Leadership Fellows Summer Experiences
|Summer Experience Profiles|
|L. Collin Cooper|
Leadership Fellows have an opportunity to serve in a public sector organization through a summer externship offered with course credit and a scholarship covering the tuition for the externship course and living expenses.
The following is one in a series of self-reported descriptions of the fellows' summer employment experiences.
Chantelle Lytle '13
Name of Employer:
Fifteenth Judicial Circuit of South Carolina
Horry County Solicitor’s Office (Conway, S.C.)
Name of Position:
First Line Supervisor:
Jimmy A. Richardson, II
Description of Position:
Law clerks within the Horry County Solicitor’s Office operate under the direct supervision of Deputy Solicitor Richardson. Assignments, ranging from short-term to long-term, include, but are not limited to: legal research, legal writing, case file review and document production. The type and frequency of tasks assigned to law clerks is determined by individual Solicitors. Throughout the completion of assignments, law clerks receive valuable instruction from Solicitors related to legal and interoffice matters. In addition to assigned tasks, law clerks have the opportunity to participate in field visits and observe court proceedings within General Sessions and Family Court. Alongside tasks within the Solicitor’s Office, law clerks gain exposure to member departments, including: Pre-Trial Intervention, Clerk of Court and affiliated police departments and adult and juvenile detention centers.
Legal Research & Writing
The majority of the position’s duties rely on the law clerk’s legal research and writing skills. Approximately 40% of the law clerk’s tasks require comprehensive research of a legal topic. Oftentimes, the assigning Solicitor does not provide initial research leads, so a broad span of research is required. The law clerk must then determine the most relevant law, subsequently summarizing his or her findings in a legal brief for the assigning Solicitor. The frequency of these tasks is dependent upon the Solicitors’ demand for research findings. Additionally, approximately 5% of the law clerk’s tasks include drafting motions and memorandums of law to the court. The frequency of these tasks is dependent upon the number of ongoing cases during the law clerk’s term. This research and writing component relies on skills acquired in the first year of law school, while further enhancing and refining such abilities.
Approximately 25% of the law clerk’s tasks include observing court proceedings. These proceedings within General Sessions and Family Court include, but are not limited to: Roll Call, Preliminary Hearings, Plea Court, Jury Qualification and the full trial-term. Law clerks observe such proceedings at their own discretion, balancing their time between observing proceedings and completing assigned tasks. The frequency of courtroom observances is limited by assigned tasks as well as the court schedule. Such experiences provide a setting in which law clerks can observe the practical application of classroom and casebook discussions of criminal law.
Case File Review
Approximately 20% of the law clerk’s tasks include reviewing case files. Oftentimes, Solicitors have already reviewed, organized and crafted their case files upon delivering the files to law clerks. The Solicitors share the files with law clerks in order to gauge fresh interpretations of the facts and most notably, gain additional opinions related to evidence in support of a conviction. In return, reviewing case files gives law clerks the opportunity to engage in discussions with Solicitors regarding these intentions. Oftentimes, a Solicitor will invite the law clerk(s) to participate in witness interviews, investigative interviews and crime scene visits related to the specific case file. Additionally, if necessary, the law clerk is asked to organize and summarize the contents of a case file.
Approximately 5% of the law clerk’s tasks include field visits to various member departments of the Solicitor’s Office. Possible field visits include, but are not limited to: adult and juvenile detention centers, polygraph testing centers, crime scenes and undercover drug operations. The type and frequency of these field visits is dependent upon the Solicitors’ schedules and case files at the time of the law clerk’s term.
Approximately 5% of the law clerk’s tasks include document production. This task requires law clerks to retrieve designated documents from case files to compile and summarize. Additionally, the law clerk may be asked to create duplicate files that include relevant documents. While this task does not engage legal analysis, it exposes the law clerk to various types of documents that he or she will encounter in future practical settings.