District Attorney's Office Partners with UT College of LawPosted: 1/27/2015
Tuesday, January 13, 2015, was a memorable day for six University of Tennessee College of Law students, as they took the oath of office as Acting Assistant District Attorneys. The Honorable Steve Sword, Knox County Criminal Court, Division I, presided over the swearing-in ceremony for these distinguished students, with Knox County District Attorney General Charme Allen, Chief Deputy District Attorney General Samuel Lee, and other DA staff members in attendance.
Over the years, the Knox County DA’s Office and the University of Tennessee College of Law have joined forces to provide second-year (2L) and third-year (3L) law students with hands-on experience in the criminal justice system. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 7, Article X, Section 10.03, law students are eligible to practice law under the supervision of a licensed attorney.
In order to participate in the DA’s Office Intern Program, each student must submit an application to our Intern/Extern Coordinator Assistant District Attorney General Joe Welker. The interview process ensures the highest quality candidates are hired for these positions. The College of Law grants academic credits to several of the students, and some students receive compensation by the DA’s Office. To learn more about the intern application process, click here.
Each intern receives a temporary license with the Tennessee Supreme Court, granting him/her the authority to appear in Knox County General Sessions, Juvenile, and Criminal Courts under the supervision of an Assistant District Attorney. This temporary license also subjects the interns to the same ethical rules and professional standards required of Assistant DAs. Our internship program is designed to help law students gain legal experience while working with our Assistant DAs and support staff. Though the majority of their time is spent in court and in front of a judge, the interns also receive valuable training by interacting with victims of crimes, law enforcement officers, and criminal defense attorneys.
Once the oath is administered, the interns hit the ground running, receiving an orientation of the DA’s Office, an overview of the criminal justice system, and their unit assignment within the Office. Throughout the semester, the Knox County DA’s Office Intern Program allows the interns to participate in tours of the Knox County Jail, Knox County Detention Center, and Medical Examiner’s Office/Forensics Center, as well as a possible outing at the UT Anthropological Research Facility, better known as “The Body Farm,” founded by acclaimed forensic anthropologist Dr. William Bass.
In the future, the DA’s Office is planning to expand its Intern Program across the state, searching for qualified candidates from schools such as The University of Memphis, among others. For more information about how your law school can partner with the Knox County District Attorney’s Office to establish an Intern Program, please contact Joe Welker at 865.215.2515 or Joe.Welker@knoxcounty.org.