Interning in the DA's office

Outside the Monroe County District Attorney's office.
Outside the Monroe County District Attorney’s office.

By Duane Ford ’15

Last summer I interned at the Monroe County District Attorney’s (DA) office in the domestic violence department. I worked closely with an Assistant District Attorney (ADA), and helped prepare cases for indictment.

My favorite part about the internship was consulting with the ADA and learning more about the law and the work that goes into preparation for a case to go to trial.

I also enjoyed watching some of the higher profile trials. My least favorite part about the internship was, actually nothing to do with the work of the internship, but that I had to go through a metal detector about every 10 minutes walking back and forth from the DA’s office to the hall of justice and have to empty my pockets, remove my belt and watch, and anything else that was metal. Even with all of that it was a very rewarding experience since I knew that I had assisted in putting perpetrators of domestic violence behind bars and protected victims from their abusers.

During a typical day I did a lot of refiling of paperwork, organization of cases, do “discovery” (which is a fancy name for copying 100+ papers), and would go to get documents notarized. When there was an ongoing trial I would sometimes assist in interviewing jurors for jury selection and help go over case work with the ADA presiding over the case. I received the job by applying directly through the District Attorney’s internship program. My connections also helped; I was lucky enough to shadow a friend of my mother’s in the bureau.

My advice for anyone looking for an internship is to build a network of people or contacts that you can tap into when you want an internship or a job opportunity. For undergraduates: start making your connections now, find someone with a large network that you already know (including Syracuse University alumni) and they will help to point you in the direction of helpful people they know. A great way to build these connections is through joining an organization with a diverse group of interests and majors like Student Association. If you are interested in hearing more about my internship, please feel free to contact me at I would be happy to talk to you more about working with a District Attorney or the office at Monroe County!

If you are interested in pursuing opportunities in the government, law, nonprofit, education, or public service sector, don’t miss the Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on Friday, February 28 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. More than 50 nonprofit and government organizations will be in Panasci Lounge (Schine) to recruit SU students for internships and full-time positions!  You can view the list of attending organizations and their open positions in OrangeLink.