Assistant Intern

I arrived at the Courthouse early that day. My last internship experience hadn't been that pleasant. I'll explain: too many interns, too few windows available so that we could address the request of plaintiffs. Mine is the last shift and it's sad to say that not many people seek Justice at the end of the business day.

Last time I literally stole something! I stole something in the middle of the Courthouse! I stole the attention of a plaintiff who was seeing another intern. I made my way into the case, asking questions and showing my interest. Finally, I stole the plaintiff all to myself! Don't you think I'm a bad person! I'm just trying to become a lawyer...

Actually, every client we see (hereinafter “plaintiff”) is worth a set amount of time to interns, who at the end of the semester need to report how many hours they've spent exercising the profession as an apprentice. That's how you pass a class called “Internship I.” In other words, we are hungry for plaintiffs, so we end up stealing from one another. That's the law of the jungle.

So, that day I arrived early to try to collect plaintiffs and have enough time to see them without  elbowing other 15 interns on those two small windows. I was half-an-hour early and I checked in with the Supervising Lawyer, who's coordinating ALL interns ALL by herself after her colleague jumped ship. Crazy!

The Supervising Lawyer said I would have to take care of screening, so a new intern could have a chance to write her first petition. I got a little upset... Besides being the coolest part, writing petitions is what's worth more of an intern's time and gives you more credit! I didn't think twice and decided to offer my moral support and help that intern write the petition. I can be such a smart ass sometimes...

There I was, playing the teacher with all my extensive experience, having written only three actual petitions. I would teach the poor girl what needed to be done. The plaintiff was there, right in front of us. He spoke softly and seemed like a nice guy. He had bought some furniture at this big department store and they failed to assemble it for him. He only wanted compensation for pain and suffering and that the department store finally assembled the piece of furniture. Piece of cake.

With the petition template open, the girl placed her thin fingers on the keyboard. She looked terrified. She looked at me, then at the plaintiff, then at the empty screen before looking at me again. I knew it wouldn't end well...

“C'mon. Let's start typing the plaintiff's story, following the chronological order of the events,” I said, with my best professorial voice.

I thought the skinny bitch would get what I was saying and happily start typing away. She didn't. She just stood there, looking at me with those bug eyes and a stupid nervous smile on her face. She didn't know what to do or HOW to do it...

“Well, you can start with something like this,” I went on. “On such and such day, they Plaintiff bought a piece of furniture of such and such model at the Defendant's store and requested that it be delivered to his friend's address...”

The girl started to type exactly what I was saying.

“No, you don't have to type what I'm saying! I'm just giving you some ideas. You can write however you want it.” 

She stopped, like she had a sudden brain freeze―rather, a brain fart. Her fingers were shaking. That's when I gave up and spelled everything out for the dumb bitch.

The more she typed, the more flustered I got! She didn't even know how to use a stupid comma. She didn't write in a coherent way and couldn't see the typos I was pointing out. She'd even leave some words behind and fail to see the mistakes I had asked her to correct. That was so  irritating! The worse part of it all―and she had to be doing it on purpose, 'cause there's no logical explanation for that―was that she spelled “but” with two Ts every single time! Yes, “butt” instead of “but”! That's where her head has been stuck her whole life, I'm sure!

Now, let's pause for a moment to reflect on this situation: how come there is an individual in the world who wants to be a lawyer and doesn't even know how to write and spell correctly?

I decided to look the other way for the time being, because I was so sorry for the plaintiff looking at our faces and waiting for his petition to be ready by 6 pm, which was his deadline to file the case that same day.

The petition was half-ready after I told the chick exactly what to type. The skinny bitch was all happy and thankful.

“What semester are you in?” she asked.

“Seventh, just like you,” I said.

“Oh, so there must be a lawyer in your family,” she said, looking slightly shocked, in complete disbelief.

“No, I had never been inside a courthouse or read a petition my whole life before starting this internship program three days ago.”

She was really dumbfounded, staring at me as if I were a super professor, a super lawyer with 30 years of experience under my belt. I told her my best feature was that I am fearless and cynical. That was the best I could do to explain it to her.

I left the girl in the line of interns queuing in front of the Supervising Lawyer so that their petitions could be reviewed and we could get the information we needed in the screening section. That's when I spotted another intern in peril. I didn't have anything better to do, anyway, so I decided to help. That was when I realized I was fulfilling my destiny...

The Supervising Lawyer was going crazy, doing three things at the same time. She couldn't handle the queue of interns making different demands.

“Go ask Clarice and she'll teach you that,” the Supervising Lawyer yelled at a terrified intern that looked like a deer caught in the headlights.

Wow! I'll teach her what? I'm just amazing, ain't I? I'm glad to help, but having the Supervising Lawyer say that I can share my limited knowledge with a colleague was really special. I think I'm gonna blush...

At the end of the shift, the skinny intern came looking for me.

“I want to be a Criminal Lawyer,” she confided in me.

“Really? You want to work with violence and crime?” I asked, overreacting on purpose, with my mouth hanging wide open in honest disbelief.

She gave me that stupid smile again.

“Good luck then,” I said, thinking that would hardly ever happen.

All in all, I still believe we should have faith in Justice... The interns of today will be the lawyers of tomorrow.

Clarice D'Ippolito was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1977. She majored in Tourism in 2003 and today goes to Law School and works as an intern for a law firm. 

She has worked as a translator, chambermaid in an international cruiseship, travel agent, and in large state companies in Brazil. 

Coming from a family of writers, she started writing as a hobby from a very early age. Her blog is called Moods' Journal.