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New York Supreme Court internship. by Devon Beaumont

December 16, 2022

During the summer of 2022, I was granted the opportunity to intern at the New York Supreme Court located at 60 Centre St, New York. The New York Supreme Court is a trial entry court of general jurisdiction. It has the authority to hear and deal with cases of all kinds ranging from criminal, civil, family, and so forth. The Supreme Court has unlimited jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases except when there are claims against the state itself. I spent my time assisting Judge Tingling, The New York County Clerk. My first few days as intern at The New York Supreme Court consisted of me getting an introduction to the courthouse and its different departments. The Judge explained to me the importance and purpose of The New York Supreme Court. Furthermore he explained to me the day in life of an employee but most importantly his role and functionality as The New York Supreme Court. This led to us having a conversation about how people view the courts. Many people tend to have this biased view of the court system.

I initially thought the Court only dealt with interpreting the law and settling cases but I came to the realization that the judicial system is massive and has a lot of rules and procedures people have to follow. I started exploring the different departments and interviewing the employees in each department. As time went on I learned about different legal documents/processes that all people must go through when they want to sue an entity, file a divorce or even get married. Furthermore I acquired knowledge about juror orientation and the selection process, assisted by answering juror inquiries, learned history about one of New York’s most corrupt politicians/ famous monuments and attended both criminal and civil cases. Once a week I was assigned to do research on the different components of the judicial system and write a report on what they are and how they operate. Once the report was submitted, the Judge would then discuss to me the importance of how those different aspects are connected within the judicial system and how they affect me (specifically as a minority). Most importantly the unintentional biases that can occur within the judicial system.

While working there I had several memorable and meaningful conversations and experiences. One was about how the lack of representation can lead to unintentional biases and the other about climate change disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. For instance, the judge gave me an assignment regarding the connection between environmental racism and climate change. My role was to assist him by finding data on how minorities are affected by climate change. The Judge required this information so he could address his concerns about environmental racism at an environmental conference. The biggest lesson that the judge was trying to get me to comprehend was the importance of representation and the difference between legality and reality. This lesson has helped me realize how the judicial system ties in with my career interest. As an aspiring urban planner planning is a long process that determines what a city will look like. Urban planning has many key players who influence the process which involves city councils, local authorities and even the courts. When it comes to land use disputes legal action is done through the courts in order to regulate property. From then on out I have taken active interest in the judicial system and appreciate the experience.