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katemort

Roadtrip to Appeals Court- 7.02

TP took Susan and I to the appeals court in Pietermaritzburg (PMB, as it is called by the cool kids), which is a city about 45 minutes away on Tuesday. I was particularly invested in this trip because the appeal was a case that I had worked on. This was the same matter I visited prison for. Two men had been arrested for armed robbery. The case had hinged on the issue of two alternate realities, the one given by the complaintant and the one given by the accused. After talking to the accused in prison, we discovered that they…

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katemort

A Change of Scenary- 6.29

Another week and a half has gone by. It was not particularly busy at work. Susan and I went to Cape Town last weekend. We had an incredible time. The nicest part of being there was that we didn’t have to worry about walking around at night just the two of us. As much as I love Durban sometimes it gets exhausting always being on the lookout for someone who wants to rob us or constantly being approached by beggers and peddlers. We partook in a lot of activities but mostly we just walked around. We arrived on Saturday and…

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katemort

Off to Prison Again- 6.20

Went to prison again yesterday. This was quite different than the last time. TP had assigned me to an appeal matter regarding armed robbery. There were two accused who had both been convicted and sentenced to the minimum which was 15 years in prison. I had done the research and read through the record and the judgment and in my opinion there was reasonable doubt. The judge agreed with me and hence the granting of an appeal. Basically the case set up two alternate realities and it came down to a matter of which one was true. The accused claimed…

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katemort

Appeal Issues- 6.19

I want to address the issue of appeals. Some of my feelings on it might result from inexperience or ignorance, so I want to give that disclaimer. But many of the cases I have been working on have been appeal issues and it has developed a sense of confusion and frustration towards appeals. Here is the process as I understand it. Because there are no jury trials, everything here is tied before a magistrate (judge) and along with two assistants who have say in the decision, they decide the case. The standard here is reasonable doubt for criminal matters at…

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katemort

An Assertive Judge in the Suburbs- 6.15

It has been a while since I have written and there is good reason for that. I kept putting it off and then when I was planning on doing it, I got the horrible stomach bug that Susan had suffered just a week earlier. I didn’t go to work on Thursday or Friday and while both those times would have been good to write, that would have necessitated sitting up which was not an appealing notion at the time. Things are moving steadily. Homesickness has set in a bit, particularly because work was a bit slow at times and the…

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spencerl

My Life at a Big Firm:  Week 4

I just finished my fourth week of work. This upcoming Monday, I will change practice groups from Labor and Employment to Environmental. I'm excited to do something different, but also a little anxious all over again. I've spent the last three weeks getting to know the attorneys I've worked with, learning their preferences and styles and basically just trying not to screw anything up. Now I get to start the process all over again! I'm excited though because it will be an entirely new area of the law, with different assignments and different issues. Also, I've met a lot of…

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mnienaber-foster

Don’t Forget the Summer

As I typed a client letter today at work, I realized for the first time that it is the middle of June already! As I have sat at my desk for the past month, the warm haze of summer has set in, but I have only seen it out of the corner of my eye as the sun shines in to my office window. Granted, I am working full-time at an amazing legal services agency, and I have been taking classes at school part-time so that I have less of a load during my last school year, but I realized…

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katemort

6/08- “Ghetto Court”

They kept telling me, "It's the Bronx times 10," but that was all speculation based on what they had seen on TV since none of them has ever actually been to New York City. All of the WashU kids have left for their class in Cape Town so that leaves Susan and I at the office just the two of us. Typically we were working in the board room, but because the Board is being audited, we have been working in the cubicles. The combination of circumstances has meant that Susan and I have had a great opportunity to get…

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katemort

6/05- My first case

These next couple of posts are from last week, but I did not have internet access so bear with me on the lag. Thanks. I was going to wait until there was another step in the matter that I am dealing with, but so far it has been adjourned three times so I am not optimistic that it will happen any time soon and want to get these thoughts down while they are fresh. TP assigned me my first case. It was a double rape, which in SA has a minimum sentence of life. He handed me a file with…

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spencerl

My Life at a Big Firm:  The First Three Weeks

My name is Laura, and I recently started at Bryan Cave LLP in St. Louis, Missouri. Bryan Cave has over 800 attorneys in 15 offices worldwide, the largest office being in St. Louis with around 275 attorneys. My summer class consists of 22 other summer associates from a variety of schools. All of these numbers totaled up to one feeling the night before I started: utter panic. How was I going to fit in? How was I going to keep track of things like client matter numbers and billable hours? What are client matter numbers and billable hours?! I was…

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