My Summer with a Judge

What’s it like to be a judge?

It’s my sixth week of working for Judge Dineen Riviezzo of the Kings County (Brooklyn) Supreme Court. Judge Riviezzo hears felony cases and Article 10 civil confinement cases. Also, every Friday, she’s in charge of the juvenile offender part, where she hears cases involving 14, 15, and 16-year-olds who would normally be heard in Family Court, but because they commit certain serious crimes, are heard in Supreme Court (but are often afforded youthful offender treatment).

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View of Brooklyn from the Judge’s chambers

So far, I can say that being a judge requires three major qualities.

First, it requires patience. Whether it’s dealing with an attorney’s mistake, sorting out a disagreement between the parties, or waiting for a defendant to be produced or parties to show up, I’ve learned that for judges, every day is a test of patience. Continue reading

Summer Associate, Week 1: 59 Thoughts

Okay, so granted, I was also a summer associate last year.

Last summer, I wrote to you about what it was like to be a 1L at a firm and how much I was able to do despite how little we feel like we learn in law school. After having the honor of being asked back to the same firm for this summer, I decided to shake it up a little bit. I was feeling inspired by BuzzFeed’s recent posts of the same nature on Season 6 of Game of Thrones, so I decided to give you all an “unfiltered” peek into what my first week as a summer associate at a firm in Western New York was like, with some Michael Scott references peppered in — because, after all, I do work in an office.

  1. Heels hurt. I can practically hear my toes monologuing about why they hate me.
  2. Okay, but the way heels click across a floor makes you sound like a boss. I feel like I’m in the beginning of that Jordan Sparks song. Like, look at me, I’m important, I know where I’m going-
  3. Uh oh. Where am I going?
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Space Law?

Martian rights. Asteroid mining disputes. Inter-galactic treaties.

Someday an attorney will work in these practice areas, but sadly that day is not today. So much of what humans do out there – in space – is governed by laws grounded right here on Earth.

This past summer I had the honor of working as a Law Clerk at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Office of the General Counsel.

Yes, NASA has lawyers! From environmental legal issues to contracts and international agreements, NASA attorneys work on a wide range of matters enabling tremendous leaps in research and development and advancing our nation’s exploration of the cosmos. NASA is a United States government agency responsible for the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Thumbs up at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland

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Things I Wish I Knew, Vol. 9: Law school doesn’t teach you how to be a lawyer, and that’s kind of okay

It defies our concepts of professional school, right?

Dentistry school: learn how to make people’s teeth healthy. Physical therapy school: help people regain lost movement. Electrician school, beauty school, you name it – all pretty much teach you everything you need to know to accomplish the job you’ll have after graduation.

Law school is the odd man out. Even attorneys I know who took classes in the area of law they now practice say that they learned most of how to do their job after they got it. That’s why I when someone asks me what type of law I want to practice, I always want to reply, “Well, I don’t think I know how to practice any type of law.”

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