Legal Studies Students Visit Local Courthouses
The largest item that Shauna Zomek observed in the Hampden County Superior Court–in the room that holds every item that has ever been presented as evidence in a case–is a door that someone shot through in a homicide case. The most unusual item: a toilet on which a victim was shot.
It takes a trip outside of the classroom to see all that there is to see in the legal profession. As a part of her Principles of Litigation course, Caroline Murray, J.D., assistant professor of legal studies, took her students to the Hampden County Superior Court and the United States Federal Courthouse in Springfield last November. Students met with Brian Lees, clerk magistrate; Don Ashe, register of deeds; John Stuckenbruck, the recently-retired former division manager of the Springfield U.S. District Court; and Kenneth P. Neiman, magistrate judge.
"It was interesting to see all the resources they had at the Hamden County Superior Court," Shauna said. "If you want to see an example of a court case similar to the one you're researching, there are all these public documents available in the courts."
Students were able to see the inside of courtrooms, receive training on e-filing, and ask law professionals whatever questions they had. Judge Neiman even articulated to the students the qualities he looked for in potential employees: thorough researching skills, excellent writing, and the ability to form clear, concise arguments.