Summer Jobs Snapshot: A Lively Summer at the Federal District Court

This summer, the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse has seen a lot of action between the James “Whitey” Bulger trial and the arraignment of alleged Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. But the drama wasn’t only in the actual courtroom: Esther Huynh, a rising junior at Boston Latin School, has had to deal with some court crises of her own while managing the overflow room of the Bulger trial, no small feat for a sixteen-year-old.

“There was one time when someone in the overflow room saw court staff go through an alarmed door and thought she could follow, which ended up setting off the alarm,” Esther explained. “It was pretty crazy, but it got sorted out.”

Being able to list the successful management of this position is a major accomplishment for a high school student, and Esther has not taken lightly the opportunities like this that have been afforded to her. Animated and engaged, she described some of the summer’s activities besides working at the Bulger trial: meeting the Mayor, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, and the District Court judges, among many others; visiting law firms like Sherin & Lodgen and Wilmer Hale; and watching other hearings at the court. “One of the best parts about this job is that I understand that a lot of the public doesn’t get to be where I am,” she added. “And getting to eat lunch with the judges – I know many lawyers don’t even have that opportunity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virginia Hurley, the Outreach/Training Coordinator in the Clerk’s office of the Federal District Court, had a litany of praise for Esther and commented specifically on her maturity: “When we found out our offices would have a Summer Jobs student, all we knew was her name and her age – sixteen years old. I thought she was too young to help with managing the court activities, but within a couple of days of meeting her I said, ‘let’s send her – she can handle it.’ Before meeting Esther I had thought the work would be too much for her, but she proved herself very quickly.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both parties agreed that the Summer Jobs program is an excellent way to introduce young adults to the legal system and, more importantly, dispel any myths that have been built up about it. “We help the kids get exposed and see that it’s not like what is shown on TV,” Hurley explained. From the student perspective, Esther said, “At sixteen, I wouldn’t know what lawyers do – being here allows me to see first-hand, and also explore what I want to do later in life as well.”