By: Rachel Golden ’24
This summer I had the honor of working at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York. I had the opportunity to work side by side with the Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs). I observed them in court and I watched them prepare for cases, and I quickly realized and understood the demanding work the AUSAs do daily is to keep our community safe.
Going into the summer, we were told the point of this internship was to build relationships and develop your legal research and writing skills. I am glad to say I was able to accomplish both, and so much more.
While working at the United States Attorney’s Office, I was able to help with legal research and writing. I drafted legal memoranda and motions, and I was able to sit in with the AUSAs on case development. I got invested in cases and felt the emotional rollercoaster of attending these court appearances and waiting for judicial decisions. Additionally, one of the unexpected outcomes of my summer experience was being able to work with and develop friendships with my co-clerks. We observed the amicable relationships between the AUSAs and I believe their camaraderie rubbed off on us. We would band together and help a fellow clerk get a research project done when urgent, and we would always bounce ideas off each other before presenting them to the AUSAs. For these relationships, I am extremely grateful for my summer internship.
However, the greatest experience was through the various fieldtrips we took. My co-clerks and I were able to explore different areas of the justice system by seeing first-hand what other departments and agencies do on a daily basis. We went to the Peace Bridge and learned all about U.S. Customs and Border Protection from the border agents. We got to visit the Erie County Crime Lab and learn about ballistics, drug and DNA testing. We got a tour of the FBI office and learned more about the relationship between the USAO and the FBI. We also got to attend SWAT training where we learned about hostage rescues, how to shoot guns, and how to rappel off a building. In addition to these fieldtrips, we were able to attend Federal Court daily to watch sentencings and hearings. We were also able to attend a state court trial. Finally, we had weekly speakers from all over the Buffalo legal community talk to us about their work and we were able to ask them questions in an intimate setting.
All these opportunities allowed me to better understand how the different departments work together to make our community safe. By being part of the DOJ for just a summer, I feel like I have a better understanding of how the system works.
Most importantly, I would like to thank the University at Buffalo School of Law and Francis and Cindy Letro for providing the fellowship that funded my summer internship. Without their generosity I would have missed out on the most amazing educational experience. I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Thank you!
Name: Rachel Golden ’24
Name of Fellowship: UB School of Law Public Interest Fellows
Placement: United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York
Location: Buffalo, NY
One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: “The greatest experience was through the various field trips we took. My co-clerks and I were able to explore different areas of the justice system by seeing first-hand what other departments and agencies do on a daily basis.”