By Kayla Kidd, Sophomore,
My name is Kayla Kidd and I am currently studying criminology and political science at the University of Utah. I have been interning at the Summit County Attorney’s office in Park City this summer. Within the last three months, I learned a lot and got to experience different departments within the office. I updated resources, like a pamphlet for victims of domestic violence. I was able to watch different court hearings like people getting divorced, prosecuting, and drug court. Also, I got to watch how victim advocates help people who need resources.
Exploring New Paths
At the beginning of my internship, I was shown how different career paths work within the criminal justice field. The one I found most interesting was how lawyers do their job. I was able to see that different types of lawyers work on different types of cases, and that there isn’t just a prosecutor or defense attorneys. I was shown that lawyers can help people who have been convicted before and after. They also help families in certain ways. This has made me want to become a lawyer more because I want to be able to help families in any way possible and get justice for the right reasons. I was also able to observe Drug Court, which is where people who are convicted and addicted to drugs get another chance. They do frequent testing and have court supervision. It helps them become clean and make better decisions in life.
One thing that I wish I had known before starting my internship was not always jumping to conclusions. If you are working in the criminal justice field, you also have to have good communication skills. Along with being able to hide your emotions because you will hear or see awful things. As an observer in the courtroom and as a lawyer, you must always be listening as well as being able to communicate nonverbally if you don’t want to appear unprofessional. Problem-solving and teamwork are essential because you have to communicate with the team you are working with, and with the opponent’s lawyer. They have to see how severe the charges are and decide on a plea bargain or deal with the defendant. When I first started my internship, I was very quiet and shy because this was a serious professional place. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes or say something that I shouldn’t. It gave me more confidence that I want to become a lawyer. My communication skills got better over the weeks because I was introduced to many people within the system. I was able to make relationships and connections with people who work outside of the Summit County Attorney’s Office. Time management was a big growth area for me with being on time and being in the court session before it started.
Some advice I would give to someone who is looking to pursue an internship is to do as many internships as you can to get the experience needed. It will give you more insights into what you want your goals to be. The internship will give you real-life experience and improve your skills. One of the most important things I would say to you is to have good communication skills, so that you are able to connect with other people and build relationships with them. Networking is great because the people you meet can help you in the future with what you want to pursue, and it helps get a foot in the door with future opportunities. Your internship might lead to a job offer if you made a good impression on the people you worked with.
During my time interning, I was able to sit on a variety of cases. My least favorite observed cases were divorce proceedings because they got messy and could take a while to finalize. As a victim advocate, you sit in on interviews and help give resources to help people who are in need. Especially the interviews where children were victims. There are things that you can’t imagine would happen, and getting to be able to see it with my own eyes was hard. I got the opportunity to sit in on an aggravated murder case that is in the news right now. Also, once a week for the whole summer I interned I observed drug court, where I was able to watch people make better decisions and grow more than they thought they would.
A Clearer Purpose
When I further my goal of becoming a lawyer, I want to be able to bring drug court to Indian Reservations because I come from a reservation where a lot of young people become addicted to drugs and alcohol. This can help the younger people know that there is more to life than drugs/alcohol, and hopefully give them hope to further their education or work life. Also, there has been little justice done for the missing and murdered indigenous women, and I want to be able to help change that. Along with having hardly any Native American women who are lawyers. I have always been interested in becoming a lawyer because of these reasons, and I want to be able to help communities and give justice for the right reasons.