The 24th Annual Howard B. Eisenberg Do-Gooders’ Auction on behalf of the Law School’s Public Interest Law Society (PILS) will be held on February 17 at the Law School. Proceeds from the event go to support PILS Fellowships to enable Marquette law students to do public interest work in the summer. Don Applegate, a current law student, shares his experience here as a PILS Fellow.
Where did you work as a PILS Fellow?
I worked at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Boston.
What kind of work did you do there?
I was placed in the Narcotics Unit for the summer, so I had the privilege of working with many Assistant DA’s whose main goal is to make the Boston community a safer place to live. My time there was equally divided between writing various motions and conducting investigative work. Some days would be spent drafting Direct Indictment Memos or Memos in Opposition to the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Evidence, and other days would be spent watching security camera footage or listening to jail calls to assist an ADA with an ongoing investigation. Also, every week a Unit Chief from the DA’s Office would address all the office interns during the lunch hour. It was fascinating to hear the various tasks each unit is responsible for, how the different units work together, and how passionate every employee was for their unit.
How was the experience meaningful to you?
I had a front row seat to see how the criminal justice system works–the key word being justice. I saw how the DA’s Office as a whole values justice above conviction rates and how the Office cares just as much about helping victims, witnesses, and the community as prosecuting an alleged criminal. My favorite example of how the Office gives victims a voice is the Now You See: A Celebration of Courageous Kids initiative. This project reveals the bravery of sexually and physically abused children by including a photograph of the child’s eyes along with a description of the eyes in the child’s own words. This is just one of the many examples how the Office uses unique and innovative ways to help victims other than prosecuting on their behalf. In the end, I saw a side of the lawyer profession I had not strongly considered for myself before last summer, but this experience has inspired me to further pursue this career path.