My name is Clara Thompson (20’), a rising Senior from Cold Spring, New York! I am an international affairs major with a media and film studies minor. This summer I got the opportunity to be the Public Affairs intern at the Office of the New York Attorney General, Letitia James. The New York Attorney General is the people’s lawyer and the State’s chief legal officer. Letitia James and her office works to protect the state of New York and it’s population. The litigation teams are divided into five main divisions: Appeals and Opinions, State Counsel, Criminal Justice, Economic Justice and Social Justice. The current Attorney General, Letitia James, is the first woman of color to hold the position, and only the second woman. The office has litigated may prominent cases which cover a range of topics, from zombie houses to the 2020 census.
The Attorney General’s Office of New York hires hundreds of interns, many at the Manhattan office, but also spread across their regional bureaus. There are offices across the state in Albany, Poughkeepsie, Suffolk, Stony Brook, Utica, Syracuse, Hornell, Rochester, Buffalo, Watertown, Plattsburgh, and Binghamton. There are city regional offices as well, with offices in Harlem and Brooklyn. Many of the interns work under the legal bureaus, working in litigation. The official title of the internship hosted by the Attorney General’s office is the SLIP Internship, meaning the Summer Legal Internship Program. We had a whole orientation on the first day to go over proper procedures and was given an overview of the office. At this orientation I learned most of the other interns are in Law school. I was pretty intimidated by these older interns but I was happy to discover that most of the interns in my department were undergrads. I worked on the executive office floor, working within many different teams as the Public Affairs Intern. My main efforts were within the Press Team and the Operations Team.
As an intern I did a range of activities and projects. I wrote press briefs and also helped to set up different press events. I would work with the main advance person to setup different stages and press conferences. The attorney general speaks at many different events, and almost all of them are recorded or attended by important people. This makes it pertinent that she and the other people look good, and not awkward or weird. One of my favorite events was a press conference/rally we held in Foley Square after the Supreme Court decision on the 2020 Census. It was moving to see so many people come together for something important. On that day it was also extremely hot, which added a layer of difficulty to the event. I got to attend many other speaking or political events, such a legal conference at Columbia and a protest in memoriam of Eric Garner. One of the coolest opportunities I had was the chance to march with the Attorney General in the New York City Pride Parade. It was an incredible experience, especially since it was the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.
My internship this summer has taught me so much and has been an incredible experience. I have improved upon skills I already possessed and learned how to work with many different people. I also learned a lot about state level government and the legal system. I am grateful to the Summer Experience Fund for making it possible. Commuting to the city from my hometown is extremely expensive, and I could not bare the cost on my own. There was no way I would have been able to afford taking this unpaid internship without the Summer Experience Fund and the CDC’s help.