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Media > Newsletters > Civil Rights Reporter > October 2017 > From Queens, New York to Columbus, Ohio: Walking in the Shoes of an Extern

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From Queens, New York to Columbus, Ohio: Walking in the Shoes of an Extern

It’s quite a culture shock for a New York City native coming to Columbus, but sometimes the best experiences require you to move outside your comfort zone. My move meant working as a summer extern for the Civil Rights Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. From the first day, I learned that doing the right thing is what being an Attorney General is about. My opportunity with the Attorney General’s Office has me more excited than ever about practicing law.
Working in the Civil Rights Section gave me firsthand experience with civil rights cases, and allowed me to see the interaction between the commission’s investigators (whose job it is to gather facts) and the section’s attorneys (whose job it is to see if those facts amount to a violation of the law). Some facts, even some pretty terrible facts, don’t always rise to the level of a violation of the law.
Working for the Attorney General’s Office has given me practical, hands-on legal experience. In my first year of law school, I heard terminology like interrogatories, pleadings, and proving a prima facie case, but until I actually worked in the Civil Rights Section, I didn’t truly understand what goes along with these concepts. During my externship, I drafted interrogatories, document requests, and requests for admissions in an actual case. I learned how important it is to review the case and understand a victim’s allegations and concerns before he or she ever steps into your office. When an injured person doesn’t know where to turn, sometimes you have to be a voice for the voiceless.
I was honored by the level of trust that was placed in me and the range of activities that I participated in. I had the privilege to meet Attorney General DeWine and received valuable insight on how he got his start in the legal profession. Being at the Attorney General’s Office was also a great networking opportunity, and allowed me to meet many individuals in the legal system. For example, I met the legal staff of the Ohio Supreme Court and many other law students
A word of warning though - be careful what you say. During a commission meeting I casually mentioned that I wasn’t a big LeBron James fan. Wouldn’t you know it, one of the commissioners is LeBron’s neighbor and another was a big fan. From that point on, I was officially dubbed the Anti-LeBron guy and forced to recant my support for the Spurs by an Ohio State Trooper. All in good fun, of course.
All kidding aside, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience with the Attorney General’s Office and would recommend it to anyone considering a legal career. I learned a lot from the staff of the Civil Rights Section, who eagerly took me under their wings. Above all, I can proudly say working at the Attorney General’s Office has provided me with invaluable knowledge, which I will utilize for the rest of my law career. Now, go Cavs!
(Kofi Twumasi worked as an extern in the Ohio Attorney General’s Civil Rights Section during the summer of 2017.)