At Moritz, students do more than study law. Before they ever take a bar exam, they participate in student groups, give back to the community, and make other outstanding contributions. Check here for Profiles of Service featuring current Moritz Law students making a difference at our school, in the community, and in the world. If you know a current student making a difference, please contact our communications team at: 614-292-0283.
For Morgan Cook ’14, being awarded the Reinberger summer internship meant the opportunity to participate in an invaluable experience, one that furthered her interest in criminal law. The internship is funded by the Reinberger Foundation through Moritz’s Program in Public Service Law and allows four current students to work/intern in prosecution offices as well as a post-graduate position in prosecution in Ohio.
“It was a great stress-reliever since I was dipping into my savings a lot, and it was also just nice to be recognized,” Cook said.
Cook spent a summer working in the Kings County District Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, N.Y. and was able to actively participate in a wide variety of assignments during her time there. She went through hours of prison phone calls, helped supervisors craft their cases, and wrote a handful of briefs for the court, including motions to suppress evidence. She also had the responsibility of writing memos for various attorneys within the office that covered topics such as what is considered a faulty criminal suspect lineup and what qualifies as threatening the president of the United States.
“I think I was most proud of having my answers and my motions being sent to the court,” Cook said. “That’s my first experience with having my work, with very little revisions, sent under my attorney’s name directly to the court, and that was rewarding.”
Cook also had the opportunity to work on her own misdemeanor cases, where she prepared everything for arraignment in court, contacted defense attorneys, and interviewed victims. It was an achievement she felt stood out during her experience.
“There’s a sense of accomplishment that came with handling my own cases,” Cook said. “Obviously I worked under the guidance of my supervisors. But it was very independent and I had to take initiative to go after building my case, tracking down security cameras, talking with arresting officers, and getting drug toxicology results. The freedom that I was given to pursue those cases was also something that I’m very pleased about.”
Cook’s initial interest in pursuing a legal education was a result of her work as an undergraduate student for The Law Office of Nancy Berté, an immigration law firm in Chicago. Her job, which included putting together clients’ applications for permanent residency and student visas, proved to be personally rewarding.
“It was nice to be able to help people who deserved to be in the U.S. and in the Chicago area doing good work at the universities,” Cook said. “I enjoyed helping them stay here and take advantage of those opportunities.” Now Cook is looking for opportunities herself by actively seeking a prosecutorial job for after graduation. Her ultimate goal is to utilize her law degree in the field of criminal justice. Joining the FBI had been a goal of hers prior to entering law school. “In five to 10 years, I’d like deal more with the law enforcement aspect than the legal interpretation,” she said.
When 3L Allen Law, a native of Ashland, Ohio, entered law school, he was pretty sure he wanted to work in public service. But he had no idea that interest would lead him to where he now wants to call home: Alaska.
After working two internships in America’s northernmost state, Law fell in love with the culture and now wants to pursue a career there as a prosecutor.
“It’s just got an incredible culture to it where people really become self-reliant and build together in communities,” he said. “The people really trust each other and really try to get along in ways that I think we’ve kind of lost here. It’s expensive, and it’s hard to live up there. Instead of going to the grocery store to buy salmon, you go out and fish for it. You have to.” After his first year of law school, Law interned at the Fairbanks District Attorney’s Office, located in the second-largest city in Alaska behind Anchorage. He said the internship provided an opportunity to gain hands-on experience because of the relatively small size of the office. Because the population of Alaska is so spread out, the Fairbanks office covered an area about the size of Texas with about a dozen full-time attorneys. The following summer, Law went to work for the Juneau City Attorney and saw his responsibilities expand. He earned a legal intern permit, allowing him to practice law in the courtroom, and prosecuted misdemeanor cases by himself. “It was a pretty rapid pace,” he said. “It was wild. I was pretty much on my own. It definitely boosted my confidence, and I was pretty confident going in.”
Because of the experiences, Law has no doubts that he’s ready to step right into a prosecuting job after graduation. He’s also sure it’s a career he wants to pursue.
“I think it’s really rewarding being out there and protecting your community in that way,” he said of prosecution. “But at the same time it’s hard, and it’s really emotionally taxing. I don’t think everyone is cut out to do it.”
Part of the reason Law became interested in prosecution is because of his international experiences. While attaining his undergraduate degree in Allegheny College, he studied conflict resolution in Serbia and Bosnia, both of which were still experiencing the aftereffects of war.
Law said the experience was eye-opening and made him appreciate more than ever the role of the American judicial system.
“Just meeting with war crimes victims, which are typically the victims of some of the most heinous crimes you can find, definitely made me appreciate the work prosecutors put in every day to try and achieve justice,” he said. Law has also worked extensively on the book Dream of a Nation, which is a collection of essays written by founders, CEOs, or presidents of nongovernmental organizations. Law started as an editor, but his role eventually expanded to include some writing.
Though he’s hesitant to plan too far ahead, he’d eventually like to move out west and possibly become a judge.
“I think the goal is probably to work in Alaska for a while and then go out West,” he said. “I think I’ll probably prosecute for a while, and someday I think I might want to try to be a judge or a magistrate.”