During his last semester at Harvard Law, Daniel Ain ’15 participated in the Judicial Process in Community Courts Clinic. Our office reached out and asked him to share his thoughts about this experience. Please read his comments below.
OCP: What interested you in working with the Judicial Process in Community Courts Clinic?
DA: I enrolled in the clinic as a 3L because after two and a half years at law school I had yet to spend any significant time in a courtroom. My summer positions and other clinical work at Harvard Law School had been focused exclusively on transactional and corporate law. I reasoned that a placement at the court would give me a more balanced law-school experience.
OCP: What were your responsibilities?
DA: My placement was with the Hon. Mary K. Ames of the Massachusetts Superior Court, who presided over civil sessions during my time in the clinic. Two days each week I observed trials and motion hearing sessions, and assisted Judge Ames with legal research and drafting. In addition, I spent a significant amount of time each day speaking with Judge Ames in chambers about ongoing matters. My admiration for her only grew as I listened to her insights, always astute, conscientious and thoughtful.
OCP: How did your experience help you expand your knowledge horizon?
DA: I found the observational and research oriented components of the clinical placement beneficial. In observing trials, some multi-week in length, I learned a vast amount about procedure and, more importantly, about what makes a good trial attorney. From opening statements to examination of witnesses to closing statements, skilled advocates used their time effectively, always respectful of the court, and moved cases by narrowing in on the right topics and asking the right questions. The hearings reminded me of sitting in law school classes, with respect to the often creative (sometimes adventurous) and thoughtful legal arguments attorneys made to win (or attempt to win) a particular motion. As to my research and drafting assignments, these were challenging and useful exercises.
OCP: What memories will you take away from your clinical experience?
DA: More than the work, it is the people at the Superior Court I will remember most. The assistant clerk of the court, the court officer, and the law clerks I met, each loved working at the court and went out of their way to be helpful anytime I had a question or needed guidance. I consider Judge Ames a mentor and will always be thankful for the opportunity to work in her court. I know that I will carry the memories of my time working for Judge Ames with me throughout my legal career.