By: Ashley Asanjarani ’23
When I started my summer at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office. I never would have thought I’d end up there. Although I wanted to be a prosecutor when I was a little girl, as I got older and made the choice to go to law school, I decided instead that I wanted to go into corporate law. This summer at the District Attorney’s Office made me realize I still have no idea what I want to do, but I really enjoyed making an impact on the community in a wide variety of ways. I wrote a motion that resulted in the judge resting on my motion papers. I spoke to victims of domestic violence, and tried to help the ADA’s keep their abusers away.
As I started the summer, I realized how much my first year at the University at Buffalo School of Law helped prepare me for writing motions and doing research. When I received my first motion to write this summer, at first, I had no idea how to start. I decided to begin by actually reading my summary judgment motion paper from LAWR class last semester. From there, I looked at the motion I had to respond to. There was nothing cited. So what do I do? Do I ask my boss for help? I learned last year that some people prefer not to answer questions right away, so I tried to figure it out first. I started by taking something I thought was an important requirement to get the case removed. I used Westlaw to find some cases. Then, I set out to find the relevant rule. I was coming up on a dead end and decided to go to Lexis as well. I typed in one of the cases, and there it was. In a lawyer’s headnote, I found rules she was using. From there I mirrored my motion paper structure. My boss was so happy with my work he wanted me to continue on the case.
Though that was a difficult learning experience, it was very rewarding. I am now able to research whatever I need in a much shorter time. By the end of the summer, I was able to write a whole motion in a day! I discovered how similar criminal procedure is to civil procedure. I even helped an ADA practice for his oral arguments, using what I learned during my first year.
I am glad I worked at the Erie County District Attorney’s Office this summer to see what being a prosecutor is like. It was such a pleasure working with great people. Lastly, I want to thank Dennis Vacco for his generous fellowship donation through the University at Buffalo School of Law’s Summer Public Interest Funding & Fellowship Program. Without it, I would not have had the opportunity to learn that I really care about criminal law.
Name: Ashley Asanjarani ’23
Name of Fellowship: Honorable Dennis Vacco ‘78 Summer Fellowship
Placement: Erie County District Attorney’s Office
Location: Buffalo, NY
One important lesson I have learned from this fellowship: “Don’t let people make you think that questions are a bad thing. Questions are good, especially when you don’t understand and need further clarification. But, definitely try to figure it out a little bit first.”