Manhattan Criminal Court

I was reminded today why I chose to go into private law practice over working for the government. I stopped by to visit a friend and former supervisor of mine this afternoon that happens to work in the Manhattan Criminal Court, that decaying, filthy-looking building at 100 Centre Street just off of Foley Square in lower Manhattan. The place is a mad house, like most criminal courts tend to be. But as you can imagine, being in Manhattan, this building in particular can be a bit scary. The security is intense, as is necessary, and because many of the proceedings are open to the public, those in attendance come from all walks of life to either seek justice or lend support.

The only reason that I am familiar with the building and know someone working there is because I was a student intern there over two years ago. During my four months at the criminal court in 2005 I learned a lot regarding the legal process in criminal proceedings and observed some interesting trials. Among them was the retrial of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski, who was eventually convicted of looting his company at the expense of shareholders for over $400 million. Looking back, it was a great experience to be able to work in chambers as an intern to a criminal court judge in one of the most exciting counties in the country. But when my internship ended, I knew that type of work, while important, was not for me. As I returned there to visit my friend today, among the long security lines, the emotionally upset people in attendance and the crumbling building, I was reminded of why I chose to become a business lawyer.

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