Elizabeth Donald, a senior from South Windsor, Connecticut, never imagined she'd wind up assisting a Supreme Court justice, let alone interning with the highest court in the land. But that's exactly what happened last semester when Donald, working through the School of Diplomacy's Semester in Washington Program, secured an assignment with the Clerk's Office.
While interning in Washington, Donald responded to legal pleadings, verified bar memberships and worked one-on-one with the lawyers who were at the court to give oral arguments. Donald said that assisting bar members gave her an opportunity to see "how a successful attorney can use the law to bring about real change."
Donald was able to interact with the justices and worked on a statistics research project for Justice Sotomayor. A high point of Donald's experience was hearing Justice Antonin Scalia speak at a meeting for the Supreme Court Historical Society. Donald was also introduced to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and felt inspired by Ginsburg's ability to help advance women's rights and constitutional law. Donald said she found the genuine nature of Justice Ginsberg's opinions to be "inspirational."
The experience led Donald, who is majoring in Modern Languages, with a minor in Legal Studies, to an internship with Horton, Shields & Knox. The Hartford-based law firm usually hires current law school students as interns, but made an exception for Donald. While interning, she had the opportunity to work with senior partner Wesley Horton. One of Donald's role models, Horton has argued over 100 cases in the Connecticut Supreme Court, including the Kelo v. New London case at the U.S. Supreme Court.
After graduating from Seton Hall next May, Donald plans to head to law school. She hopes to practice appellate litigation, specifically constitutional law and would like to pursue a career as a judge. Donald said that many factors contributed to her decision to become a lawyer, but the most important has been the ability of law to bring about social change. "I passionately believe in a broad application of freedom of speech," she explains, "and hope to use my legal education to derail efforts to narrow the freedom of speech clause."