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Law students, like Katie Madigan, certainly don’t intern at the Connecticut Attorney General’s office for the paycheck. Unlike summer associates at private law firms, their counterparts in Connecticut’s public sector generally work for free, unless they’re part of a federally subsidized public interest, work-study program through their law school. But what they don’t earn in cash, they more than make up for in experience, government interns contend. It’s a trade-off that Madigan, a soon-to-be second-year student at Pace University School of Law in White Plains, N.Y., gladly accepts, she said, despite the fact that she needs a second job as a restaurant hostess to make ends meet. Hearing from a Pace classmate who interned at a small private firm last summer and spent much of the time doing routine clerical work only reaffirms that decision, Madigan said. MEATY ASSIGNMENTS How many law students, after all, would complain about money when they’re allowed to handle oral arguments before the state Appellate Court? Natalie Anne Wood surely didn’t. A member of the Class of 1998 at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, Mass., Wood interned three summers ago for Chief State’s Attorney John M. Bailey. With guidance from her superiors in the office’s appellate division, she wound up briefing the state’s position in State v. Moody, she said. The appeal was brought by the defendant in an attempted murder case who claimed that the trial judge violated his due-process rights when he instructed jurors not to mistake the “ingenuity of counsel” for reasonable doubt. Wood’s internship had ended by the time the case came up for argument before the Appellate Court, but her supervisors let her come back to finish the job, she said. “It was a little daunting as a law student,” admitted Wood, who was also studying for final exams and preparing for the bar at the same time. Still, she was able to convince the appeals court that the defendant’s constitutional rights were not jeopardized. Interns, as long as they are properly certified by the court, “can really get involved [in a case] as much as any other attorney,” maintained Rita M. Shair, a senior attorney in Bailey’s appellate division. And, though it’s not everyday that a law student is given the green light to argue an appeal, Wood said she got the feeling that Bailey’s office would grant similar meaty roles to any intern willing to take on the responsibility and put in the required effort. HIGH-PROFILE CASES Law students interning at Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s office this summer tout the same broad exposure to the legal system. “I’m not stuck in the library all day,” proclaimed Sean Kehoe, a third-year student at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Among other public policy-related research tasks, Kehoe recently aided Blumenthal in testifying before a U.S. Senate committee looking into rising gasoline prices, he said. “You get a lot of cases you read about in the paper,” added Tabetha Tanner, who is interning in the AG’s special litigation unit, and will start at the University of Connecticut School of Law this fall. Among her assignments so far, Tanner researched First Amendment issues related to the widely publicized suit brought by the Connecticut’s eight county sheriffs over their ability to seek campaign contributions in advance of a November referendum in which voters will decide whether the state’s county sheriff’s system should be abolished. Working in the AG’s environmental department, Madigan, meanwhile, is assisting Connecticut in its feud with a Manchester, Conn., trash hauler over a mountain of garbage it let build up on its property. With plans to practice environmental law upon graduation, Madigan said she appreciates the opportunity to spend the whole summer gaining experiencing in just that one area. As a general policy, law students are assigned to a single unit with which they remain throughout their entire internships, she said.

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