JIOP was a wonderful adventure everyone should have the opportunity to experience! I had just come back to law school after completing my placement, and JIOP opened many doors I did not know existed. JIOP was a turning point for me in my law school career because it provided me the validation I needed that the legal field was the right career choice despite my disability and what I went through at law school.
When I first applied to JIOP, I chose all available locations to increase my chances of being hired. The stipend enabled me to pursue this opportunity. I ended up working for a court of general jurisdiction (both criminal and civil) in Illinois, and it was a perfect match! The judges at the Tenth Circuit Court in Peoria are all wonderful individuals and they made my experience that much better.
I sat next to, or near, the judges in court observing hearings, trials, etc. and after each session, I would ask the judge questions about what occurred in court, why this, or why that, etc. This discussion in chambers was not only enlightening but I learned so much about the practice of law. I was more curious about the practice of law from the JIOP approach than learning about it in law school. The judges’ willingness to engage in discussions of cases I observed and in answering my questions and offering advice showed me they cared and wanted me to learn as much as possible. I also requested cases and drafted memoranda for several judges.
In addition my experience with JIOP enabled me to obtain a second judicial internship which was also a wonderful experience. I have continued contact with the judges I worked with and I know I can call my judges up to ask for advice, ask as questions, or just to see how they are doing.
My JIOP experience was priceless!