Bailey Bach's blog

Writing Careers within the Legal Field

My internship at the Kent County Court House has opened my eyes to a whole world of legal proceedings that I previously knew nothing about. From learning basic legal terms and abbreviations to understanding the role of each person in and out of the courtroom, I have had an open opportunity to learn as much or as little as I would like. While I spend most of my time taking notes and writing, I also have the freedom to explore whatever catches my interest. I have spoken to prosecutors, probation officers, law clerks, translator, and judges.

Learning to Write in the Professional World

Writing on the job was definitely a trial and error learning experience. As a writer in the legal world, there was not much guidance or guidelines for my day to day writings. If I came across a question of formatting or legal terms, it was mostly up to me to research and find my own answer. I feel like this experience of being responsible for my own learning has helped me greatly in the professional world. While it is important to ask questions, sometimes it is good to just give something your best shot and see how it turns out. Sometimes a little risk can have a large reward.

Online Portfolio

As of right now, my digital portfolio is technically complete. However, after hearing Lisa Knapp discuss LinkedIn strategies, I would like to make a few changes. As of right now I think that my portfolio is pretty straightforward, but I would like to direct my audience more by adding a summary and more information about what I would like to do. Right now my audience varies. I have a couple different interests career wise, the two most concrete are either a law clerk or an editing position. With these two different audiences I need to make my portfolio accessible to both.

LinkedIn

Due to past classes using LinkedIn profiles as assignments or projects, I am pretty involved in the LinkedIn community. As I have advanced in my work experience I have used LinkedIn more. I enjoy making connections with professionals and seeing what careers my friends from high school are perusing. I believe that LinkedIn provides a supportive environment for students like me that are new to the professional world.

An Eventful Day

Today was by far the most interesting and productive day that I have had at my internship. I balance the day between working on my writings and articles, which I do for roughly half of the day, and taking notes on hearings. Today's hearings were very heated and more high profile than I had experienced before, so I was incredibly interested in each one. Before lunch I saw three teens get sent to detention. This did not sit well with some of their families. During most of my note taking I sit in the jury box, halfway between the judge and the attorneys that are arguing the cases.

Meetings and Hearings

This week I was able to do a lot of very interesting tasks. On Tuesday, I was able to sit in on a meeting with the Kent School-Justice Partnership. This is the partnership that has created the new truancy program, which is launching next week. In this meeting I was able to learn about the history of the organization, their goals for this program, as well as what was going well in their efforts and what needed some more work.

The First Few Weeks

Working under Judge Feeney has been incredibly interesting. One of the things that I enjoy is that every day is different. Each day has different cases, different hearings, and different people with a variety of problems that the court is trying to help them with. Part of my job is to observe these hearings so that I can understand how the court system works from an inside view. These deal with adoptions, parental rights terminations, abuse and neglect, MIPs, possession of drugs, and bench warrants for those that owe the court money, likely from missing child support.

Internship at the Courthouse

My internship is at the Kent County Probate Court in Grand Rapids. As an intern I will largely be following family and truancy cases under Judge Feeney. She will be my supervisor throughout my internship. Her desire is for me to create positive press and writings on these cases. I will have the opportunity to interview any attorneys, judges, and probation officers present in the court. As all of these cases are public record, I will be able to review files of the cases that interest me the most.