Notes From the Field: Angela Potier '21

Angela Potier '21 interned at the New Hampshire Supreme Court during the 2018 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from her internship report.

This summer, I interned at the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The court is composed of the Chief Justice and four associate justices. The Supreme Court is responsible for correcting errors in trial court proceedings, interpreting case law and statutes and the state and federal constitutions, and administering the courts.

During my internship, I completed three bench memos (two expository and one persuasive memo that included my own legal analysis), a twelve-page research memo concerning criminal responsibility and constitutional interpretation for a question of first impression in New Hampshire, a sample client letter, and a budgeting memo. In order to complete my assignments, I had to learn how to conduct legal research using Westlaw and state and federal statutes. Legal writing is very different from academic writing with regard to style, but the legal reasoning process will be useful to employ in academic work.

Because this internship required me to complete a significant amount of writing, I had to learn how to write efficiently. Prior to this internship, my drafting process was quite slow, so being able to write efficiently and effectively will be a useful skill for both academic and professional settings. My assignments also required me to summarize, organize, and interpret a large amount of factual material, which will be a useful skill to apply to work in other industries, such as consulting.

My greatest takeaway from this internship is the importance of evidence to substantiate claims. Often in academic work, we make claims and find evidence to substantiate them. In legal writing, we find evidence (i.e. case law) and formulate an argument based on precedent. Another key takeaway from this internship is firsthand insight into how the court functions as a policymaker. All in all, the most important thing I learned from this internship was the importance of collaboration. This internship has affirmed my interest in pursuing law school and working for this institution has reinforced my belief in the importance of appellate advocacy.

I couldn’t have asked for a better internship experience, and it is with sincere gratitude and immense appreciation that I thank the Rockefeller Center and the Dartmouth Lawyers Association for awarding me this grant, which allowed to pursue this exceptional opportunity.