Kristen Means ’15 joins Attorney General during semester in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Centre News in Internships, News, Study Abroad 17 Jan 2014

The Washington D.C. Attorney General’s office is a bustling hub of legal activity, with over 350 attorneys working constantly on a steady stream of important lawsuits and litigation. This spring, Kristen Means ’15 will be added to these ranks as an intern during her participation in the Centre-in-Washington study away program.

Centre College’s study away programs allow students to travel to larger metropolitan areas for unparalleled opportunities in a variety of fields; the Centre-in-Washington internship program focuses on art and architecture, U.S. foreign policy, politics and international affairs. Students work as interns in a variety of government and nonprofit organizations while taking classes at neighboring Butler University.

“I couldn’t resist the opportunity to intern and live for a few months in the heartbeat of our nation’s government,” Means says.

means_kristen2The politics major will spend her semester with the Civil Litigation division of the Attorney General’s (AG) office, which defends the District of Columbia in civil actions involving the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendment violations, Civil Rights cases and employment discrimination, to name a few.

“I’m most looking forward to applying what I learn in my classes to a real-life experience,” Means says. “I’m also looking forward to the behind-the-scenes work of how lawyers prepare for trials and hearings, especially in a city of national importance. I will be treated as an associate paralegal and am excited about absorbing all the information I can from the lawyers while I’m there.”

Means will be conducting legal research, drafting motions and court filings, summarizing depositions and medical records and assisting with trial preparations. In addition to work at the AG, she will be taking evening classes through Butler University and attending required trips, lectures and other activities as part of the Centre-in-Washington program. Despite the daunting nature of the semester, Means feels well prepared.

“Every Centre student has had those nights where the amount of works seems impossible,” she says. “Centre has instilled in me the attitude that no task is impossible. I’ve learned how to do tasks well under time pressure, such as writing 50 pages in three weeks while juggling extracurricular meetings.”

Means is especially excited about the opportunity to see such a diverse range of legal activity.

“The DC Attorney General Office is the 10th largest in the United States,” she explains. “Moreover, due to D.C.’s district status, the AG functions as both the local and federal prosecutor. I’ll be able to learn parts of the methods in which the judicial system works in state, county and city governments.”

Equally important for Means is the opportunity to test-drive a future vocation.

“I plan on having a career in U.S. politics,” Means says, “and my internship will allow me to acquire contacts and see firsthand whether my future is in law or another avenue that allows me to defend people’s rights.”

Learn more about the Centre-in-Washington program.

By Mariel Smith

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