|Courtney Knox Speaking|
The event was sponsored by the Regent University School of Law Office of Career and Alumni Services and led by Associate Dean of Law and Career Alumni Services Judge Patricia L. West (Ret.). Approximately 80 guests, which included current interns as well as judges and judicial administrative staff members from 15 courts, enjoyed a brief reception followed by dinner and remarks from rising 2L law student Courtney Know and Judge Robert H. Sandwich. To further celebrate the work of those who participate in the program, two awards were presented to outstanding individuals who have gone above and beyond in their service to the program.
“Having the privilege to spend our summers sitting with a judge and exploring the court system is such a rare and unique opportunity,” Knox said. “I know that we are all fortunate and grateful.”
The opportunity for interns to mingle and network with judges and their administrative staff is invaluable as they prepare for their future careers as attorneys. The intern program currently has 25 first and second-year law students who commit at least 20 hours per week for a minimum of 8 weeks during the summer. The students provide local courts with research and administrative support and in return get experience in the courtroom.
“It’s very special to have moments where we get a first-hand invite into how judges think,” Knox said. “What stood out to me was not a big, dramatic moment in the courtroom, but a simple five-minute conversation I had in the hallway with my fellow interns and one of the judges.”
Knox explained that they had seen a skilled attorney at work and afterward asked the judge what her secret was. The judge responded that it was simply preparation. It’s moments like this, where students are able to interact with and learn from judges that inspire them to put in the time, effort and commitment to do their best.
The keynote speaker, Judge Sandwich, echoed Knox’s point about preparation and encouraged the interns to read and know the statutes.
“When I became a judge I was in awe of it, and I still am to a certain degree because of the responsibility,” Sandwich said.
Born and raised in Georgia, Sandwich received his undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in 1993 and completed law school in 1997. He served for two years each in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices of Portsmouth, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. In 2007 he became the assistant commonwealth attorney for the City of Suffolk and served there until his appointment as judge to the 5th Judicial Circuit in Virginia in July 2013.
Sandwich encouraged interns to know their judges, to watch what they say and how they act on social media, in public, and in the courtroom, and to uphold the values of the profession.
“Be respectful and keep it together, because the best way to impress a judge is to hold your order,” Sandwich said. “We are the gatekeepers in this environment, so evaluate situations and keep your dignity. I have a lot of faith in this program. Remember that the judge you appear in front of is a human and keep that in mind as you go through your daily practice of law.”
The evening ended with the presentations of awards. Judge Glen A. Huff Jr., Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Virginia, received the Judge of the Year Award. Norfolk General District Clerk Thomas Baldwin received the 20th Anniversary Award.
By Esther Keane