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Reflections of the 2017 Ronnie Anne Powell Intern: Chinsu ShajanSeptember 1, 2017
This summer, I had the pleasure of interning at Partners for Women and Justice. My first day, like anyone’s first day at a new job, was an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. I was not completely new to the field of domestic violence, having participated in the Courtroom Advocates Project of Sanctuaries for Families where we interviewed victims of domestic violence and assisted them in drafting petitions for orders of protection. But this was different. The Ronnie Ann Powell Internship would offer me hands-on litigation experience.
I spent my first few weeks sitting in on client intakes, observing attorneys in court, and learning the lay of the land. Later, I followed many clients from the initial intake to preparation for trial to the actual trial at which they received a final restraining order. Being able to help and to support these survivors through a time of crisis was truly rewarding for me. The look of relief on a victim’s face when the judge grants the final restraining order is what makes this work worthwhile.
A few weeks into my internship, I was given my own case to try. Since I had no prior litigation experience I was very anxious about being in court and leading a trial, but the attorneys at Partners taught me everything I needed to know to successfully try the case. I handled all aspects of this case. I conducted the intake, subpoenaed police officers, prepared the client, witnesses and evidentiary exhibits, and, finally, tried the case in court. One of the most important lessons I learned while working at Partners, especially from trying a case, is the importance of having an attorney represent the victims in court.
While preparing for the case, it was a challenge to get the proper evidence we needed in time for trial and to get subpoenaed witnesses to appear in court to testify on behalf of the client. I thought, if we as attorneys have these challenges, what struggles must pro se litigants, with very little or no knowledge of the law and the justice system, face when appearing in court on their own. This summer I learned that lawyers can help shift the power from the abuser to victims.
At Partners, the main goal is to keep victims safe while empowering them to move on with their life. Though Partners is a small organization, it handles hundreds of cases each year, and the utmost care and attention is given each matter that comes through the office. Those who work at Partners for Women and Justice are truly superheroes in disguise and should be commended for the work they do every day. Not only do they work tirelessly to bring justice to these victims, they go above and beyond to maintain the safety and wellbeing of their clients well after a court date. I am honored to have had the chance to work for this amazing organization as a Ronnie Ann Powel Intern.
Thank you so much for your kindness in my time of need. i nowhave some HOPE.
Thank you for a wonderful life. Keep up the fantastic work on behalf of those of us who cannot fight for ourselves.
This letter is to thank you for all your kindness and your patience with me in my time of need. You made me feel like a person again when things were rough for me. Thanking you againâ€¦
Thank you again for all your help. It is a comfort to know that there are caring people like you in this world.
Thank you all very much for all your help advice and support. Without you, I would have been lost.
My thank you seems so small compared to all youâ€™ve done, but it comes from my heart.
â€¦my daughterâ€™s birthday is todayâ€¦you have given her the best gift of blessings in the form of your help for this case and that her mother can work for her secured and healthy future.