tried. I’ve learned that the few who retain counsel from a defense attorney usually work out a plea bargain with the prosecutor or do something called a deferral for a period of time, which means that if the defendant does not have any new arrests within the period specified by the prosecutor, the charge will be dismissed from their criminal record.

My goal for the remainder of this internship is to further explore the judicial system of South Carolina, both at the municipal level in Charleston and at the state level with the Solicitor’s Office, which works in conjunction with the Prosecutor’s Office but works within a different jurisdiction. I also hope to gain more experience in the courts by spending time in other courtroom settings, such as traffic court, vice court and livability court. Additionally, I am arranging a ride-a-long with the Charleston Police Department to gain further insight from even more levels and angles of local government to better understand the process as a whole.

The experiences that I have gained through this internship have been invaluable to my growth as a student and my passion for attending law school after my time at Davidson College. I am looking forward to learning even more during the second half of my summer.